We are so fortunate to be friends with an amazingly talented illustrator. (Love you Noella!) This is not the way this usually happens. Once your project is picked up, the publisher will usually put you in touch with the illustrators that they are comfortable with and have worked with before. When talking to the illustrator, they will make sketches based on your text and your conversations. From there you can solidify style and vision.
You want your illustrator to be able to bring your story to life. Not every great artist is great at telling a story through pictures. If you are writing a chapter book with a few illustrations, this isn't as big of a deal. If you are writing a picture book or a graphic novel, this is absolutely crucial. Trust your publisher, but also listen to your gut. If the illustrator isn't able to bring forth your vision, it is okay to look into others.
When you find the right illustrator, you will know. Every time Noella texts over something she has been working on, I get goosebumps. On the very rare occasion that it doesn't quite capture what we are going for, we can have an honest and frank discussion, make some tweaks and course correct. That honest relationship and the willingness to listen to each other makes for the best version of your story. We hope you enjoy witnessing our process and that it helps you on yours.