• Writer for DDI on Medium

4 Things to Consider When Choosing an Illustrator

Updated: Jul 27




“Kids are pretty cool, it usually take a while for a film to break through but they usually get what you are trying to do with it and understanding something.” TIM BURTON.

I recently got selected to illustrate a simple story for kids but as I engaged the author, it became apparent he was uncertain of the things he needed to work out prior to hiring me or anyone else for that matter.


1. Purpose If you’ve written something and you’ll eventually like to have it illustrated, its too soon to hire an illustrator if you have not considered these simple questions.

What is your purpose for publishing?

Is this a one-time thing, do you plan to publish more work in the future? Considering this can help determine a branding strategy, maybe your audience prefers books from established authors in which case being new and unknown may retard your success, so aligning yourself with a company like Writers House might prove a successful strategy to build notoriety.


If publishing more is a goal then maybe going solo with your brand might be the better choice, but whatever it is starting with a goal is crucial to your success.


2. The Angle Of The Story


Once you’ve nailed down what you wish to achieve with your brand, choosing the right illustrator begins with your vision as the author of the book and the angle you’ll like to approach telling the story.

In my case the story had many angles one could approach it from. But based on my influences and style of illustrating, if as the author my approach isn’t what you’re looking for, it can be jumping the gun signing on the dotted line.


Additionally, crucial to your success, there are hundreds of children’s authors out there, you don’t need to give buyers another reason to ignore your work by being akin and monotonous.


It is quite possible to be hitting on all cylinders with your writing and missing the mark in your approach illustratively because of a simple thing we call “feed back”.


If you your gut likes the approach, then learn to block out the noise; don’t over think it!


3. Choosing Your Illustrator


Every creative process has a unique blueprint so illustrators are no different. Your angle should determine the setting for your story and that should influence your search and the person you choose to illustrate your story.

If you’re looking for Mary Poppins illustrations, then don’t seek out Tim Burton type influences!


Do your home work and come ready to do business.


4. What You Should Know About The Process


You don’t answer these questions to start business with ‘I have budget, consider that when your charging me”

The definition of needing someone to execute a job you are willing to hire them for is meeting their price.


For a simple illustration job, you’ll need to know…


1. The size of the book

2. The range of illustrations you’ll need

3. If its color or black and white

4. The spread; Full spread, half page, quarter page, spot and if the cover is wrap around


Here are the definitions of what the spread size can cover,


Spread — an illustration that spreads across two facing pages, filling up both pages with a single illustration. It may or may not have text superimposed on it. Full — an illustration that takes up one whole page. It may or may not have text superimposed on it. Half — an illustration that takes up one half of a page. Quarter — an illustration that takes up one quarter of a page. Spot — a simple illustration that takes up one eighth of a page, or less and be ready to have your contract demand royalties, once the book starts making a profit.



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