Why hire a book illustrator?
Getting a professional illustrator to create high-quality visuals for your book can really help it stand out. Whether you’re interested in an illustrated book cover design or a full set of illustrations, a professional book illustrator can provide eye-catching, genre-indicative artwork to set you apart from the crowd. Indeed, this just might be your key to attracting readers and turning your book into a beautiful bestseller!
How to find the right book illustrator for you
Your requirements for an illustrator will naturally depend on the type of illustration you want. An illustrator might specialize in cover or interior illustrations, or they might be willing to create both. The best way to find the right illustrator for you is simply to look at various artists’ samples. This way, if you already have a certain style in mind, you can compare your vision to concrete work. Alternatively, if you have no clue what you want your illustrations to look like, looking at samples should help you get a handle on it. If that sounds like you, head over to our page of book illustration examples to check out 25 illustration styles (including some of our Reedsy professionals)!
What else should you look for?
Style is far from the only factor to consider as you’re selecting an illustrator. You’ll also want someone with experience in your genre, particularly if you’re only getting a cover illustration. Book covers tend to follow very specific trends — for example, thrillers usually have dark, ominous-looking covers. (Take a look at this book cover art gallery to see what we mean.) So if your book belongs to a genre with a distinct cover “aesthetic,” you should definitely look for an illustrator who knows how to match that aesthetic. Finally, you’ll need someone compatible with your budget and expectations. These conditions will be unique to you as an author, and may take awhile to meet. But the more research you do, the closer you’ll get to the illustrator of your dreams! To check out the full range of illustrators on Reedsy, just filter the marketplace by “illustration” and take a look for yourself.
Finding a great children’s book illustrator
If you’re thinking of writing a children’s book, you’re probably going to want an illustrator — and if you’re writing a children’s picture book, it’s absolutely essential. Since your target audience will focus mainly on the visuals of your work, you’ll need an illustrator who’s not just on board with your concept, but who goes above and beyond to bring it to life. Here are a few extra tips on how to find a great illustrator for your children’s book:
- Think about the kind of illustrations you enjoyed as a child. What made them so appealing? Would that style suit your own story? If so, seek out illustrators with similar-looking samples.
- Even if you’ve looked over their previous work, always request a couple of initial pieces before commissioning an illustrator for your picture book. This could save you from spending your entire budget on an illustrator who looks good on paper, but isn’t right for your project.
- Don’t compromise on quality, especially for a picture book. You don’t want sloppy illustrations splashed all over the pages of your beloved story!
How much will it cost?
A professionally illustrated book cover will cost, on average, somewhere between $500-$1,500. A fully illustrated book, as you’d expect, is much more expensive — more like $2,000-$10,000, depending on the scope and complexity of the illustrations. For example, if you just want small illustrations to appear every so often in your novel (think Mary GrandPré’s chapter sketches in the Harry Potter books), you can expect a price toward the lower end of that range. But a picture book with 30 full-page color illustrations will, naturally, be on the higher end. Pricing also varies based on the illustrator’s experience: a relative newcomer will typically be less expensive than a longtime veteran of the industry. If you have a limited budget for your illustrations, you might consider seeking out an illustrator who’s still early in their career, and therefore less likely to cost a lot of money.
Does your book need to be illustrated?
Most novels and non-fiction books targeted toward adults won’t suffer for not having interior illustrations. However, they can be a nice addition and may add some design flair that you didn’t even know you wanted! So keep in mind that, even if your book doesn’t necessarily need illustrations, having a skilled illustrator create images to accompany your story can definitely take it to the next level.