A Tale of Two Illustrators - Why Roses Have Thorns Illustrations Complete!

The artiste and her work.

The artiste and her work.

The artwork is done for Why Roses Have Thorns, and all I can say is: Wow!

Natalya far exceeded my expectations. Even with all the hints she showed with the pins that showed her level of research and her sketching, when I saw the inked versions of everything what she did, I was absolutely blown away.

I loved what she did so much I decided to have her re-illustrate The Golden Pedestal when I have the funds to pay her. Please enjoy these samples of her work as I tell of the illustrator I worked with before Natalya.

Illustration by:    Natalya Kolosowsky    website:    http://www.lunariusgraphics.com     Instagram: @lunariusgraphics

Illustration by:

Natalya Kolosowsky

website: http://www.lunariusgraphics.com

Instagram: @lunariusgraphics

I had learned a lot working with previous illustrator, who shall remain nameless for the sake of courtesy. Most of what I learned working with him were lessons in getting what you pay for. His work was good, but his timeliness and ultimately his professionalism left much to be desired.

Like many artists, he’d “always wanted to illustrate a book,” but had never done so and didn’t understand how much time that took. I also didn’t understand the ins and outs of this process.

So given the lack of experience on both our ends, we were pretty naïve in our agreement. He agreed to a rate that was below market for the sake of experience, and having this in his portfolio and on his resume.

Illustration by:    Natalya Kolosowsky    website:    http://www.lunariusgraphics.com     Instagram: @lunariusgraphics

Illustration by:

Natalya Kolosowsky

website: http://www.lunariusgraphics.com

Instagram: @lunariusgraphics

He overestimated his speed and underestimated how much time he would need. I was patient because I knew he needed other jobs to pay the bills, and this was a new one for both of us. I also had started The Golden Pedestal project early for the sake of taking delays into consideration.

Once he got paid, he disappeared. That made me mad. I had hired a book designer, who needed different file/format to get the book print ready, and ultimately needed the original drawings to make it happen.

The illustrator was nowhere to be found. That held the process up of getting Golden Pedestal print ready, and I had to rip him a new one to get him to meet with the book designer.

Illustration by:    Natalya Kolosowsky    website:    http://www.lunariusgraphics.com     Instagram: @lunariusgraphics

Illustration by:

Natalya Kolosowsky

website: http://www.lunariusgraphics.com

Instagram: @lunariusgraphics

I hate it when I have to do that. I don’t like getting angry and acting mean. 

It also dampened my enthusiasm to release Golden Pedestal – even though the book designer an outstanding job.

I also realized that his idea of making a painting for the cover made for a poor cover that would not get anybody’s attention on the book shelf.

Yet even if all that had gone smoothly, Natalya’s style has an elegance that is irresistible, and I know the cover would be arresting.

Illustration by:    Natalya Kolosowsky    website:    http://www.lunariusgraphics.com     Instagram: @lunariusgraphics

Illustration by:

Natalya Kolosowsky

website: http://www.lunariusgraphics.com

Instagram: @lunariusgraphics

I would love to see what she would do with the Purple Princess, Sir Highbrow Olive, Miss Blue Begonia, and of course, the Preacher Man.

She may even be able to help me come up with a better title for that story.

I hope y’all enjoyed some samples of her work. I have loved working with her. 

If you would like to read the previous blog post on working with Natalya Kolosowsky, click here.

If you would like to see some of the original work from The Golden Pedestal, even if I will have Natalya re-illustrate it, click here. 

What do you think? I welcome any comments below.



Making the Right Choice - Illustrators


One of the things I love most about self-publishing is creative collaboration.

I can’t say I love the searching and interviewing process to find my ideal collaborator. But that is a necessary chore.  

Since most of the stuff I write is for an adult audience, I don’t need an illustrator most of the time. But I do write children’s fairy tales from time to time, and 2 were polished enough to warrant completing them into a book form.

