Looking For an Illustrator? 6 Factors to Consider for a Great Children’s Book


Whether you are a new self-publisher of children’s books or an experienced author, you know that the importance of the proper illustration for the story is inevitable. Getting the right illustrator can make or break the impression of your book. That’s why you have to be careful with your choice.

However, with online platforms, hiring a freelance illustrator has become a straightforward experience for authors. You might find it pretty easy to look out for applicants and hire a suitable candidate for the job.

But, ending up with a novice illustrator can waste plenty of your time and money. As your book is going to be judged by its cover, a careful selection is critical so you make the right call. Curious to know how to pick the right one for your project? If yes, let’s get started with these 6 essential factors!

Finish The Children’s Book

It is highly tempting for an author to dive into the illustrations for children’s books. But, going for this step in advance is a recipe for disaster. Unless you have finished the book manuscript, looking out for the appropriate illustration will be stressful.

Before you start your hunting process, ensure that your manuscript has passed the edition phase and is adequately reviewed by the expert. The editor will find out the plot holes and other potential problems in the story. This will give you time to fix the holes and improve your content.

If you get the illustrations done and go for editing, it will make editing impossible. Each suggestion you get from the editor will make you revise the illustrations – increasing the stress and cost. As an author, there is nothing worse for you than spending your money on illustrations you cannot use anymore.

So, to prevent yourself from being locked in a wrong choice, you can do yourself a favor and finish your book first. Get your children’s book edited prior to finding an illustrator.

Finish The Book’s Storyboard

Illustrator will take all the cues from an author. Some artists, depending on their experience and expertise, want to be told what to draw. To guide your illustrator right for the expected results, take some time to come up with clear art notes.

By analyzing your content, find the spot where your art should be fully displayed. For many authors, this strategy is beneficial and saves a lot of time. You can create a rough storyboard that outlines the art size on pages. To get creative ideas, you can learn online how to illustrate children’s books effectively.

Make your art a spread to prevent ending up with two similar pages. You can think of your art like you do with your manuscript. If you are planning to create a new piece of art, ensure that it is practical on the page as well.


So, take some time to go through this process prior. It will not only help you refine your manuscript but also help you figure out how many art pieces can cover the story before you move toward the hiring process.

Start Looking For a Similar Experience

Once you have reviewed and edited your manuscript, you can now set clear expectations for an illustrator. No matter how skilled and experienced an illustrator you hire, they will require notes from you to create impressive illustrations for children’s books.

While you want to save money and hire a new and inexperienced illustrator to be a wise author, invest a little extra to get quality work. Unquestionably, some new illustrators might be more ambitious and have creative ideas. However, ensuring they are reliable for your project can be a tricky task.

Instead, look out for illustrators who already have work experience in handling similar projects. An experienced illustrator will have a better understanding of your project to elevate your manuscript than hiring a new one.

Other than work experience, you have to be specific about the geo-location factor of your publication as well. For example, if you are planning to publish your book in the UK, it is better to work with UK book illustrators for exemplary work.

Be On the Same Page

To save yourself time, start by doing your own homework first, to be precise. Get a clear understanding of the illustration style and number. Dodge the old pattern with vague descriptions such as “a picture of a girl signing.” This kind of description will leave the illustrator confused about the boy’s age, height, hair color, clothing, and background.

This pattern will consume more time, energy on revision, and money for the changes. The illustrator you will hire will only work on the instructions you requested to deliver the expected results.

Communicate Your Timeline

Clear communication is the next crucial factor for success in your project. Ensure you clearly communicate your deadline with your illustrator. If you are a self-publishing author, the experts suggest breaking down the project into milestones and making it easier for the illustrator to handle work effectively.


If you expect 50 illustrations to be completed in 3 months, you can ask your illustrator to work on 4 posts per week. This way, you will get enough time to review before you get another load to work on. With this strategy, you will prevent the bulk of revisions and confusion from your work.

Finalize Your Contractual Details

Well, it is the trickiest part to handle when you are hiring a children’s book illustrator. Deciding on the payment method and making an agreement in advance will allow the illustrator to work without any worries.

Every author has their own way of paying. Some self-publishing authors like to pay royalties, and some look out for freelance illustrators to pay a lump sum.

Some decide on a fixed rate based on the sales to pay for the illustration. You can choose your own way of payment. Ensure that the agreement is based on your expectations and requirements. Keep the contract precise and comprehensive to prevent any ambiguity.

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