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So You Want To Illustrate A Children’s Book?

I’m happy to link up with Stasha at www.northwestmommy.com for her wonderful Monday Listicles! Please go check out her site. There’s some great reading – and, bloggers, you may even want to join in!

Since I was a kid, I wanted to make books for children. My dream came true!  This summer I finished the illustrations for my twenty-second picture book. Illustrating children’s books is thoroughly enjoyable, exciting and fulfilling. It’s also hard work that involves planning, research, organization, decision-making and plenty of re-working. I do not work digitally. All my art is done in pencil followed by watercolor, with a bit of colored pencil and ink for details and contrast. Below are some tips I have compiled based on my experience:

Tips for New Illustrators:

 1-  Read! – Read lots of picture books and pay special attention to the illustrations. Examine how the art and words work together.

2- Plan- Do rough, thumbnail sketches laying out the text and pictures on a storyboard (a blueprint for the book where all the pages are drawn on one large sheet of paper). Then do a more detailed dummy (a full-size mock-up of the book with pencil sketches). This is all described in detail in Uri Shulevitz’s book listed at the bottom of this page. (details below)

3-  Communicate- The purpose of pictures is to clarify and enhance the text.  Be clear about what you are saying with your pictures. Stay focused and don’t add more than the text calls for.

4- Composition- Have a variety of single and double page spreads and spots (vignettes). Follow distant scenes with close-ups, quiet scenes with lively ones and vice-versa.  Vary perspectives.  Keep in mind that he text is part of the overall design and also make sure there is enough room for it. Maintain a good composition despite the problematic gutter (where the pages join in the center).  Make sure you don’t put anything too important near it. Each page relates to the others so consider the book as a whole. The storyboard is where you work this all out.

5- Characters- The story will suggest the characters, whether they be people or animals and if animals, whether they should be natural or anthropomorphized (with human characteristics, wearing clothes). If you do choose to humanize the animals make sure it’s an appropriate choice. In a story with wild or farm animals you would probably not want to dress them, but if the characters are to represent children then, of course, put them in outfits.

6-  Perspective- Dramatic perspective and foreshortening can be visually exciting but use them appropriately- when the scene calls for it.

7- Consistency- Make sure your characters and scenery are consistent from page to page.  Maintain a likeness in the characters as they appear in the different scenes. Plenty of preliminary sketching of the characters in various poses will help with that. Also pay attention to the scenery as viewpoints change.  If a front view of a house shows a tree on its right, a back view would show the tree on the left.  This is a very simple example. In complicated scenes it can be tricky.

8- Details- Details enrich the illustrations but too many can be distracting. Use them wisely, keeping the focus on the main action and character(s) in the scenes.

9- Foreshadowing- This adds to the continuity of a book. An example might be a mouse hole as a clue that a mouse will be appearing on a following page. It’s also a good way to set the stage for the book when used on the title, copyright and dedication pages.

10- Style- The style and media are your choice, but remember that your main purpose is to communicate the story and to engage the reader. Have fun and good luck!

On the process: (To see some images of my work go to: Book Art in Progress)

Storyboard- This is the blueprint for the book and the first step in designing it. On a large sheet of paper you will lay out all the pages of the book.  Keeping in mind that most picture books are 32 pages, draw 17 small rectangles. Then draw a line down the middle of each rectangle. Put a large X on the left side of the 1st rectangle. That will represent the end sheet of the book, which has no print on it and is usually a solid color or white.  The right side will be page 1. Continue numbering the pages until you reach page 32 which will be on the left side of the last rectangle.  Put a large X on the right side to represent the other end sheet.

The first 3 to 5 pages of the book are for the front matter: Traditionally, page 1 is the half title page (shows just title of book). Page 2 is the copyright page. Page 3 is the dedication page. Pages 4 and 5 are the full title pages (listing title of book, author/illustrator and publisher).  The story will begin on page 6 or 7. Alternately, the half title page can be omitted and replaced with the full title page, in which case the story will begin on page 4 or 5. There are other formats as well, but this is a common one.

Now begin the design process:  Indicate what text will be on each page and draw some quick, thumbnail sketches to accompany it.  Keep it simple and rough. The goal here is to determine the flow and pattern of the book.  Seeing all the pages at once makes this easier. Strive for a variety of spots (vignettes), single and double page spreads.