I got “The Golden Pedestal” illustrated and designed into a book last year, and I’m working on getting the 2nd one, “Why Roses Have Thorns” illustrated and designed this summer.

By the way, “Roses” was the first fairy tale I ever wrote. 

I learn through making mistakes. Lots of them.

Last year, I didn’t take the time to interview various artists, and went with an illustrator who was willing to work for less because he lacked experience. He said he “always wanted to illustrate a children’s book.”

I had never done this outside of collaborating with friends, and our collective lack of experience caused problems.

So I learned some lessons, and went about things a little differently this year. 

I put up my Craigslist post and waited until I had a healthy variety of choices.

I don’t know what it is about Craigslist, but it seems the incompetent, the inexperienced, the desperate, and the dregs rush to answer brand new posts.

I took my time sifting through the various applications that came in (most of which were hopelessly inadequate), and picked three artists to interview.

Two of the three did exactly as I asked in my post, and the 3rd sent a lot of her work through various replies and was clearly eager.

Since I liked her work and thought it might be appropriate for this story, I asked to meet with her.

Sonja was my second interview, and I really liked her. She really wanted this project, and had an interesting and unique story. Unfortunately, she was not computer savvy and most of her work was from the 80’s.

I’d consider her for another project or to illustrate flyers, but I would need somebody who could transfer her work to a jpg or tiff file.

Truthfully though, the next 2 interviews had a steep slope to impress me because my first interviewee hit the ball out of the park.

It’s weird to remember that I almost didn’t ask for an interview until I thoroughly checked out all the links she sent me.

The illustrations she sent me didn’t impress me as much as the wide range of her experience. Besides illustration, she designs costumes, is a dancer/choreographer/performance artist.

I’m really glad I was thorough because in our interview, she was able to show me work that wasn’t available on her website.

I was also impressed with her follow through.

Since I answered all three at the same time, I thought I had confirmed time and place with everybody. But I hadn’t with her.

So I show up at the tea shop, without my computer or my phone (???!!!!), looked around and waited for about 15-20 minutes. I was perplexed because everything about her seemed so professional.

I began to wonder if I hadn’t confirmed. Since I didn’t have my phone, I didn’t see her email asking for confirmation of where we were meeting.

So Natalya impressed me to no end when she showed up, even though she wasn’t certain I would be there.

Her manner was warm and engaging, and she really loved fairy tales.

She had a lot of knowledge about how they were illustrated, and seemed to get it about dark fairy tales.

Anybody who approaches a subject with knowledge and understanding is going to bring a lot to the table.

I really liked Natalya a lot. I probably made the decision to hire immediately, even though I had interviews with 2 more people.

But I also liked Sonja, my 2nd interviewee. I can’t remember the name of the 3rd artist I met, and I don’t care enough to dig through my email to find out.

She was very professional and had a lot of materials. In the moment, I actually considered her for the covers of my adult work.

I had loved BANE’s art who worked on “Ella Bandita and the Wanderer,” and did all the work for the novelettes.

He was also a pleasure to work with. But he stopped illustrating due to problems with his vision.

This 3rd artist assured me she was good at imitation. I considered working with her, and quasi-offered her that job during the interview, which she quasi-accepted.

The problem was her demeanor. She was cordial and professional, but very cold.

Since I’m pretty scatter-brained, I showed up looking like a mess after workout, while she showed up immaculate.

I also was a mess when I had met Natalya. But there was nothing in the way she acted that inspired me to feel self-conscious.

When I walked away from that 3rd interview, I felt icky. If we really can feel energy from people, it’s possible the woman I just interviewed judged me unkindly. 

Of course, all this may be my imagination or insecurity.

Either way, I don’t see the point of working with somebody AND PAYING HER if I feel like sh*t when I walk away from a meeting. I mean…Eeeewwww…

So, Natalya got the job. I had my first meeting with her and I’m already so happy with the choice I made.