Here is info for my clients. This information will help you with your project and make you path much easier when working with illustrators, designers and printers. 

Here are some questions you need to have the answers for:

- Is it full color?

- Is there a detailed background/environment? (e.g. something like a workshop with lots of tools or a hospital operating room, could take a lot of time to include necessary details.) 

- Are there several characters to be developed? 

- Are the characters human, animals or other things?

- Are there items in the illustrations that might need special research? (e.g. special settings that need to look like a place, people who need to look like certain people, objects that demand special attention (like a specific kinds of cars, a certain kind of house, or certain clothing ... etc.)

- It helps to know if the book is for a specific age group.

- Do you need help laying out the book.

- Do you want full rights to the art.

- What is your deadline?

Hiring an illustrator:

When you are ready to hire an artist, make sure that you have all the information about the book, things like size, color or b&w, specs from the printer…. etc. This will save you and your artist a lot of time and hassle… and money from you. 

 

- You want an illustrator that can illustrate not only your story but bring it to life. 

 

- Every illustrator has a style. (or two) As you look at illustrators you will see certain themes coming through. But if you like their work, I would suggest paying for a sketch of one of your illustrations. Remember to explain your idea thoroughly so they can best sketch the ideas you are looking for. Remember too, although it is important that you like the work, that is really not the MOST important thing. You WILL have an audience with a variety of taste. Don’t limit yourself to only what you like but try to look at things critically. Bear in mind, illustration for children is different in many ways, e.g. the shape of things, the human figure, the depiction of animals may be distorted… etc. Choose an artist that exhibits the kind of creativity you want for your book.  

 

- It is best to design your book to a specific age group… esp. if you are looking for a publisher. They usually work that way. This will define the illustration style you want also. 

 

- As much as the writer wants control, be flexible to listen to the illustrator on ideas they may have. If they are experienced in illustration, you will gain from their experience. Lucky you!

 

Thanks for the comment. Still trying to figure out what I am doing. Nice to hear feedback.

Other considerations:

 

- If you look at some picture books, you will notice that there may be a main focus in the art but little environment. Although, where the character is and the world she is in makes a big difference in representing the story and the art itself. The issue many times is budget, so some artists need to conform to budget constraints by putting less detail (and hours) into the work. 

 

Note: For the most part, most illustrators, I know (myself included) give clients much more than the client pays for. This is mostly because we are perfectionists, and want our work to be a good representation of what we can do. 

 

- If you are a novice to printing, bear in mind that a full-color book is much more expensive than a book done in one color. Sometimes this is an option. 

 

- In my case (as with many artists) I can also offer graphic design as part of the package. Unless you know layout and design (and the print industry) this can be a plus, and save you money. This also means I can do promotion and/or companion  pieces. It is one stop shopping. This saves time, confusion in processes, and money.

 

- - Some artists may agree to payments on a project, or need intermittent payments, if it is a long term project. Most artists will ask for, for lack of the right term, a retainer, or commission fee. This is done so the artist can be assured of payment and helps the artist purchase necessary media for the job. It is standard to pay your artist 25% of the total upon seeing and approving his sketches. After that, payment can be broken down into payment for specific milestones in the work, e.g. 50% after final drawings are approved and then the final 25% when you receive the final art and rights. The agreement of price for the illustrations and payment should be made in writing before beginning the project. 

 

- There will be the allowance of changes in the art but these will usually be limited and will be constrained by the deadlines. Make sure you have concise instructions (including format and printing parameters) and leave no stone unturned in your explanation of your vision. 

 

- Rule of thumb: Know how much time the artist will need (then add some) before setting press dates. 

 

- There will most likely be a 3-step process in producing the art: 1- very rough sketches to see that the artist and writer are on the same page.  2- Finished sketches that will be a fairly detailed view of where everything will be and what the characters will look like. (This is where you want to discuss the final revision) 3- Final illustrations. You do not want to wait until the final illustrations are done. Ask your questions after seeing sketches and ask for clarification or revised sketches. Depending on how the artist produces the work, it may add many hours of work to change things at the end. Artist will limit you amount of change before you are going to be charged for changes. It is only fair to the artist to pay them for their time when doing many changes. 

 

As a writer you know how much time it takes to put a few words on a page. With this in mind, remember it may easily take an illustrator 100s of hours to illustrate a book. Most illustrators charge from $50/hour and up (depending on their skill level and experience.)  So, it might be best to have a budget in mind and talk with your illustrator (upfront) about ways to meet your budget. You may want to work out a package price for the book, in which you pay one price for all the illustrations. (See “Copy rights” below.)

 

  • - In my case (as with many artists) I can also offer graphic design as part of the package. Unless you know layout and design (and the print industry) this can be a plus, and save you money. This also means I can do promotion and/or companion  pieces. It is one stop shopping. This saves time, confusion in processes, and money.

  • - - Some artists may agree to payments on a project, or need intermittent payments, if it is a long term project. Most artists will ask for, for lack of the right term, a retainer, or commission fee. This is done so the artist can be assured of payment and helps the artist purchase necessary media for the job. It is standard to pay your artist 25% of the total upon seeing and approving his sketches. After that, payment can be broken down into payment for specific milestones in the work, e.g. 50% after final drawings are approved and then the final 25% when you receive the final art and rights. The agreement of price for the illustrations and payment should be made in writing before beginning the project. 

  • - There will be the allowance of changes in the art but these will usually be limited and will be constrained by the deadlines. Make sure you have concise instructions (including format and printing parameters) and leave no stone unturned in your explanation of your vision. 

  • - Rule of thumb: Know how much time the artist will need (then add some) before setting press dates. 

  • - There will most likely be a 3-step process in producing the art: 1- very rough sketches to see that the artist and writer are on the same page.  2- Finished sketches that will be a fairly detailed view of where everything will be and what the characters will look like. (This is where you want to discuss the final revision) 3- Final illustrations. You do not want to wait until the final illustrations are done. Ask your questions after seeing sketches and ask for clarification or revised sketches. Depending on how the artist produces the work, it may add many hours of work to change things at the end. Artists will limit your amount of change before you are going to be charged for changes. It is only fair to the artist to pay them for their time when doing many changes. 

 

Don’t forget the cover art. This is the most important piece you can hire out. It is what convinces the buyer to purchase the book. It is your first impression and tells the story in a quick glance. This will be your most expensive piece of art.

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