9 | Scheduling

melanie tile 9

Tell us about a typical day. How much time is devoted to networking? Promotion? Exercise? Working at the drawing board? Do you stick to a schedule? Is there a method to the madness?

Melanie Hope Greenberg: By the way, the spot art above (next to the number 9) is Brian Mulroney, from my favorite local band, The Jug Addicts. He plays washboard, for real.

Janis Marziotto: I’d like to know more about your process about working your illustrations into someone else’s story. How do you start? Do you let the story speak to you and whatever pictures pop into your head those are what you go with? As a writer, when I look at pictures, the pictures speak to me in words.

MHG: That is really hard to answer. Everyday is different according to what is currently going on. When I have deadlines that keeps me more on a schedule. I’m very organized person, I think the free-form schedule balances things out so I’m not too rigid. Even with a free-form schedule, if I have a school visit or an appointment, I honor the arrival times and the people I connect with.

MHG: @JM: Your question (on working with someone else’s story) is addressed (with specifics) in question #7. There is a breakdown of the process there.

Erin Taylor: I think this is such an interesting question and I always like seeing how other illustrators split their time. For me, it’s a constant struggle to balance it all. I have a couple of part-time jobs and the rest of my time is divided between marketing and creating new work. Lately, I have gotten a few public art commissions which is taking time away from getting my book dummy revised, or any new illustrations, as well as promoting and getting a site back up. There’s just never enough time! With any that I have left over, I take long walks 2-to-3 times a week.  It’s important to step away from everything, and breathe, and observe what’s going on outside  🙂

Oh, and I keep a daily journal where I write down everything I did with my illustration career. Even if it’s just reading a blog. It’s been really helpful for me to see how I am balancing illustrating, marketing, and networking.

Joy Chu: @ Melanie: I think Janis is addressing what it’s like to work on someone else’s story vs. your own story.

For example, when you worked on Anne Rockwell’s manuscript,  GOOD MORNING, DIGGER.  It is understood that the illustrator is never in direct contact with the author (all non-pros are often shocked by this basic rule of the book biz), but rather with the editor and art director.

On the other hand, the author must have been in on your process in terms of factual information and pictorial details on your book dummy.

Would you share how such a collaboration works, and in particular, with Anne? I’m sure inquiring minds will want to know how you reckon machinations involved with books like “Good Morning Digger” with your overall routiine.

 [Yes folks, this is a JOB!]


This is my studio.


Janis Marziotto:  Yes, thanks for clarifying, Joy! Also, Melanie, I had the great pleasure of hearing your presentation at the last SCBWI conference regarding marketing. Your powerpoint presentation spoke to how much time you spend networking and keeping tabs of contacts. I loved the photo of you, exhausted over a pile of your own books. Images really do speak a thousand words. Another great photo was your office space, to show that we all need one. So, in reference to keeping your work space in working order, and the time you spend marketing yourself, I think it absolutely amazing that you can corral all of this in free-form schedule! Still my burning question is this; if you had to prioritize just one part of your day, besides nourishment, what would that be?

MHG:  Hi, today is a busy one. 

 When there is a job deadline and there’s many other people — the publisher, editor, art director, printer, marketing folks — expecting me to honor that deadline, then everything else flies off the top of the pile. Anne Rockwell, a highly skilled professional picture book illustrator with over 150 books, was extremely gracious and very professional to step out of the way of my vision. We had no collaboration once her vision was handed over to me to embellish.

MHG: Keep asking questions!!!
 I will answer fully later today. 
Busy day! Perfect example of the #9 Answer  🙂  CU later!

JC: Hahahaha!

MHG: Hi all, don’t miss my answers at question #7 for more on the above.

MHG: @Janis :  Your question re; if I had to prioritize just one part of my day, besides nourishment, what would that be?

  I remembered your Q above as I got out of the shower this morning.
  🙂 My answer is:  Grooming!

JC: 🙂

Kit Grady: Love these comments, And still, there are folks to whom you still have to explain. . . that it IS a job, and you are working at home.

MHG: Thanks, Kit. I’ve had to tell friends to stop calling me in the middle of the day to have a chat.

MHG: @ Everyone: In reference to this topic, do check out the dialogue at questions 7 and 8, also.  🙂

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