Children's books benefit from beautiful illustrations, whether they are full-blown picture books or middle-level novels with only a few illustrations between the text. Unless you're an experienced artist yourself, I recommend finding a good illustrator for your self-published children's book. Writers make mistakes. Either they're on budget, they're not in the right contract (or not at all), or they don't know what to tell the illustrator, which can lead to publication problems or more expenses later.
Need a good book illustrator?
Freelance artists can now be located totally online. Two great places to start are the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and ChildrensIllustrators.com. Both consist of online portfolio directories that you may browse through style, medium, issue matter, or even vicinity to discover superb illustrators to hire. If you’re not an artist, how do you know what type of art is right for your book? Results can be obtained. Paints, pencils, ballpoint pens - each medium looks and feels different. Search your local library to see if you're drawn to a particular medium. Then consider the styles of different artists, which Bradley defines as "the elusive things that make one illustrator's work different from another's." This makes the fairy tale different from his ABC book. The key is finding an artist who works in the right medium and style for your story. Start exploring different art styles for your story. When you're writing a children's book, you've probably imagined your own book, or at least part of it. Now that you're ready to find an illustrator, it's time to create a mood board to explain your ideas as clearly as possible. Don't settle for finding the right illustrator.
How much does it cost?
The short answer is: It depends! There is no hard and fast rule. The illustrators' fees are based on their experience and training as well as the time and material required. To properly assess your project, you need to know how many illustrations you need, which depends on the number of pages in your project. You can expect to spend at least $500 on a book illustrator if you know where to look and how to find a good illustrator. Sometimes that $500 also includes the cover layout and design. It really depends on the hourly rate of your illustrators and the number of hours it takes them to complete an illustration, which depends on the complexity of your request. It's also worth noting that an illustrator willing to work for an extremely low fee is unlikely to deliver the quality and professionalism you want for your book.
In the traditional publishing industry, illustrators are typically purchased by a publisher and assigned tasks when the team of Book acquisition determines the best match for the current book in production.
Once an illustrator has been selected, the publisher may offer them an advance, a form of payment that will be amortized once the book is sold. After paying the advance, the illustrator shares the copyright with the author.
Find an illustrator in the desktop publishing sector
In the desktop publishing industry, illustrators are contract workers for the author. Generally, once an illustrator is selected, a flat fee is paid to the illustrators. Most of the time, royalties are not part of the agreement, although there are.
Currently, print-on-demand publishing options like KDP or IngramSpark do not allow royalty sharing within their platforms, which means that in order for an author to offer royalty to an illustrator, an author must carefully maintain financial records and honor their commitment to the illustrator. For this reason, most authors and illustrators will accept a flat fee.
You will find a wide range of prices among illustrators. To find an illustrator who has more experience, and more publications, he will charge even more for his work. For example, I've seen illustrators of this caliber make anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000.
Similarly, if an illustrator is just starting out or has published zero to a few books, the chances are that their fee is less expensive. Another factor in price can be geography: if an illustrator lives in Eastern Europe rather than North America, and you're paying in US dollars, your payment goes much further for that person.
My personal favorite: the process is to use a platform like Upwork.com, fiverr.com, and post a job. I include all the important details in my post including page number, time period, book synopsis and what I'm looking for in an illustrator. I've also set my budget.
Keys to a successful partnership
"Illustrators think in pictures," says Jeanette Bradley, while writers think in words. This feeling describes the potential difficulty of explaining your artistic vision and why it is extremely important to work together. It's great to meet in person if possible so you can point and gesture when words fail. Otherwise, use technology. if you can't figure out what your illustrator is describing, ask them to make a quick:
Joanna Penn gives one last important one Advice: “Trust the illustrator you hired to bring your story to life.” Constructive feedback is important, but trust and a degree of creative freedom are essential to a successful collaboration.
How long will it take?
Calculate that the process for a 32-page picture book will take at least 3-4 months. If you have a tight deadline, expect the overall cost to increase accordingly. "Allowing at least 6 months for the illustration process is a reasonable time frame," says Jeanette Bradley. Busy illustrators or those working in more time-consuming media may need more time.
Once you start, the contract is critical to keeping your project on schedule. For this reason, all results, including your comments and ratings, should be taken into account.
Here is what you need in order to find an illustrator for your children's book
Consider various art styles for your book
There are criteria for judging illustrators so you can evaluate who is the best fit for you. It's also a useful resource that you can ultimately provide to illustrators you want to work with to help them understand your vision. Mood boards are easy to create using Canva, Pinterest or PowerPoint. You can also print it out and pin it to your physical board. Include references and inspiration for your book, from real photographs to paintings to picture books that look like your own. Additionally, you may want to consider a slightly more technical aspect.
Consider book dimension
For medium quality books, work with the rectangular dimensions of paperbacks and hardcovers. Picture books can have more flexible section sizes. Basically you can choose between square, vertical and horizontal dimensions. Sometimes, the plot determines which of these aspects to use. For example, the vertical orientation of The Tiger Who Came to Tea allows for the vertical space needed to emphasize the elevation difference between the tiger and the humans. Meanwhile Goodnight Moon Shows the entire bedroom and all the small elements by using one lens takes wider or landscape mode. Think about it from the start and find similar relevant titles to use as a reference. This information is also helpful when you begin discussing the book with an illustrator. Make sure you decide the finished book dimensions before the illustrator begins. They need to know what dimensions the pages are that they are drawing on. They should account for cutoff sections (about ⅛ to ¼ inch) that the printers will chop off during publication.
Identify an appropriate art style
If you've worked with a children's book publisher on your manuscript, you probably know the importance of looking at the book from a reader's perspective. So you know that illustrations should also be tailored to the topic and interests of your target audience.
For example, a nature book like Feathers has a very different style than I Am Martin Luther King, Jr., even though both are children's non-fiction books. One aims to realistically depict the visual details of the world for budding naturalists, while the other focuses more on depicting a person's life in a way that catches the attention of young minds. Against this background, you should proceed consciously when selecting your references. Are you trying to put everyday life in a new light for your readers? Does your book aim to teach children anything specific? For each objective, you'll find that there are a number of styles that work well - you should collect samples of those specific styles.
Keys to a successful partnership
Illustrators think in pictures, while writers think in words. This feeling describes the potential difficulty of explaining your artistic vision and why it is extremely important to work together.
Now that you're ready to find an illustrator, you should ask yourself this question: why do you need a book illustrator? The main purpose of illustrations is to convey a message to the reader or viewer. For children, art is a way of learning and helps them understand words better. It's a great way to communicate ideas and plots clearly and simply. Visual representations help children respond instantly to characters, moods, stories, and story settings. Reading colorful books is really fascinating for small children who are just starting to learn and read. Some of the illustrations are really nice, but their job is to explain and clarify the meaning of the text. In children's books, illustrations are used to teach children to read. Illustrations can turn a simple story into an exciting and engaging one. Children respond more to pictures in books than to words. They remember stories told with illustrations rather than many words. Finding an illustrator has never been easier. The world of online gig work has given regular self-publishers a chance to find aspiring illustrators at a fraction of the price.