Dummy-Now that you have a rough layout in the storyboard the next step is the dummy- a mock-up of the book.  Take 10 sheets of drawing paper and fold them in half.  Cut these folded sheets to whatever the trim size of the intended book will be (such as 8×10). Unfold and neatly place all the sheets together, then fold again and staple along the length of the folded edge. A heavy-duty stapler works best for this. Number the pages then begin drawing more detailed sketches based on the storyboard plan. You will also cut and paste the text onto the pages. Vary the placement of the text as well as the scenes to keep the book visually exciting.  Follow close up scenes with distant ones, quiet scenes with lively ones.  Vary perspectives and use them appropriately.  For example, the scenery would be much different from a mouse’s point of view than from a horse’s.  You may want to do some of the more difficult sketches on a separate piece of paper then transfer them to the dummy once you’ve worked it all out.  In any case, plan to resketch until you are satisfied with the results. Then be prepared to revise again after the dummy has been reviewed by the art director and editor.

Finals- When all the revisions have been approved you can proceed to the final art.  The medium is your choice.  Illustrators use various media from watercolor to oil, pastel, acrylic, colored pencil, ink, collage, printmaking, photography and computer art among others. I work in watercolor along with ink and colored pencil.  Using a lightbox I trace my approved dummy sketches onto sheets of watercolor paper that have been cut to size (with an inch or two extra all around). I keep the tracing light as I may make minor changes along the way and will ultimately want to erase the pencil marks.

Redo art that you are not satisfied with but also know when to stop. We artists are often our own worst critics. That is what keeps us striving for improvement, but there comes a point where doing something over does not necessarily make it better. As soon as I finish a painting I see things that I might have done differently. I have to recognize when to re-paint it and when to let it go.  The most important thing is to know that I’ve done my best at the time. Good luck!

Suggested reading-  (in addition to lots of picture books! Crucial)

Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books by Uri Shulevitz

Bookmaking: Editing, Design, Production, Third Edition  by Marshall Lee

Children’s Book Illustration: Step by Step Techniques: A Unique Guide from the Masters by Jill Bossert

You might also check out: So You Want To Write A Children’s Book

Artists, is there anything you’d like to share? Aspiring illustrators, is there anything you’d like to ask? I’m here. Talk to me!

About the author

Iza Trapani I am a children's book author and illustrator, fan of Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss, lover of big dogs, aspiring yodeler. When not in my studio, I spend time outdoors and have climbed over many a mountain to see what I could see.

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61 Responses to So You Want To Illustrate A Children’s Book?

  1. ania says:

    I feel a bit anthrpomorphorized this morning…..grrr…

  2. Stasha says:

    You are so kind, always sharing your wisdom, tips and humor. Thank you Iza!

  3. Michelle says:

    that was very useful, thank you!

    I’m interested in how you got your book published, i’ve just completed my own childrens book and want to get it out there but have no idea how! could you tell me your experience please?

  4. brenda says:

    This was sooo helpful. I’m new at illustrating and feel so small. Thank you for your helpful information. Question: I use color pencil & ink for my drawings. Why are the illustrations in books so much brighter than my drawings? Are they computer enhanced?

    • Iza Trapani says:

      I’m glad to be of help. Thanks for stopping by! It’s hard to say. Many illustrations are done digitally with color enhancement, but there have also been Caldecott winning books that were done in pencil- Kevin Henke’s book, Kitten’s Full Moon, for one. I assume it was done in pencil (looks like it).In any case it’s black and white. Good art that enhances a story does not need to be colorful and flashy. If you want more vibrancy, then perhaps a heavier hand on the colored pencils will do the trick. What’s most important, I feel, is a good composition and good drawing. Please let me know if I can answer any other questions. Good luck to you!

  5. Carlos says:

    Thanks for the info. I’m an amateur artist who has been drawing most of my life. After 12 years of active duty in the Navy, I’ve found a well paying job as a Health Physicist, but I’ve decided to use my college benefits and go back to school and follow some of my dreams. Hopefully, I’ll be able to attend the Academy of Art online.

    Just so happens an aquaintence of mine wants to try and publish a children’s book and would like for me to illustrate it. I’ve never illustrated a book before, so you’re blog is extremely helpful. This I can do!

    Thanks for the recommended reading. I’m going to hit these books up soon and learn as much as I can during the process!

