Rosie Winstead | Local Artist Feature (Part 1 of 2)

August 31, 2015 | Branden Schwab

Having creative work published for commercial use often represents a compromise between artist and publisher; one where ideas are exchanged, and images (and their messages) are refined.  More often than not, getting published can mean having your ideas white-washed or hard edges softened… but its not all bad! Commercializing creativity helps artists reach a larger audience and often leads to more work and an opportunity to explore new ideas!

Whether you are a Creative yourself, or you work with Creatives, understanding the challenges, frustrations, joys, and victories tied up in publishing creative work can help make the process run more smoothly. To gain a better perspective, I turned to local artist/illustrator and author Rosie Winstead for insight into her past projects and current work.


SGFC: Working with publishers often means having to make concessions about your work and giving up a degree of creative freedom. With your children’s book ‘Sprout Helps Out’,  where do you wish you would have held your ground?

RW:  I wish I would have held my ground when it came to the cover. It was already a page in the book and I wanted to have the chance to come up with a new scene that worked better with the size of the book and font of title. I also, wish I would have held my ground when it came to the art editor manipulating one of the expressions on the mother’s face. (they changed what was a frazzled, and overwhelmed expression face into a happy and charmed expression). Oh, and I also wanted to add in a Grandfather character with dementia that the mom was caring for, but they thought that was too depressing.

SGFC: What concessions did you make?

RW: My original idea was to have a simple and muted background (mainly pencil) on a manilla type of paper with the characters and messes in color.  I didn’t want the expressions and characters form to get lost or blend in with the background. But, they wanted the pages to be filled, and wanted patterned backgrounds and colors…lots of colors. They also wanted to make sure everything in the book was child proofed, like…the part where Sprout cuts her hair, the scissors had to be “kid” scissors. Or the lamp falling off the table had to be positioned far away from the laughing baby’s head, and the mom had to be in the back ground of every other page. Every scenario had to be safe. (which is tricky for me to make humor out things that are too safe) But, things like that, I had to let go, because they didn’t want to get blamed for these make believe characters almost getting hurt, I guess?


SGFC: What positive things did the publisher bring to the table?

RW: Positive things… working with a publisher has allowed me the chance to connect with kids from all over. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in what is frustrating about the process, and then in the mean time, I receive the sweetest little handwritten letter, that probably took an hour to write, from a 5 year old girl telling me she wants to write a book like me when she grows up. It is very inspiring to me to see them put such effort and excitement into letting me know. How can I complain?!

Through the whole process, I learned a lot. It gave me insight as to how the whole publishing industry works. It taught me what I wished I would have known going into it. There are way more people and opinions involved in a book than I thought.

SGFC: How did those relationships begin? Where are they now?

RW: I was a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) I entered an illustration into this showcase event in New York that children’s book editors attend. So, that is how I got picked. Sprout Helps Out is out, (and) I have finished up my 3 book contract with them.

For more on Rosie’s current work, stay tuned for part 2, coming next month in the October newsletter…

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