The Self-Publishing Insider

Children's book illustrator

Choosing the Right Artist for Your Children’s Book Illustrations

Bright, colorful illustrations are the heart of your children’s book, breathing life into your story, making it jump off the page and into your readers’ imaginations. Finding the perfect illustrator to fulfill your artistic vision and create your children’s book illustrations is an important investment in the success of your children’s book.

Consider the details of your children’s book illustrations

Because you’ll be working collaboratively for at least a couple months, hiring the right illustrator might feel a bit like a long-term commitment. As you begin to look for an illustrator, here are three key things to know that will get your relationship off to a great start:

  • Your book – Being able to share details about the size of your book, the number of pages, the type of illustrations you need, which formats you’re publishing in, and your timeframe and budget will help you set the tone as you begin to engage potential illustrators.
  • Your style preferences – Look at similar books or illustrator portfolios. Determine what appeals to you most about these styles. Whether it’s a specific color palette, the chosen medium (i.e. watercolors, pen and ink, digital), or the style of the artwork, being able to share your likes and dislikes will help the artist know what you’re looking for in your book.
  • Their skillset and schedule – As you research illustrators, make sure you understand their skills and experience. You may not be an artist yourself, but it’s good to know whether they’ve been published previously and if they know how the publishing industry works. You’ll also want to know their level of expertise, how they respond to feedback and revisions, and if they are able to communicate with you clearly and deliver the artwork within a reasonable timeframe.

Set a realistic budget

While it can be fun and exciting, illustrating a book can also be a lot of work. Unfortunately, there are no set guidelines on what book illustrations may cost. Illustrators base their rates on their experience, skill, and creativity, as well as the amount of materials involved and the timeline. It’s important to provide a solid scope of the work at the start of your project, so you don’t encounter any additional expenses or unexpected delays.

Ensure your author/illustrator contract is clear

Your contract should clearly lay out your expectations, including details on what you’re paying for, how you’ll collaborate, and what happens if anything goes wrong. It should contain a detailed project schedule that includes exact dates for each deliverable, the number of expected rounds of revision, the payment schedule, and a plan for what happens if anything is late. Your contract should also cover any legal details like artist credits, copyright, and royalties (if any).

Be patient

Expect the illustration process can take time, especially if you are wanting hand-painted illustrations for every page. If you’re working on a tight deadline, don’t be surprised if your illustrator wants to charge more. In-demand illustrators, or those who work in more time-sensitive mediums, may need even more time. Your contract is essential to keep your project on track.

Children’s books play an important role in a child’s development, helping them build their reading skills and develop their creativity. Beautiful children’s book illustrations will not only encourage kids to read your book, they’ll also help sell your book to their parents and encourage libraries and schools to include your book in their inventory. Since hiring the ideal illustrator is an important investment in your success, we’re happy to help you on your journey. Contact us today to learn more and see how Publish Pros can help!