  6. Arianne Fredenburg says:

    Hello Iza,

    I just stumbled across your blog in the pursuit of the answer to my question. This is my question, I want to illustrate the The Velveteen Rabbit, (this story has greatly influenced) do you know anything about the process of illustrating previous published story? And about publishing the story?

    Any Information you might have would be extremely helpful.

    Thank you
    Arianne

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi Ariane, As far as I know the story is now in public domain (written in 1922)- but I would research to make sure there is no copyright on it. If it is in public domain you are free to illustrate it. As for publishing, I have always worked with traditional publishers and know nothing of self publishing. The reference books I mentioned in this post will offer lots of useful info. Good luck!

  7. Hi Iza,
    I love your work.
    Can you tell me how to get started with contacts for Illustration?
    I did a book for a friend and really enjoyed doing so.
    I am a muralist right now but very interested in Illustrating books.
    Thank You!
    Lorie

  8. Chelsea says:

    Hi Iza,

    Thanks for the detailed outline! I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book, and as my plans to go back to college this year got pushed back and I find myself living in a small studio in the Latin Quarter of Paris (lots of creative energy here) with plenty of free time on my hands, I’m thinking now would be a good time to dive in and try to accomplish one of my dreams!

    The thing that has me hesitating, however, is that I’ve never had any formal art training, and I’m not the kind of artist who can sketch or paint a photorealistic squirrel in 10 minutes. My drawings are kind of quirky and a bit minimalist. But I’m set on illustrating my own book! Do you think only very skilled artists with amazing technique can be successful in this business?

    Also, I like to work with oil pastel. As oil pastel never really dries, does this pose a problem for publishing? What do you think about doing a book that alternates between media, between water color and oil pastel for example?

    Thanks so much!

    Chelsea

    • Iza Trapani says:

      You live in Paris, Chelsea? Oh I feel so sorry for you :-)
      There are wonderful self-taught illustrators out there, so I wouldn’t worry about the formal training. However, the work does need good design, consistency and visual appeal. No problem with mixed media. It’s used all the time. And as for oil pastels, the only problem may be scanning but I don’t really know, as I am not involved in the printing process. Have a look online and I’ll do the same. I’m curious to know.

  9. Chelsea says:

    Wow, Iza, sorry but I have to write you another comment! I just looked around your website and saw that you wrote and illustrated Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! My dad gave me that book when I was 7 and it was one of my favorites! I’m now twenty five, and about three years ago I even did my own watercolor interpretation of how I remembered the story. You may very well be the reason that I wanted to make children’s books! How serendipitous.

  10. Hsgroves says:

    Hello. Thank you for this information. I have a degree in Fine Art painting- in oil. Since I have had my first child Ive been so inspired to do this but I didn’t know where to start. :)

  11. Leigh says:

    This is so wonderful to see. We have so many of your books around our house.

    When working with someone else’s narrative what are good questions to ask the author to get a better idea of what the illustration needs to get across?

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi Leigh!As for illustrating someone else’s story, I would go with your own vision, unless you need explanation on factual details, or if the author asks you for something specific (as for example, making the main character a girl with curly, red hair- as an author asked me to do once (The book was about her daughter.) Generally, authors and illustrators do not confer on the artwork- so that the artists’ vision is not compromised. Happy Holidays!

  12. melissa says:

    I am just starting out as a children’s book writer. I am pondering the thought of whether or not to illustrate my own. I use to draw a bit as a kid. But is it good enough. Any pros and cons to doing it yourself ?

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi Melissa! If you have only drawn a bit as a kid, I will assume that your artwork is not strong enough to illustrate your book. You can’t just take a crash course. Most illustrators have spent their lives perfecting their craft. Book illustration is difficult and demanding and the artwork must shine. I would send the manuscript in alone. If it gets accepted you may show the publisher some samples of your art. But you stand a better chance just submitting your story.Good luck!

  13. svarichak says:

    Hi

    I really like to watercolor and I’ve always thought that it would be awesome to illustrate for books (any kind) because when I was little I’d always look at the illustrations in my books before reading. So,my question is how does one go about illustrating for books?

    • Iza Trapani says:

      That’s a very general question! To start, become really familiar with children’s books- study how the words and pictures go together. Practice a lot and paint scenes showing a progression of pages, making sure the character/scenery looks the same throughout. I suggested some books to read. They will give you lots of info. There are many reference books on the subject of writing and illustrating for children available the market. if you have a specific question/questions don’t hesitate to ask!

