So, You Want to Hire An Illustrator ...

As an aspiring or seasoned children's book author, illustrations are the moment we all eagerly await. It's actually seeing our words come to life right before our eyes. It's the vision that has kept us up at night. Personally, I recall seeing my very first illustrations and immediately feeling teary eyed. I was so excited that I could barely keep it together at work. To be honest, I wanted to log out, resign, and praise dance in the parking lot. Naively, I felt like I'm at the finish line and everyone who sees this book will organically fall in love with it and want to purchase. "I will surpass my hourly rate within no time," I thought. Yes, that was my first impression of seeing illustrations. It was a bit much. Okay, I was being completely extra, but I know I am not the only one. Thankfully, for me I have honest friends. After sharing round one of illustrations with my good friend, she quickly recognized that the illustration of my main character appeared too old for the tone and context of the story. My heart sank because she was correct and upon a closer examination I noticed inconsistencies with pages. I guess I wouldn't be quitting that day after all. Back to my illustrator I went for revisions.


Fast forward to now, I recognize those items with a sharper set of eyes and even encourage authors working with me to sleep on the illustrations for a night and let me know what revisions they need, if any. I share this to help new authors to logically look at illustrations the way readers and buyers will experience them.


Here are a few tips I have learned along my author and publisher journey.


  1. Books are generally broken down as singles, spreads or spot illustrations. My first suggestion would be to decide, which you'd prefer.