I have written a children's book
would you illustrate it?
I am sorry but I only work directly with publishers.
However, that should not stop you from submitting your manuscript
to publishers. It is not necessary for you to find an illustrator
before submitting your manuscript to publishers. When a script
is taken on, the editor working with the art director will decide
what size and shape the book is to be. An artist is then approached,
who has the skills to produce the right kind of illustrations,
for the budget the publisher has in mind. Far better to leave
it the publisher, of course if you like my work and your manuscript
is accepted for publication, please feel free to put my name
forward as a possible illustrator.
What do you like about your work?
I can get up in the morning and walk straight into
my studio. Sitting down at either my computer or drawing board
and look out over fields and watch the wildlife. I love being
my own boss, and I love that I get to be creative and see my
work in print. It is also nice to know that some place in the
world a child could be reading one of my books.
What do you dislike about your work?
No sick pay, no holiday pay, sometimes no weekends, long hours
and I get a little lonely from time to time working on my own
from home (I have been known to talk to myself!) but these things
are FAR outweighed by the positives!
How much do you charge for your work?
That really varies quite substantially depending
on the project; the amount of work needed, the rights being
purchased, the budget the publisher has, the turn-around time
for the job etc.
Do you have any advice on how to get in to
the children's illustration market?
Research the market as much
as possible Familiarize yourself with what different publishers
do. Make notes- who publishes picture books, what kind of artwork
do they seem to like? What styles of illustration are used for
what age groups?
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How do I know who to approach?
Get a copy of The Writers & Artists Yearbook
(or something similar) This has listings of all the publishers
with their contact details, what kind of books they publish
etc. (I would not be without mine)
How do I make contact?
Make colour copies of two or three of your best pieces, Photocopies
are fine or colour printouts from a high-quality colour printer.
Post these with a short covering letter to the publishers you
have researched. Try to get a specific name to address them
to - the Art Director or Commissioning Editor are the ones you
are after. If in doubt, do not be afraid to phone the company
and ask who that is. In your letter, tell them that you would
like to visit and show them the rest of your portfolio. Follow
up the letter with a phone call about ten days later, but do
not be too disappointed if they do not remember your samples
- they get hundreds. Ask again if you can make an appointment
to visit them with the rest of your work.
What do I put in my portfolio?
Your portfolio should be no more than A3 in size,
remember you are going to have to carry this around to all your
appointments, so you want something light and easy to handle.
Also bare in mind most publishers/editors tend to have very
little free desk space, and that most children's books at the
larger end tend to be no more than 305 x228 mm or 12 x 10 in
size. Put together a portfolio of between 10 15 pieces.
Try to exclude samples that you yourself consider weak, for
maximum impact focus solely on your strengths. Good illustration
communicates, if you find yourself having to provide an explanation
for every illustration you show, those illustrations have failed
in their job, and should not be in your portfolio. Try to include
at least one board with several small drawings or paintings
illustrating a given text (maybe a favorite fairytale/story,
you yourself liked as a child). This will show character/development,
setting and narrative and, it will help show how you plan a
job. If you are successful when showing your portfolio, remember
have an up- to-date printed sheet with examples of your work
and contact details on.
Where can I get more help and advice?
Think about joining an organization like the AOI
(The Association of Illustrators), they are able to offer you
advice about your portfolio, who to visit, what to charge, what
to do if you get a contract, how to publicize yourself and much
more. They also send out newsletters and arrange talks and social
events, where you can find out that there are lots of other
people out there just like you!
Where can I get more information about
Take a look at the illustrator resources links
on my links page!
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