A child book illustrator is just as important as the author. In fact, at big publishing houses, the author and the illustrator split the profits from the book. If you are planning to submit your book to a child book publishing company, then you will not need to hire an illustrator. The publishing company will select the illustrator for you.
If you want total control of the look, content and feel of your
children's picture book then you need to hire a child book illustrator.
This means that you will be self publishing your book and will take all
the financial risk, but reap all the rewards. Best of all, it will mean
that the book will turn out exactly as you envisioned it.
What to Look for in a Child Book Illustrator:
You can find an illustrator by looking on the internet. The site that I recommend to find a quality artist is Elance.com. (Note if you're an artist looking for work, read this article on child book illustrator jobs.) A good illustrator should have a portfolio on Elance and a book or web site with examples of their work. Although an artist may be skillful, you need to make sure that their work is appropriate for your book. Contact an illustrator whose work you like and give them the concept of your book. Ask them to do a sample sketch and fax it to you.
An artist who is unknown should be willing to work with
you in terms of what they will charge to create illustrations for your
book. Watch out for artists who demand too much. While I was busy
writing and publishing my first book, I decided to look for an artist
for a children's book I had written. On the recommendation of an author
friend who had recently published a children's book, I called her
illustrator. The woman faxed me a sample drawing. She was good, but she
also wanted too much for someone who was unknown in the publishing
world. She demanded money up front for all the drawings, plus 50% of the
profit. I consulted with another children's author friend of mine, who
warned me that the illustrator was demanding too much. For more about the actual writing process, read child book writing.
The great thing about hiring a child book illustrator is you can tell
the artist exactly what you have in mind for each page on which there
will be an illustration. If you have a strong vision of your book, then
this is good thing. If you'd rather rely on the artist's interpretation
of your text, you can go this route as well. A good author/child book
illustrator relationship will have lots of interplay and pleasant
surprises that will enhance the deeper meaning of your work.
you hire an illustrator, it is best to do it under a work-for-hire
contract which means that you pay the artist for her work and then you
own the illustrations. Although this will cost you more upfront, the
illustrator will feel that she is getting money for her work,
rather than relying on you to do the kind of book promotion that will
ensure a return for all her efforts.
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