Questions to Consider Before Working With a Illustrator on Your Children’s Book

June 24, 2013by NormProcessThoughts0

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  1. Is this your first Children’s Book? If it is then the illustrator might not only have to be the Illustrator but the teacher and possibly the designer of the book as well. In most instances very few have taken the proper steps to educate themselves about the process and kind of work that goes into making a children’s book. Many people pick up a children’s book, read it and say to themselves that they could do this and seek out an Illustrator skipping all the other information gathering that they need to do.
  2. I would like to see the script for your story. You can send a NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) pre-emptively if you feel compelled to do so. The illustrator needs to read the book before they decide to draw it. For one, it may not be a good fit for the illustrator and this is good to know upfront. Also, the illustrator needs to see how complicated the images may be to determine how much to charge.
  3. How many pages will your book be? (Please include the cover, back cover, copyright page, and title page in that number.) This is integral to coming up with a price since it will let you know about how many illustrations the illustrator is being hire to create.
  4. What age range is your book intended for? The age range should give you an idea of how simple, complex and bright the images should be considering the age range. The younger the audience the simpler and brighter the images should be.
  5. Do you have a budget in mind for this artwork? Rarely illustrators will get the answer to this question, but it never hurts to ask. If they do answer truthfully you may save yourself the trouble of reading the script if what they are budgeting is too low.
  6. Do you have an estimated date that you would want the artwork completed by? This is necessary to determine if their scheduling is realistic and will fit within the illustrators schedule.
  7. How do you plan on publishing and marketing the book? Does the client have a publisher already? If so, is it a vanity press or a smaller publisher or a larger one. If not, is the client just trying to put something together to shop their story to a publisher? This is a no no as well. Publishers don’t want book submissions from authors and illustrators who are not the same person. They want the ability to select the artist for particular stories themselves. If submitting a script all they need is to prepare it to the submission guidelines of that particular publisher and submit it. Illustrations aren’t necessary.
  8. What outlets will you be using to sell the book? Where does the client intend to sell the books; Bookstores, Online, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles? Again this is to help gauge their research and planning. What steps are they considering to make sure the book will be a success.
  9. What rights are you interested in purchasing from me? The rights sold by most publishers are usually limited to what they specifically need to reproduce the book alone, first time publishing rights. This may include e-book rights but not always. For example, if the publisher decided to create plush toys, a video game or a cartoon based on the creations they would need to renegotiate your contract and your financial compensation since they are creating something beyond the specific published book you created. The illustrator generally retains the copyright of the artwork they create in these situations. Normally the clients soliciting you asks to buy all rights, which means they own the artwork copyright and everything and can essentially do whatever they like with or without the illustrators permission.
  10. Will you be hiring a designer as well, or will it be necessary for me to perform those duties? Illustrators don’t typically do the layout, type or book design. If the illustrator is asked to take on these responsibilities the client will normally be charged more.

This information was a adapted from a post by Wilson Wiliams Jr. over on Once Upon a Sketch. Wilson was a good friend of mine (Sadly he passed away) and you should go to his website and check out his work.

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