  14. kay says:

    I’ve always made up stories for my children. They’d think of an animal, a creature, or a situation and I’d tell them a story based on their character. Now my kids are grown and on a whim, I decided to try it again. I chose a ghome, a mouse and a squirrel and over a couple of weeks, wrote three individual children’s stories. If I do say so myself, they’re wonderful. They have heart, humor and quality. I really love them and my little characters jump out of the pages and come to life. I know a good story when I read it and I know I have something here. My problem is although I see these characters in all their glory, I need an illustrator and I have no idea where to go from here. There are workshops but they cost upwards of $200 and I’m not in a position to pay that just yet. Help.

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi Kay, You should just submit your stories and a publisher will find you an illustrator. They much prefer to choose their own illustrators and not take a double risk with a first-time author and first -time illustrator.

  15. Hello Iza Trapani

    my name is rebecca and I am an artist and would love to get into illustrating children’s books I dont know how to go about finding a publisher who might be interested in my drawings or if they are even what they might be looking for to put into a childrens book thank you so much for all your wonderful help in this matter….. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2663053308910.128010.1633305874&type=3

  16. Michelle says:

    At what point do you recommend submitting work to agents? After having full size sketches of all the pages, or at the thumbnail stage? My thanks for having a good website.

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi Michelle! Is this a literary agent you are speaking of, and did you write the story as well? If you are only illustrating, then you can submit on your own or get an art representative. I would include a few thumbnails- or better yet a whole storyboard- a few full size sketches and at least one final image in whatever media you choose. Most PBs are 32 pages and the text starts on p. 5 or 7. I hope this helps and good luck!

      • Michelle says:

        Yes, I did write the story as well. I had been under the impression previously from my research that I would need to have the entire thing done in full size sketches before submitting it, so thank you very much!

  17. Chris Ennis says:

    Hello, Iza!

    I’ve just come across your page and I’m pleased to find the wealth of information you’ve provided. Thank you!

    I’ve illustrated on and off since I was about 7 or 8 (34 now). I feel pretty confident in my own work but I’ve never thought about illustrating a children’s book until quite recently. Since I’m technically a first-time illustrator (and writer), would you find that it would be better if I did not send the illustrations over? I guess I’m asking that because you said that they normally look for illustrators. I’m proud of my work so far, but would it hurt my chances if I decided to send the illustrations along with my work and having it declined? I guess you just try again, huh. :)

    • Chris Ennis says:

      I had another site up (for Dummies) and mistyped when I said that you said something. You did not say that something. Hehe!

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi Chris! I am glad you are finding my info useful. When you say your work, do you mean a story you have written? If that is the case, then , if you feel confident in your art, then by all means send a few samples of the illustrations along with the typed manuscript. Publishers are very open to author/illustrators (assuming the work is good.) What they don’t want to see is a first time author getting their friend or cousin, etc.. (who has little or no experience) to illustrate their book. I recommend that first time authors stand a better chance of just sending in a polished manuscript rather than trying to get someone to illustrate it for them. But if you can do both and have a strong vision and can execute it, then I would say go for it. But do be open to the idea that they may want to use another illustrator if they like your story but feel the art is not adequate. Good luck and feel free to ask me any other questions!

  18. prairienymph says:

    Hello,
    I’ve been working on illustrations for one of my books and somehow onlyjust realized that I don’t have to make a painting the same size as the potential book. What size of paper do you usually work on?

    • Iza Trapani says:

      The art director and I agree on a book size that is appropriate. Some books are wider than taller or vice versa. They are usually no less than 8 inches and no more than 12 inches.You can work full size or larger- but keep it proportionate. Do not work smaller.

  19. Hi!
    thank you for this advise, its extremely useful! But i have one more doubt. How did you start? How did you get your first book account to illustrate? It´s my dream to illustrate a childrens book, but dont even know where to start to grab attention.

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi Ashley,

      There is lots of useful information available these days- much more than when I started out 25 or so years ago. I would recommend joining The society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators http://www.scbwi.org. THey offer lots of helpful info and have great conferences. When I started out, I brought samples of my art to publishers, and then eventually got an agent to represent me when I started writing stories.

