The universe seems to keep asking me this question a lot lately, so I thought I’d put together my various answers on the following question:
“How do I find an illustrator for my book project?”
…in one place so you all may get to the fun part – actually writing and producing your book – because the universe needs your book!
(BTW, if you’d like the audio version of this post, check out this wave from Anchor I did a couple of weeks ago on this same subject here…and below:)
First, a few issues before shopping for that illustrator to consider:
1. Make sure you include the illustrator in the production of your book–the earlier, the better.
2. The range of prices of illustrators can vary. Widely. They can charge by page, time, (or both) by the project, or even by character. Do you need a cover, or a full blown book page by page illustrated? Have a frank conversation on specs with your potential illustrator(s) so everyone is on the same “page” when it comes to production of the book. (Get it? Page? I like that one. I digress…)
3. Make sure you get it in writing – be clear on who is doing what, by when, and for how much, paid by when. Who owns it? Get a lawyer if it’s your first time. Be smart and transparent.
Now, on to the ideas for finding an illustrator!
1. Your mailbox – I am 100% serious with this one. If you start paying attention to the art that is hitting your mailbox, you might be pleasantly surprised. There are lots of local graphic designers that do a great job with your local charity’s gala, fundraiser, or event. Who is the illustrator behind that awesome soiree you just got invited to? Ask around. Shop local. Local artists are the best anyway, because you can meet with them eyeball to eyeball to gauge how interested they are in working with you on your project–and conversations are about 92% nonverbal anyway–so meet with those prospective illustrators in your very own backyard to find someone local who will rock it with you! See if there’s a local chapter of AIGA…that’s where the designers hang.
2. Other books – Good artists copy. Great artists steal. (Who said that? Picasso?) If you are an artist (and you are if you’re a writer), then why not shop the best book cover artists out there and see if they might be willing to work with you? I even use Pinterest to collect my favorite art for book covers.
3. 99 Designs – Don’t have a local tribe of artists? Well then, step right up into 99 Designs and find thousands of them, who will work hard to get your business!
4. Fiverr – Dare I say a cheaper version of 99 Designs? Yes, that may be a controversial way to put it, but like it or not–I am a fan of commerce, so it’s another portal where you can discover artists–and let’s face it, illustrating can get expensive fast.
5. Your network – Here’s a place where your network could actually help you! Who do you know who knows graphic designers/artists/illustrators? ASK! Check around. Even LinkedIn is getting into the freelancing networking community, which hopefully will be awesome. One more place to shop for talented freelancers to collaborate with – yay!
6. Publishers Weekly – a good general site on the publishing industry.
7. Your local art school or university – there are a lot of college students looking for cash. Why not help them out by helping them get their talents into the universe by taking a chance on them?
So there you go. Get busy on that book. And, while you’re writing it, shop the universe for an illustrator. Whether it is a basic front cover you need for your ebook, all the way through to a page by page illustrated children’s book, there are great designers out there just waiting to work with you…to bring that book to life, and inspire another generation of creatives yet to come!