Once you have your manuscript ready and you are happy with your story it’s time to start thinking about the illustrations. If you are trying to get your book published by a publishing company you don’t need to provide illustrations as they will take care of that. However if you are self publishing you will need to find an illustrator. My advice would be not to attempt the pictures yourself unless you have some form of art or illustration training. It’s not as simple as just drawing a few pretty pictures. The illustrations are a major part of the sales of a book and if done badly they can ruin any chance of becoming a successful book.
Don’t approach an illustrator until:
You have your manuscript completed
You have had the manuscript edited
You have chosen your distribution methods
You know what sizes and formats you require
You have an exact target market and description
The more you are willing to pay the better result you are likely to get. Like anything the more experienced illustrators charge more than the less experienced. However there are a few ways to bring down the cost.
Illustration students are a good option although they have no experience they are full of enthusiasm and have the correct training and resources around them to create a good result. If you are patient and willing to help a student get some experience this is defiantly an option. A great way of doing this is to contact your local design school or university that offers illustration. Talk to them about running a live project as part of their training. Get each student to create one illustration from your book then pick the style you like the best and reward that student with the job of illustrating the whole book. I would also offer them a small cash prize/payment for doing the work. Most students are very keen to get exposure and experience and are willing to even work for free sometimes. You could even offer them royalties if that suits better.
Online Freelance Sites
There are a lot of online freelance websites that offer illustration. You can have someone from anywhere in the world illustrating your children's book. This can be very economic however it comes with risks. As there is no guarantee that these people are experienced and know what they are doing you must be very though rough with you brief and communication. If the illustrator cannot break down the exact process they work in and exactly what you will receive for you money keep looking. Keep all the terms of the agreement clear and precise.
There are thousands of professional illustration agencies throughout the world. These are the true professionals they have a very high standard and with that charge a very high price. These agencies represent a group of illustrators and act as a middleman between you and the illustrator you choose. They know the process inside out and will create professional advanced artwork. The illustrators they represent are the best of the best and are usually highly trained, full time and very well paid. If you know nothing about illustration and want a bestselling book these people are your best bet.
A Friend or Family Member
A lot of people know someone who is good at drawing or art in their family or group of friends. And it seems like the obvious choice to get them to illustrate your book. The problem with this is that being good at drawing or art is not all it takes to be an illustrator. A lot professional illustrators train for four years have degrees and have a wide knowledge of how to communicate a story visually. If you want an amateur book then use a friend or family member. However if you would like to one day get into the books stores and be taken seriously then hire a professional.
Directly Approach an Illustrator
Another way of getting an illustrator is to contact them directly. Go to the bookstore and pick out the style you would like for your book. Write down the illustrator of the book then go home and type their name into Google. If they don’t come up type their name then illustrator. Most illustrators have websites and are always looking for new exciting projects to work on. This is a good option if you have a budget as you can negotiate the rate and requirements directly with the illustrator rather than relying on a middleman. If you want someone from your own country go to the bookstore staff and ask them if they have a local section you can browse through.
I am an illustrator and am always on the lookout for new exciting projects with creative writers like you. Check out my work and see if my style suits your story http://www.amyburrell.com/. Contact me via my website email.