How to Find an Illustrator
When self-publishing, you have full creative control over your book. This is, for the most part, AWESOME; however, the downside is that it can be challenging to figure everything out, especially when you're brand new to the industry and you're learning how to do everything as you go.
Finding an illustrator is one of the most important and challenging parts of self-publishing, but I wrote this post in hopes of making this process easier for those of you who are interested in self-publishing a picture book.
This is how I found Braden Hallett. You can see two of my favorite art pieces by him.
Step One: Set a Budget
Think about how much you are willing to spend on an illustrator. They range from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand. Really, really, really experienced children's book illustrators can actually be over $10,000 for a 32 page picture book (not including the cover). It's quite insane how expensive it can be, which is why it is important for you to set a budget for yourself from the get go. Illustrators will always ask you for more. You need to be ready to decide whether or not you are willing to exceed your budget.
Step Two: Think of an Art Style
Have an art style that you'd like for your book in mind to help with narrowing down your search when you are searching through databases of illustrators.
Step Three: Begin Your Search
Fiverr and Upwork might be best if your budget is smaller, but seriously, do your research. This leads me to step four.
Step Four: Research the Illustrators Extensively
Do extensive googling and internet research on this person you are interested in working with. Look for any reviews you can find, look through their entire portfolio, look through their social media, etc. I know, it sounds a bit like internet stalking, but you are about to trust this person with your book. You want to vet them and make sure they are trustworthy. You also want to make sure that you love their art style and that you can trust them to carry out your vision for the book.
Step Five: Contact the Illustrators for a Quote and Availability
Once you find an illustrator you like, send them an email or fill out their contact form.
You can write something like this:
Hello ____! I saw your work on ____ and I love it! My name is ____. I am an author seeking an illustrator for my ____ page picture book. I was wondering what your availability is and what your quote would be for a project like this?
Step Six: Decide and Contract
After corresponding with the illustrator or their agent, decide whether or not you want to work with them. You can always ask to have a video call or a phone call to see if you click with this person.
If you do, draft up a contract or ask them for a contract. You may want to have a lawyer look at it since it is a legal document.
I googled a bunch of sample contracts, and then I tweaked them to make sure they fit what I wanted. It worked out for me, but I don't recommend doing that. In fact, don't do what I did. Have someone who knows what they're doing write your contract.
Step Seven: Meet your Illustrator and Get to Work!
Now the fun can begin! Enjoy the process. Don't be afraid to share what you're looking for with your illustrator, but give them room to be creative and have fun! Trust them :) You may be surprised with what they are able to come up with.
GOOD LUCK! I hope this post was informative and helpful to all of you.