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  • Dorit Rabinovitch

THE JOYS - AND TRIALS - OF BOOK ILLUSTRATION



Some book authors know how to illustrate too. They are the fortunate ones because they are firmly in control of both the story and art; but most of the time an author needs to find a great artist whose art will capture readers' eyes and minds. Where to find such a pearl? These days you can find most everything and everyone online. If you're feeling lucky, just google for an adult or children's book artist. For sure you'll be overwhelmed with a sea of choices. Of course that way of choosing poses a gamble. After all, this is a stranger - a mystery; certainly extremely talented from the look of their portfolio, yet maybe inconsistent in the quality they deliver for a whole variety of reasons, late for a deadline, or (gasp) unable to follow your direction or at odds with it. One author told me the artist they'd hired on the cheap had created their artwork on cardboard! Perhaps it might be better to choose closer to home. If you can possibly find a likely local candidate you can meet with them over coffee and get an idea of their character and compatibility. Please choose an experienced artist so they can help you. Don't worry about expense. The veteran artist will give options that will offer compromises that both you and they should be happy with. After all, it was hard, head-scratching work to write your book. Don't slip and fall on entering the next phase.


At last you've found the jewel of an adult or children's book illustrator and portrait artist. They've read your manuscript; now to discuss the logistics of the artwork. Each and every professional undertaking needs a professional framework. The standard number of pages for a children's book would be thirty-two (although not a hard and fast rule), including the title, copyright and credits pages. A standard format for a children's book is 8" x 8" or 10" x 10". You do need to be able to tell the illustrator how many artwork pieces you want for your book. Normally most of the art would take up half a page, and text would fill the other half. Here and there you might like to have added some little spot art for variety and cuteness. If you have the budget you can add in a couple of full page illustrations. Perhaps if you have commissioned an inside double page spread you may also utilize that as the cover wrap-around. Here's one more thing: children's book illustration should ideally be created in full color. If you're on a tight budget then choose at least two colors.


A good and experienced artist will try to compromise on the commission price - within reason. Please don't expect them to work for a song or on spec (future royalties). The tighter your fist, the more mediocre the work; I guarantee it! For further info on children's book art please click to this page.

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