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Self-publishing Tips

Book Illustration Services. Tips for Authors

By October 22, 2022October 25th, 2022No Comments
Book Illustration Services

Obtaining high quality illustrations is a critical part of publishing children’s books, comics, and graphic novels. Knowing how to find the right book illustration services for your story is an important step in making your book as appealing as possible to readers. While some authors are also talented illustrators, most authors will benefit from finding an experienced artist that can help bring their story to life.

Finish the children’s book

It’s tempting with a children’s book to dive right into illustrations, but doing so before a children’s book manuscript is ready is often a recipe for disaster. Before starting illustrations, make sure a children’s book editor has reviewed the manuscript. The editor’s job is to find plot holes and other problems with a story and offer ways to fix them.

A children’s book editor cannot suggest making any substantial story edits, because each change will mean illustration revision, and more money spent. So in order not to spend money to create illustrations that can’t be used just hold off for a while. Before looking for book illustration services, find a children’s book editor and make sure the manuscript is locked and perfect. Once it is you can start thinking about illustrations.

Stock or Custom illustrations?

There are different ways of getting illustrations, including doing one yourself, but illustrations are memorable, which can be a good or bad thing. If you make a hash of your attempt, the results will be poor. Alternatively, you can look at professional book illustration services, one way is to search online for stock illustrations. These are ready-made illustrations that you choose and can sometimes edit to fit with your brand or situation. The problem with stock illustrations is that they are exactly that, stock. Sitting waiting for buyers from all over the world. Anybody can buy them and use them.

If you want something guaranteed as unique to you, and something that you can have input into the creation of without actually doing the design then the way to go is to choose the route of custom illustrations.

Choose your style

Good illustration should match the style of your book and enhance your story. You will need a good idea of what you want your book illustrations to look like–share styles, images, ideas, and your vision with your artist.

The illustrators in our team draw in different styles and we can help you pick the right style for your book.

A good place to start is looking at examples of existing illustrations to see what might suit your book. Some styles are more cartoonish while others are more realistic.

With so many options at your fingertips, the question is not where to find illustrators, but how to choose. It’s important to know what you’re looking for. This may seem backward—you’re not an artist, how can you know what kind of art will work for your book? But knowing what you like will focus your search and ensure you get the results you want.

Paint, pencil, pen—each medium has a different look and feel. Browse your local library to see if you’re drawn to any specific medium.

Book Illustration Services

Make your storyboard

If you have a clear idea of what you want to see in your book illustrations take the time to come up with clear art notes. Make sure to include whether the art should be full-bleed or spot illustrations. Many authors find it useful to create a rough storyboard outlining page turns and art size. Think about what’s really happening on the page.

Going through this process will not only help you refine your manuscript, but it will also help you figure out how many pieces of art you need (which you will have to know to get an illustration quote).

Pick a children’s book size

Book trim size is one of the most important things to decide before illustrating a book. Without knowing book dimensions, an author runs the very real risk of getting back art that does not fit the desired page size. Before book illustrations begin, make sure you have found the exact trim size needed, including page bleed. (Page bleed is extra art drawn beyond the book trim size to ensure that there is no white space on a page if paper shifts during the book printing process).

Offset book printers can print to just about any trim size, but print on demand companies such as Amazon KDP don’t offer as many choices. Check the book size options they offer. If you plan to publish a children’s book through more than one print on demand company, try to choose a book trim size that is available on both platforms so that you don’t have to redesign (or reillustrate!) for each book edition.

How long will it take?

Different styles of illustration have different completion times. If your illustrations are more complex, plan on a longer turnaround time.

Expect the process to take a minimum of 3-4 months for a 32-page picture book. If you have a tight deadline, expect the overall cost to go up accordingly. The timeframe will be agreed on in the contract which will help keep the project on schedule. That’s why every deliverable—including your feedback and revisions—needs to be accounted for.

If you’d like your text integrated within your illustrations it may also need additional time.

While setting up the contract make sure you have discussed the project schedule. This should include the exact date for each deliverable, the payment schedule, and a plan for what will happen if a deliverable or payment is late. Don’t forget to encount feedback periods and the exact number of revision rounds expected.

Keys to a fruitful partnership

During the whole process try to be open to anything and work with the illustrator. Make your collaboration a true team effort. Maybe your character or scene doesn’t look how you imagined it. You can ask for revisions.

In fact, the artist might have an idea about how your character should look that you hadn’t considered, but is, in fact, more suitable for your piece. Keep this attitude in mind for the whole process of working with the illustrator – from the first to the last drawing. Try to be as concrete as possible. In constructive feedback, every detail you can give is helpful. Giving your illustrator constructive feedback early on will help guarantee you’re satisfied with the results.

Constructive feedback is important, but confidence and a degree of creative freedom will go a long way toward fruitful collaboration.