  20. Alida says:

    Hi Iza,

    I came across your blog, and loved it for its simplicity and being to the point and giving me the tips I am looking for.

    I have a question – I want to start illustrating children’s book. In general I CAN draw, but I have never tried to give emotions and expressions to my characters. I basically never dealt with it as a career, now that I am writing children’s book I want to illustrate them myself! Do you think I can LEARN how to illustrate children’s book. I am scared I might not be as good as my illustrator OR I will lack creativity OR I might not like what I drew.

    Please advice… I appreciate your answer.

    Thanks in advance,

    Alida

    • Iza Trapani says:

      These are hard questions for me to answer, Alida. It’s really up to you. Do you feel like you have done the homework? Have you really studied children’s book illustrations, taken workshops or classes, read books on the craft of illustrating? Illustrating is very specialized and if you are having doubts then I suspect you may need a bit more preparation. Knowing how to draw is a prerequisite, but there is much more to it: layout and design, yes, expressions and emotions on the characters, making the characters look the same as sizes and viewpoints change, varying perspectives etc…If you feel your art is not up to snuff, you may have a better chance of getting your book published by submitting just the manuscript- but, of course, that needs to be very well written and polished. Please feel free to ask me any specific questions! And thanks for stopping by!

  21. Jasmine Tietjens says:

    Hi Iza

    My 8 year old daughter has written and illustrated a picture book (in pencil colour and pens), and is keen to get it published in print form. I want to support her by helping her with her project, and funding the self-publication of her book.

    I don’t really know where to start. Are there any readings that you could suggest, or tips you would suggest?

    We want to publish the book in the traditional way – print. And it’s not for profit, really just want to help my daughter in her journey to be a illustrator and writer.

    I have simple questions like:
    (a) For printing from the master, does my daughter have to illustrate each page on A4 paper (separate from the text that we will also provide to the printer)? Or can we print the pages with text, and get her to illustrate on it pages (as she already has now) and the printer will know what to do from there?

    Would you mind taking a look at her work, and commenting on how she can improve it?

    Thanks very much Iza.

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi Jasmine,

      How nice of you to do that for your daughter. She must be quite the little author and illustrator! The questions you are asking me are really out of my realm of expertise. I am not involved in the printing process. I send my original watercolors to the art director and he/she lays out the pages, adds the text and sends our for high res scans. Then it goes overseas to be printed. There is lots of info on self-publishing print books online. Here’s a link I found by googling “how to self publish a print book.” http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-18438_7-10119891-82/self-publishing-a-book-25-things-you-need-to-know/ You can send a file with your daughter’s text and art and I’ll be glad to have a look at it. My e-mail is iza@izatrapani.com.

  22. Michelle says:

    Hello again,

    Something that’s been bothering me is that, since I am still a student, I have other commitments to attend to and even if I get accepted by an agent, I’m not exactly sure what happens next. Will there likely be deadlines I might not be able to make since I am doing other work not related to it? Would they be flexible with that or is it something I should only be submitting when I *know* I will have lots and lots of time to work on it?

    Thanks again,
    Michelle

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi again Michelle. Generally, things don’t happen as fast as we hope, so it may take a while to get an agent and then it may take a while to find a publisher. On the other hand, if your work is stellar, you may get snatched up right away. There is some flexibility in the contracts, but book illustration is time consuming and requires a lot of focus. However, getting a contract is very exciting, because you feel the outside world is in some way supporting you- and that feeds your energy. So you just might have the ability to do it all!

  23. Jacomi says:

    Hi, Iza! Hope you are well! I’ve come across your blog while searching for info on children’s book writing and illustration. And it feels really good to meet someone like you who has been there, has done it all, and has delivered the goods. Wow, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and in such a helpful and friendly way. I am from South Africa and as I am a qualified Graphic Designer, would love to illustrate my own children’s book in the near future – not too bad in writing either, so I am hoping for the best! Hehe! Please wish me luck – this has been a life-long dream. Nearing 50 at the end of the year – ouch! I am finding your blog really helpful – thanks! Keep well and kind regards!

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Dear Jaconi,

      How nice to hear from you, and I absolutely wish you the very best of luck in pursuing your dream! It’s never too late. Besides, 50 is the new 30 :-) - and this I know as I approach the END of my 50th year! Please let me know if you have any specific questions. I would be delighted to answer them in a blog post or posts to help other readers as well as you! My gratitude and warmest wishes to you!

