How to Choose the Right Illustrator for Your Children’s Picture Book

Blog_How to Find the Right Illustrator for Your Childrens Book_1

The illustration process is the other enjoyable side of self-publishing a children’s picture book. You have an opportunity to see your words come to life – the way YOU visualize it. But you have to find the right illustrator who is skilled in turning your pose into a colorful and exciting picture book for children. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you find the perfect illustrator for your children’s picture book. 

First, Choose Either a Designer and Illustrator

Before you start your hunt, let’s get a full understanding of the role of a designer and illustrator. Many people use the titles interchangeably, but actually each one provides a different set of skills. A designer is typically involved in image development, typography, and branding, primarily working on more commercial projects, such as creating logos and design elements for a marketing campaign. An illustrator can be involved in those areas as well, but he or she mainly focuses on visualization, which includes drawing images to create a complete idea. If your picture book mostly uses photographs or other special images, a skilled designer would suffice. But most children’s picture books require detailed drawings and sketches, which calls for a skilled illustrator.

Check Out Websites Specifically for Illustrators

Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to start finding talented illustrators. These social media sites oftentimes have groups specifically for illustrators. If allowed, you can view the pages of a variety of illustrators and their artistic styles. These sites can also give you the opportunity to send messages to illustrators and ask questions about their past and current projects and how they work with writers. Sites like and allow illustrators to create or post portfolios of their work for potential clients to view. You can also join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and get connected to illustrators at the organization’s yearly conferences and workshops.

Browse Their Portfolios Thoroughly

When you’ve written your children’s story, you may have visualized the drawings from page to page. You may have even created a rough storyboard, which allows you to see how the text and illustrators would appear as a whole. Illustrators usually create these, but making one for yourself beforehand can be extremely helpful when conveying your ideas to the illustrator. If not, try reading your story numerous times and “see” how each page will look and take notes on any ideas you would like emphasized. Keeping those visuals in mind, browse through as many illustrators’ portfolios and social media pages as possible, and take note of all the different styles offered to see which one fits your story best. Children’s picture books often use realistic- and cartoon-styles illustrations, but other styles may catch your eye. Find an illustration style that you think will work best with your story, and contact the illustrator when you are ready to move forward.

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