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How to Hire an Illustrator for Children’s Book?

Do you need an illustrator for your book or magazine? Most authors get stuck precisely at this place – finding the right artists for their books. You may have a great idea and the right words for a picture, but you don’t know how and where to get an artist to draw the pictures. In this blog, we will discuss how to hire an illustrator for your book, what to look for in a children’s book illustrator, where to find affordable illustrators and the potential costs of hiring a children’s book illustrator. 

Why Do You Need to Hire a Book Illustrator

The beauty of a children’s book or a picture book is the perfect love affair between text and art. The words and the art, be it a painting, drawing, or photograph, must rely on each other to narrate the whole story.  

This means if your children’s book were marriage, the illustrator would be your better half, working hard to make your book a bestseller. 

Most book publishers have their own illustrators. But there are many reasons why finding a freelance illustrator is a better and cost-effective choice. Traditional book publishing companies have a standard pricing structure, which may not be in your budget, your relationship with the illustrator may not work out as expected, or you are self-publishing a book, and using a package deal isn’t practical. 

What is the Cost of Hiring an Illustrator for a Book?

With the rapid growth of self-publishing and online jobs, hiring a freelance children’s book illustrator is now possibly easy and affordable. From our experience as a book publisher, the cost of a book illustrator depends on various factors, such as the illustrator’s experience and expertise, the number of hours required to illustrate a picture, and the materials used to draw.

On average, a 32-page picture book with a maximum of 20 illustrations will cost you $3000 to $12000, i.e., $150 to $600 per illustration.  

Also, know that an artist who is willing to work at an extremely low rate is likely to deliver less professional and quality work of art. 

How Long Does It Take to Illustrate a Children’s Book

Since children’s books are an exciting combination of pictures and stories, they have the highest potential to captivate readers’ attention, old and young alike. 

So, when hiring a children’s book illustrator, do not settle for mediocre. Select what’s best for your brand identity and what’s best for your book. You will be forever grateful. 

Professional illustrations will take a minimum of 3 – 5 months for a 32-page book. If your deadline is tight, the cost to hire an illustrator for a book will go up. 

Therefore, give a reasonable 6 -7 months for self-publishing a book. The deliverable should include feedback and revisions.

Signing a work order will ensure the project is delivered on schedule. 

How to Hire an Illustrator for a Book

No matter how good the work of an illustrator looks elsewhere, you have to select one that fits your book, magazine, or blog. A little prep is required before you find an illustrator for a children’s book. 

  1. Complete Your Book and Make the Manuscript Ready

Use the same process of self-publishing a book – write the story, edit, and make the manuscript ready for publishing. Do not dive into illustrations before you finish the book, as it is often a standard recipe for disastrous book publishing.

As a children’s book author, there isn’t a bigger failure than spending money on illustrations that don’t fit into the story. Make sure your book is reviewed, edited, improved, and locked with the right words, characters, and scenes. It is easier to change the story than spend $600 on the wrong illustration. 

Quick Read: Tips for new authors in writing a children’s book

  1. Take Time to Finish the Book’s Storyboard 

A storyboard is a rough outline of a book that offers a visual picture of the page turns, text position, and art size. Since illustrators take cues from the authors and like to be told what to draw, it is crucial to provide clear picture notes, such as where the art should be and whether it should be spot illustration or full-bleed. 

Going through the final manuscript will help you figure out where the art should display and how many pictures you need. 

  1. Select a Book Size for Self-Publishing the Book

Book trim size is the most crucial element in children’s book publishing. It is also something you must decide before hiring an illustrator. The available standard sizes of print books are 8.5 X 8.5, 8 X 10, and 6 X 9. You can also customize your book size. However, printing a customized book size will be three to four times more expensive. 

Alternatively, you can hire Writat’s graphic designer to design a book template and show how the text and art will fit together on each page. Writat’s publishing platform also contains preset book templates for different genres, including comics and picture books. 

The book template will help the illustrator determine where spaces need to be left for text. 

NOTE: In addition to the book interior design, it is also important to get the book designed by the Illustrator. Make sure you provide the specific book cover size information to the artist to ensure the cover is printed correctly.

  1. Pick Your Style of Drawing

There are several book art styles – watercolors, bold, cute, and cartoony, caricatures, black & white sketches, layered digital art, or full-colored paintings. The art style of your children’s book should be an imprint of your story and must be relevant to the context. Knowing the exact style will help you streamline your search for illustrators. 

Where to Find a Freelance Illustrator for a Book?

There are many places to find great illustrators for a book at the best prices. Upwork.com and Fiverr are two top-ranking sites to hire freelancer professionals for a variety of book publishing needs, including editors, designers, illustrators, and ghostwriters. 

Reedsy, LinkedIn, Hire an Illustrator, Instagram, Deviant Art, Children’s Illustrator, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) are noteworthy platforms and agencies to find seasoned and professional illustrators.  

Questions to Ask When You Hire a Book Illustrator

It is important to know upfront what the illustrator can offer you. Asking the right questions will help you find the best illustrator for your book. Once you have qualified your list of illustrators, ask the following questions.

  • Have they illustrated for a book specific to your genre before? If yes, ask for a sample.
  • Do they have an online portfolio?
  • Is their overall artwork appropriate for your book genre?
  • Do they understand book illustration? 
  • What illustration tools do they use?
  • Can they design a book cover based on standard publishing requirements?
  • Can they format a picture book for self-publishing?
  • What is their rate per hour or illustration?
  • Are they open to signing a work order and contract?
  • How is their communication, like grasping and listening skills?
  • Are they open to learning something new?
  • Do they work well under pressure or within a deadline?

You can also learn about your potential illustrators by reading online reviews on Google and social media accounts. 

What Should You Do Before You Draw the Contract and Lock the Illustrator for The Project

Once you have narrowed down your list of illustrators to five or six, commission them to do a sample illustration. This can be a sketch of the main character, a full page, or whatever you think will be prudent to assess the illustrator’s artistry and whether they match your vision. 

Give the artist information upfront so that they can deliver an appropriate sketch. For example, offer them a piece of your manuscript if you are comfortable. 

Always ask for a revised sketch even if you liked what you got, such as adding an element, like eyeglasses, hat, teacup, a different position, etc. This ensures the art is original and not pulled out from the internet. It is also a great way to test the illustrator’s reaction when you suggest a change. 

Discuss Contract, Rights, and Payment Terms & Conditions

The final part of ‘how to find an illustrator for a book’ is creating and signing the contract and discussing the payment terms and rights. A few must-discuss things include:

  • Fee payment and schedule, including whether royalty options
  • When and how will the payment be disbursed
  • Deliverables – How many pieces and how many revisions allowed without additional charges
  • How the illustrations will be delivered – PDFs, JPEGs, Layered Photoshop (recommended), or Illustrator Files 
  • Will the illustrator retain the copyright or assign it to you
  • Rights to use the illustrations for marketing & promotions (ads, bookmarks, posters, social media, etc.)
  • Rights to use the illustrations in eBooks
  • Merchandising rights and World rights
  • Rights to use the art in parts, such as taking out a character, using a background, and/or making changes to the original deliverable
  • Will the illustrator get free copies of the book 

You can add other rights as well. However, know that the more rights you add, the more you may have to pay. 

Are You Ready To Find Illustrator for Your Book?

We tried our best to provide everything you need to hire a freelance children’s books, illustrator. If you follow the steps, you will quite promptly find and hire an artist to illustrate your book’s images. 

If you are also looking to self-publishing a children’s book, we’d love to help. Read this post to get an idea, and then you can visit us to get your book published

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