Writing Children’s books always sounded exciting to me. Many of us want to write, but that’s only part of it. What about the illustrations? If you can’t draw then you will most likely need to find someone else to do the art work. Working with an Illustrator to bring your vision to light, there are a few things to keep in mind. These tips are for self-publishers as you are the one in control of how to get the illustrations into your book. Traditional publishing is different than ebooks, or self-published print books.
Here are 5 tips to successfully work with an illustrator/artist for your book.
1) Contract– Get a written contract! Put in the contract how much they get paid, when and if you want to see proofs, and how many, if any, revisions are included in the price. Also, if you are self-publishing make sure it’s spelled out if the Illustrator will be compensated from any sales, how their name will (or won’t be) included on the book cover and in the description.
2) Copyright-Typically copyright belongs to the person that created the work, however when it is work for hire this changes things. Get an unconditional release from the artist if you want to use the illustrations for other things, or want to legally have them transfer the copyright to you.
3) Communication– Be very clear what you want! It’s best to give the artist leeway in how they represent your vision. In order to have a successful relationship with the illustrator/artist I suggest that you talk everything out first. Tell them what it is you want, and more importantly listen to each other. Keep a copy of the communication and refer back to it if any issues arise.
4) A writer writes, and an Illustrator draws!– Don’t try to micromanage everything, ie: move the apple, change the time on the clock, give the character green eyes instead of blue, etc. This can cause a lot of frustration on everyone’s part, and depending on your contract you might not even be allowed more than a couple revisions. If you want to be able to see the rough draft, and make changes, make sure this is expressed in the beginning… not after work has already started!
5) When hiring an Illustrator/Artist- make sure the kind of drawings you want are the type they feel comfortable drawing. Not all artists like to draw the same things, just as not all writers are comfortable writing different ways.
If you follow these 5 tips to working with an Illustrator believe me your experience will be a much better one, and hopefully you will have a successful book that both of you are proud of!