The internet has made it easier to find and hire talent. You can post a job on Facebook, turn to platforms like Upwork, or work with a professional like Zuri Book Pros. However, it is still important to know what to look for in an applicant so you can make the right call.
Here are a few things to remember when hiring a children’s book illustrator:
1. Should Have Experience Handling Similar Projects
While some new and inexperienced illustrators can be good, it might be a wiser idea to pay a little more and choose an experienced children’s book illustrator.
Someone new illustrators might be ambitious with some great ideas but they may not always be reliable. You should look for an illustrator who has experience handling similar projects.
An illustrator who has spent a good amount of time illustrating children’s books will have a better understanding of what people want than someone who is new to the industry.
2. Be On the Same Page Regarding The Scope of Work
Be clear about your expectations before you go out to look for a children’s book illustrator. It doesn’t matter how skilled or experienced an illustrator is, he or she would require notes from you to prepare impressive illustrations.
Work on your part should be clear. Be sure of the illustration style and number. Do not start with a vague description since the timeline and budget largely depend on what you need and in what quantities.
A vague description such as "A picture of a boy singing" isn't ideal because it leaves the illustrator with a lot of questions about the boy such as the boy's age, the boy's hair color, the boy's clothing or even the background the boy is in. This might lead to a lot of back and forth since the illustrator is going to illustrate according to his/ her vision which might contradict the author's specific vision of the character. Eventually, you'll end up wasting time and money since some illustrators charge an extra fee for numerous changes made on the illustrations.
The illustrator might want to see your previously published books or content to have a better understanding of what you require. Ensure you can present whatever is requested so that there are no hiccups during the journey.
3. Communicate The Timeline Very Clearly
Make sure to clearly communicate your deadline. We often suggest self publishing authors to break the project into milestones to make it easier for them.
For example, if there are 40 illustrations to be completed in two months, you can ask the illustrator to post about 5 per week so you have enough time to check the previous batch before they start with the next one.
This will help save time, give you a clear understanding of the illustrator’s capabilities, and reduce the risk of revisions or changes.
4. Know How to Finalize Contractual Details
This is one of the most important and trickiest parts of hiring a children’s book illustrator.
Some self publishing authors like to pay royalties, some hire freelance illustrators and pay a lump sum, and some decide to pay a fixed rate based on sales.
The agreement should be based on your expectations and requirements. Make sure the contract mentions everything from royalties, cancellation from both parties, and rights to publish.
The demand for children’s books is pretty high. The US children's book publishing industry is worth $2 billion growing at a rate of 2.6 percent. Now is the time to make a mark.
In case you want to work with us, click here. We're ready to help with your children's book illustration.