Updated: Apr 13, 2022
By Michael Heath / selfpublishingUS.com
You have a great idea for a children’s book. The story has already been written, but there is a problem. You are not an artist. So, who is going to illustrate your children’s book?
Maybe you have a niece who draws very well, or you recall the artistic talents of a former roommate. Hiring one of them to create the visuals for a steep discount or for free may be an inviting idea, but keep in mind that a deal like that puts you at his/her mercy. Add on the reputation that illustrators have for taking longer than they say a project will take, and you could be waiting a very long time. Having a friend or relative create the images could work out, but it is a good idea to know how committed they really are before you start.
There are other ways to get your book illustrated. You could hire someone at the beginning of his/her career, like a college student majoring in art. The cost for drawing the book may be as low as $500. If you use the services of a reputable freelance artist, expect to pay from $1500 to $5000 or even more. Illustrating a 24- or 32-page children’s book takes time and talent, and artists certainly need to be compensated for their work. Most arrangements like those are considered work-for-hire, which means the work you receive is owned by you, and the illustrator is not entitled to any future royalties or rights. Before you begin, be sure that both parties understand the expectations. It is possible that an artist may be willing to enter a partnership where or he/she is compensated when the book sells. Here again, make sure you and the artist have a clear understanding before moving forward.
If a partnership is established, credit will be given to the illustrator on the front cover. If it is a work-for-hire arrangement, giving equivalent credit is up to the author as owner of the images. I have found, in most cases, that the author gives credit to the illustrator even if he/she is not required to. Even when the images are complete, it may not mean that you are ready to print. You will likely need the services of a graphic designer to create print-ready files. Some artists can do both or at least know someone who can create these files. This is an important point that should be part any discussion.
SelfPublishingUS specializes in self-published children's books. And we work with a number of exceptional illustrators. Find out more about our illustration services for chilren's books.