Illustrator Signed ✓
God, I'm exhausted. I've been taking note of illustrators for the past 12+ months in the various Facebook groups I'm a part of. Then reviewing the artist portfolios. Whittling down a short list. Contacting the artists with my book proposal and getting their rates. Selecting (an awesome) one. Negotiating a contract, including lump sum payments, fee schedule, royalties, delivery dates, number and type of illustrations, and on and on. Signing the agreement. Huzzah! Enjoying a moment of bliss... Then taking another look at my budget because I ballparked my illustrator fees, and now I have solid numbers and a bit more clarity to my timeline. Ugh! I spent over an hour this morning recalculating my per/book price and estimated returns. Math! Something's not right in the world if I'm doing math.
Circling back to the moment of bliss, the artist's name is Mariano Epelbaum (https://www.artstation.com/mariano). Amazingly talented guy with a range of styles. He was the illustrator for a book called, My Rotten Friend, about a little zombie girl. And he said yes. All of which endear him to me. I can't wait to see the initial character designs.