  24. Hi Iza,
    Wow, oodles and oodles of outstanding information!
    My “Iza’s Inspiring Illustrating Ideas” folder continues to expand. :-)
    Tracy

  25. Pingback: Poetry Friday: Storytime with Iza Trapani and Little Miss Muffet

  26. Deb Roberts says:

    This is soooo helpful, Iza!! Thank you for sharing! A gentleman saw my paintings purchased by a friend of his and loved the style and vibrancy of of them. He has written a children’s book that his friends have been encouraging him to publish. He has decided to publish it himself via e-publishing. He contacted me to ask if I would be interested in illustrating it. ….and I’m so excited about the possibility of it! I’ve never done anything like this however so your blog is extremely helpful! My questions…..are there many differences in illustrating for a paper book verses an e-published book? He has suggested the 32 page layout ,so that would be the same. So would I produce the illustrations just like I would otherwise? And a tough question to probably answer…..since you’re a pro…..but what should I charge him for my work? Is it a determined price per picture….per project…..would I get part of the royalties? Again, I have no clue! But I am excited about the potential opportunity. Thanks for your advice! – Deb.

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi Deb! thanks for stopping by! Your questions are tough to answer, as I don’t really have experience in this. I don’t think there’s any difference in the art that has to be created whether for an e-book or a tradition book. In either case, the art will have to be created and scanned. Some questions for you: Do you think the story is really good and will sell many copies? You can not believe what friends say, as they are biased. Has he had a professional editor look at the story? Has he submitted it, gotten rejected and is using self publishing as a last resort (not to say that it’s always a last resort, as self-publishing is a respected and viable option for many authors.) Consider that you will put a lot of time and effort into doing the illustrations. If you objectively think the story has marvelous potential, the best bet would be to ask for an advance and royalties rather than a flat fee. Here are some links that may help.
      http://www.underdown.org/hdufaq.htm#general
      http://work.chron.com/illustrators-paid-illustrating-book-13233.html
      http://www.amandahall-illustration.com/faqs/getting-paid/
      Let me know if you have more questions!

  27. Darlene says:

    I’ve just been commissioned to illustrate a children’s book and am so excited, but nervous. I usually rough sketch, then water color, erase the pencil and then detail with ink. Will that work for a children’s book? Or should I leave the ink off?

    If you are on Facebook you can see my sketches:https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.362323263793643.104009.211919575500680&type=3

    Thanks for you input!!!

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi Darlene! How exciting! Whether you use ink or not is your choice. Either way is fine! It all depends on the look you want for this particular book. Have fun and good luck and please feel free to ask me other questions!

  28. Tatiana says:

    Hello Iza,
    I am so happy that I came across your blog

    I have always had a passion for illustrating, ever since I was a little girl I use to spend all my free time drawing and writing stories.
    Well years have passed and now I have been giving an opportunity to illustrate a children’s book, I finish it about 6months ago and now it’s finally ready to be printed!
    How did you go about getting an agent?

    So with all that said, I really enjoy doing this! I wanted to know how about getting

  29. Cara Bevan says:

    Your post is so informative and enlightening, thank you for sharing your insight! I have a question about getting your name out about being a ‘freelance’ kids’ book illustrator. I’ve been painting fine art animals in acrylics since 2007 but when I was approached to illustrate a book I fell in love with the process! I would love to be signed and associated with a publisher to illistrate for but I have no idea how to go about presenting yourself…could you share some more advice?

    Thank you!

    • Iza Trapani says:

      Hi Cara! I am not too familiar with sending samples to publishers, as I started out 25 years ago, am both writer/illustrator, and have worked mostly with one publisher. However, I do recommend joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators http://www.scbwi.org. They have lots of regional and national conferences and you can arrange for a portfolio review and make some connections with people in the industry. They also have an informative newsletter. I also recommend visiting bookstores or libraries and finding books with an illustration style somewhat similar to yours, then jot down the names of the publishers of these books. I would submit the samples to them. Some publishers like classic styles, others like more edgy work, so see where yours fits in. I did a google search and found these two sites that have good info: http://www.amandahall-illustration.com/faqs/approaching-publishers/ and http://blog.illustrationcastle.com/2007/01/09/how-to-prepare-samples-to-send-to-a-publisher/ Best of luck to you!

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