Children's Illustration

Illustrating a children's book is a timely and costly affair that can take several months to complete, or longer in some cases. I love to illustrate children's books but as it can take such a long time to perfect the images, I take these on a case by case basis depending on my availability, and whether I feel I would be a good fit for the project. Please note that I do not say this to put you off working with me, but because I get approached to create picture books fairly regularly by independent authors who aren't aware of the process. I put this page together to help people understand the timescales, the costs involved, and what you will need to know before even contacting me.

There are several pieces of information you will need to know before contacting an illustrator for your project. The most important pieces of information required are:

  • The target age group for the project,

  • The dimensions of the book (for example, will it be an A5 sized pocket book? A square sized book? There are many dimensions to consider that you will need to consider before hiring an illustrator as this can effect the illustrations themselves. If an illustrator makes an A5 sized image but you end up wanting a square book, you will run into problems!)

  • A rough idea of how many illustrations you would like. Picture books for younger audiences often have full page illustrations on every single page, whereas other books may have a handful of illustrations scattered throughout the book. 

  • An idea of your budget. 

Also note that many traditional publishers will not accept a manuscript with illustrations, as they often have in house illustrators and their own illustration specifications. If you want to traditionally publish your book, your best course of action is to start submitting your manuscript to a selection of publishers without illustrations. Hiring an illustrator is your best course of action if you would like to self publish your book, or are creating a book for personal use, or a gift.

If you would like to approach me about hiring me for a children's book project, please first look at my portfolio and consider whether my illustration style will fit with your story and then email me with the following information:

  • The target age group for the project

  • Whether this is a project you hope to publish traditionally, self publish, or whether this is a personal project for family and friends

  • How many illustrations you would like in the book

  • Rough dimensions of the book

  • A brief summary of the book. Note that some people are concerned with copyright, and if this is a concern for yourself I am happy to sign a non disclosure agreement before you give me any details of the project

Price Guide

Book Covers: £300-£600

Double page spread: £350
Full page: £200
3/4 page: £150
1/2 page: £130
1/4 page: £75
1/8 page: £40

Example of a Full Page Illustration

Half Page Illustration example

Illustration Process

As mentioned above, illustrating a children's book is a timely process. To make things easier, I have created a step by step process that we will follow if you decide to work with me. Note this list assumes we are working together, contracts have been signed, and deposits paid. I work on book illustration projects as a package, so the total cost of the finished book will be discussed and agreed upon before any work is started. The larger the illustrations required, (see above) the longer it will take to complete each step.

1. Thumbnailing all illustrations. This is a sketching process where we work out the very rough compositions of each illustration throughout the book. Timescale: from 2 weeks - 1 month

2. Finalising the sketching stage. Working from the thumbnail, I draw out more concrete sketches of each individual illustration. The most time consuming process and can take up to 3 months depending on the complexity and number of the illustrations.

3. Putting down values and flat colours. Working out a colour scheme for the project and layout out the flat colours that can be used as a base for more detail for future steps.

4. Shading and detail. This stage brings the flat colour illustrations to life, adding the finer details to the pieces. Steps 3 and 4 can take 2-3 months to complete depending on the level of detail and size of the illustration. 

Each step of the way I will be sharing work in progress (WIP) images so you can see what work is being done.

What happens next?

Once the illustrations have been completed, your next step is in putting your book together as a complete manuscript. This is not a service I currently offer however, there are tutorials online and services out there for people who will be able to put the manuscript together for you. 

Please let me know if you have any questions and if, after all of that, you would still like to reach out and hire me, please get in touch!

All images and text © 2020 by Piper Strange.

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