Over the last six months I have been approached by so many individuals and self-publishers that I feel a post about commissioning an illustrator is needed or better still a helpful commissioning guide. It is always a little daunting if its the first time you’ve approached an illustrator, but it doesn’t have to be with a little thought.
The first mistake many people make when approaching an illustrator with a view to commissioning them is not really thinking properly about what they want. A little research and planning can make life a lot easier for you and the illustrator. Simply saying, “I’d love to get my book published and I really like your work. I need 20 twenty illustrations, please. How much will that cost?” will not be enough. In a way that’s like asking your lovely, hardworking, local painter and decorator to paint your entire house, without actually mentioning how many rooms you have, what colour you want them to be and how big they are or the state their in to start with! The poor illustrator is left working completely blind and baffled (although immensely flattered too). The illustrator is then going to come back to you with a huge list of questions that will immediately have you running for the hills. Your first thoughts being, “Wow, if they want to know that much, they must quote huge fees.” Actually the opposite is often the case. The more an illustrator knows, the more accurate they can be when quoting for a commission. The less they know, the more likely they are to overcharge! So read on for my commissioning guide.
So to help all those people out there keen to get there books out there and illustrated I have created a page on my website (link above) that is a helpful guide to commissioning an illustrator and the sort of information you need to have ready to email to your chosen artist. Below are some helpful questions to guide you towards getting it right, a sort of commissioning guide.
Things I need to know:
- How many illustrations do you need?
- Are they black and white, or colour?
- What size are they? Do you want spreads (artwork that goes across both the left and right side of an open book). Do you want full pages (half a spread)? Do you want half-pages (roughly quarter of a spread)? Do you want spots? Spots are just small illustrations that may be dotted about on a page.
- Is it for just the country you live in or would you like it to cover the world?
- How big is your print run?
- Is it a storybook, picture book or maybe an educational book?
Hopefully I haven’t completely put you off and so if you would like to see more of my work, you can always try looking at my portfolio on the AOI website. And may I take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck with your project.