The winds of change often blow you away (see what I did there), creating high strung emotions until you sort out the details. As it happens, my second illustrator quit just weeks before the production date for publication... sounds oh so familiar. But this time, I'm so ok with the situation.
I was concerned when the illustrator sent me the first drafts of what he thought Baxter should look like. I said so many times that Baxter needs to look just like Baxter from the first book. He sent me a second version - closer, still no cigar.
The date for publication came closer and closer, and I hadn't seen all of the illustrations. When he sent them to me, I was disappointed. When I looked closer at each illustration along side the text it was supposed to illustrate, I was dumbfounded at how off the pictures were from the text. In case I was falling into snotty author mode (I second guess myself all the time), I showed the pictures to my writing group and to my writing students. I also showed it to the language arts administrator in my school district, who has a very young child and is an expert in child literacy. Consistently, the verdict was that these pictures were not consistent with the branding already created in book 1 or up to professional publication standards.
So next step - I WILL ILLUSTRATE the next two books! I'm very excited about it because I can do the work I need to do since we have an existing set of characters and a set artistic style. In my past, I've done graphic manipulation work and taught Adobe software products. So now, I'm delighted that I will be able to create amazing books that are just what I want them to be.