When I set out to turn Cowgirl Lessons into a children’s book, the biggest hurdle I had to overcome was finding an illustrator. I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap and I also knew my pocketbook was not filled with endless funds. My other concern was quality. I wanted a final product that I could be proud of.
I started my search online. There are a lot of amazing illustrators out there and for the most part, they were all ones I could not afford. However, I still did not want to sacrifice quality. Instead I realized I would need to possibly think outside the box about finding an illustrator. Below are some options, all of which have real potential. There are pros and cons to every option and it pays to do your research.
- Web searches
- Art Students
- Freelance Service Websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr
- Facebook Groups such as Indie Children’s Books Authors and Illustrators, Self-Published Children’s Books Authors and Illustrators, and Great Storybook – Authors and Illustrators of Children’s Books and YA
- Associations such as Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
- Word of mouth
Art students are a good option. Search online for local art schools and consider advertising in their newsletters, bulletin boards, or reaching out to teachers. Also think about art students from high schools or elementary schools. Just remember, there are other considerations when working with students under the age of 18. Check out Jewel Thomas, she has three fabulously fun books, that were all illustrated by students.
Freelance Service Websites
Services such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr work by offering freelance services for all different types of projects such as graphic design, illustration, writing, editing, etc. Each freelancer has a page that showcases their services and packages of services, provides samples, and customer reviews giving us, the contractor, the opportunity to review their work. The website acts as an intermediary between the freelancer and the contractor. The consumer pays the website for the service, and the website pays the freelancer once the job is approved and delivered.
I’ve heard good and bad things about working with a service such as this. While there is still definitely a risk, there is potential for huge success. In my next post, I’ll talk about my positive experience with Fiverr.
Word of Mouth
Ask around for referrals. You never know what you will find by just asking the question. I am working with an author, Dink Rife, with some of her book publishing needs. I asked her illustrator, Kristianna Twyeffort of Peachy Keen Designs, how they got connected. Turns out, Mrs. Rife walked into a local printer and asked if they happened to know anyone who is an illustrator. The rest is history! I can’t wait to see the finished book.
Whichever route you decide, make sure you have some sort of contract in place to retain the commercial rights to the illustrations.