So to give you a sense of a book's progress in real time - at the end of December I received my first round of mechanicals from my designer at Random House, Melissa Nelson. Mechanicals are the first drafts of the pages with the art scanned in and the text put into place. The color is far from close, but this is where we make sure everything is where it needs to be before it goes to proof (where the color is corrected to be exact).
Melissa is an incredibly talented designer and we have a great working relationship. We usually go through a few drafts and she helps shape the book up to be true to my vision and she always brings something great to the table. The title itself has a great font design (which Melissa created). The second drafts came in and while it's headed to the F&G stage, we're still creating a few minor changes here and there. (F&G stands for 'folded & gathered', which is proofs cut and put together as a book, but it is unbound. They go out to reviewers and book buyers.)