CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK ILLUSTRATION
If you are publishing a children’s book and looking for a top-notch illustrator, then you’ve come to the right place! Not only can I help bring your vision to life with beautiful high-quality artistic illustrations, I have also developed a straightforward, organized, and efficient process to take care of everything from A to Z. Scroll down for more detailed information. As an experienced graphic designer, I also include professional layout and book design into my services, so you will not need to hire a separate designer for that, saving you money in the long-term. In the end, you will be provided a high-resolution printer-ready pdf file of your book as well as high-resolution images of the separate illustrations, which I will provide an exclusive commercial-license for you in our contract to use them anyway you wish in order to promote your book.
As you search for an illustrator, keep in mind two things: the skill level of the artist and more importantly, their know-how for illustrating children’s books. The requirements for good children’s book illustration is very different to other forms of fine art and not any artist can do it well. While I have a B.A. in Art, it took me several years to unlearn what I was taught and reteach myself how to draw engaging, fluid, story-driven and sequential art for children’s books well. My more than 10 years experience as a graphic designer also gives me an edge in that I have kept up with current trends and styles across many design and artistic fields, which do carry over even into children’s book design (i.e. typography, color palettes, patterns, artistic style, etc.), so I am capable to create a book for you that is in line with current and future trends. Be sure to check out my BLOG, where I’ve written several posts with helpful information for illustrators and self-publishing authors.
The below rates are general estimates only. Prices can vary down or up depending on the simplicity or complexity of each illustration, the number of characters, the number of illustrations, and overall project requirements. I will work with you to determine the best layout and type of illustration needed for each page or spread. As an experienced graphic designer, I also include professional layout and book design into my services, so you will not need to hire a separate designer for that, saving you money in the long-term. You can read more about my process below to learn how it all works and how to get an official quotation for your book.
Concept art – $150-300 USD (credited back to the author upon contracting an entire book)
Single page illustration and/or design – $150-250 USD
Double page illustration and/or design $200-300 USD
Front and back cover illustration and/or design – $250-350 USD
**A standard children’s book usually has 32 interior pages, plus end papers, and a front and back cover. Most of my clients usually spend between $3500-$4800 for a 32-page book. Prices may vary below or above these figures depending on if royalties will be taken or based on the complexity of the project, the detail required for each illustration, and other factors. However, for my signature style and complexity you see in my portfolio on this website, this gives you an idea of my fees. I can also work with you to create a payment plan that is economical for both parties with payments spread out over several months.
1. Creative Brief
First, I have any potential client fill out my Creative Brief. It’s a simple questionnaire to get to know you, your story, and for you to share your vision for how you would like your book to look. I also use the Creative Brief to determine if I am a good match for you. I know my strengths and weaknesses as an artist and if I feel another artist would serve you better, I am more than happy to point you in another direction. To get started, please download the Creative Brief HERE and email it back to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Determine Quantity and Style
During this step, I determine the style and quantity of illustrations that might be needed by splitting up your text into pages and making notes as to what might be on each page, such as single page illustrations, a vignette or spot illustration, or a double page spread. I might also make notes as to how complex the illustration for that page might be if there would be a unique cost associated with that page. For example, an illustration of a detailed classroom with 20 children will cost considerably more than an illustration of one student sitting at a desk. I use this to estimate the cost of the entire project so that the contract can be written. Keep in mind that any changes to the style, complexity or quantity of illustrations during the project may affect the contract and final amount due, however, no changes will be made without the author’s approval.
I use a very thorough and detailed standard legal contract that includes info regarding grant of rights, sale and purchase, royalties, schedule, delivery dates, copyright, credit, promotion, failure to deliver, cancellation, warranty, publication, assignment, and much more. I do not work without a contract, as it protects both the author and the illustrator, and is essential to the success of the project. In general, I require a 25% advance payment to book your project into my schedule, with a payment plan (typically 3 additional monthly payments of 25% each during the project) for the remaining amount due. You can download a Sample Contract HERE.
4. Text Layout and Storyboard
I draw sketches for each page or spread to create the initial storyboard. The storyboard helps us to visually see the flow of the story from page to page. During this step, I will usually roughly layout the text and look at options for typography, so I know where the text will be and how much space it will take up, so that I’m able to draw the illustration around the text.
5. Character Development
Developing the main character is a crucial step to picture book illustration. Sometimes, I will do this before the text layout and storyboard step to make sure that both the author and I are on the same page before we get any farther into the process. I sketch a number of character options using info from the creative brief and manuscript as well as from my own imagination and expertise, refining it with feedback from the author. The character development step allows us to test and establish the personality, look and role of the main character and will create a guideline for any other characters in the book.
6. Black and White Drawings
In this stage, I sketch more refined black & white drawings, revising them with feedback from the author. It’s important that the author is happy with every detail prior to the start of the coloring step. Depending on how detailed my initial sketches were in Step 4, occasionally we can skip this step and move right into the final paintings and coloring step. It varies from project to project and page to page.
Finally, the drawings start coming to life in this step as I begin the final paintings of the illustrations. I will do one complete painting to make sure the author is happy with the overall style, aesthetic, and colors. After that I move on to painting the remaining illustrations, usually working on several at one time to ensure consistency from illustration to illustration.
8. Cover Design
I will usually create a few different sketched options for the book cover and/or dust jacket illustration and design, following the same process as outlined above from sketch to final painting.
9. Book Design
Now we get into the graphic design step of the process. Each page of the book will be designed down to the last pixel, including final the placement of the text on all the pages as well as any extra graphic design that might be necessary to bring it all together. During this step, we get the final book formatted and create the final printer-ready PDF file of the book, as well as an e-book-ready pdf file.
10. Deliver Final Files
Your final printer-ready PDF files and hi-res illustration images will be sent to you in a Dropbox link for you to download and save. All final payments must be made before any hi-res or final files will be handed over to you.