Laurent Linn is an Art Director at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, designing up to 40 books at a time. In addition, he's the author and illustrator of an upcoming teen novel called DRAW THE LINE (Simon & Schuster, May 2016). His breakout session was a standing room only event of published and pre-published illustrators, authors and graphic novelists.
Linn offered a few key points:
What’s the next big thing in children’s books: Illustration! It’s a great time for illustration and to be an illustrator.
Kids are more visually astute today, because there is so much imagery out there competing for their attention. So feel free to break boundaries. Your art director will reel you in, if necessary.
For middle grade novels, the text drives the story. However, an illustrator can use art to enhance key moments in a story. Don’t simply illustrate a scene, go deeper. Think of yourself as a designer, consider the placement of text with the illustration. Use illustration to punctuate a story.
For young adult novels, remember that the art is often meant to represent art that is "drawn" by the characters in a story. Channel the character's personality. Ask yourself how he/she would draw this. For example, Sherman Alexie's THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN.
Graphic novels are now being recognized as legitimate pieces of literature, as with Cece Bell's El Deafo winning a Newbery.
|From his upcoming teen novel DRAW THE LINE|