Working with illustrators for your book

Working with illustrators for your book

Illustrators are a very important part of the book publishing process, especially when it comes to genres that require internal illustrations, such as children’s books and text books. Certain genres of book also benefit from having custom illustrations on the front cover, even if the interior contains no images.

Not only will you need to choose what kind of imagery you need in your illustrations, you also need to choose an illustrator based on the style of their work. Some illustrators can work with multiple mediums or even adapt their style based on your needs. Others have a very particular way of depicting imagery, preferred mediums such as digital painting, water colour, pen and ink etc.

When it comes to choosing an illustrator for your book, work out the answers to the following questions first:

  • How do you want your book to look? For example, you may like the cartoon look, heavy sketches, or fine detailed drawings.
  • What emotions do you want to evoke in the viewer?
  • Is this illustration intended to help tell the story, sell the story or both?
  • How much detail are you able to give to the illustrator in your brief?
  • How much free reign and creative input do you want the illustrator to have?
  • Do you know exactly what instructions to give your illustrator (for example what height and width, bleed, trim, gutter and margins they should be using)?
  • What can you afford?

The first step to working out what you want your illustration style to be is to look through some books in the genre or browse some illustrator portfolios. PublishMyBook.Online employes illustrators and works with freelancers, so if you would like us to coordinate your illustrations for you, please contact us to discuss the brief. Some of our illustrations are shown on this page. We can also coordinate the illustrations with your preferred illustrator.

Once you have determined the style of your illustrations, you can source an illustrator who can meet your time requirements and budget. In order to explore the budget aspect you will need to provide your illustrator with an illustration brief. The illustration brief includes an overview of what the book is about, the target audience, as well as the style, medium, colour, and format of the artwork.

Include examples that depict the illustration style; this will be helpful to the illustrator. The second element of the illustrator’s brief is providing details about each illustration. This is achieved in different ways for different kinds of books, so if you’re not sure how to go about it, please engage one of our friendly publishing consultants to assist you.

Book cover illustrations

To work with an illustrator on your perfect book cover, you will need to:

  1. decide on the size of the book, as the artist will need to know exactly what height and width to create the artwork at.
  2. work out the size of the artwork as it will be costly to change this later

    If you would like your illustration to include enough background to cover the back and spine of your book, here’s how to work out the final size for your artist:
    1. double the width (to get the back and the front)
    2. add a guess at the spine thickness, as your publisher will not know this till the book is laid out on the correct page size by their typesetters
    3. add 10mm to the height and width for bleed, as most printers require 5mm bleed and you have to account in the artwork for bleed on all four sides.

The team at PMBO have extensive experience working with illustrators on publishing projects. Contact us today to learn more about how we can manage your entire project.

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