Getting Started as a Children's Book Illustrator

Becoming a children's book illustrator is no easy task. No matter how talented you are, there are literally thousands of other talented illustrators out there looking for the same break you are. So how do you stand out from the crowd and be noticed?

Working as a children's book illustrator is a dream for many artists. Making beloved stories come to life through art is a noble calling, but with so many other talented illustrators looking for the same break, how can you make your submissions stand out?

One question that you need to ask, right from the start is: Is your work good enough? This can be a tough question to ask yourself and an even more difficult question to pose to your friends and family, who may be inclined to tell you what you want to hear rather than the truth about your work.

The best way to learn if your work is up to snuff is to ask a professional already working in the field. If this is not possible, however, you can also get some honest feedback by asking children, preferably ones that you don't know. Children are well known for their sometimes brutal honesty.

The most important part of getting that crucial break, and getting a job, as an illustrator of children's books is to do your homework. Research what editors and, more importantly, children want. Visit bookstores and libraries, read the books yourself, look at the pictures and ask what books are the most popular among children in the genre of the books you want to illustrate.

Building a large portfolio is a beginning to getting noticed. By setting up an eye-catching portfolio of your work and defining your unique style, you can bring your illustrations alive with a talent and style all of your own. Then you may have a good chance of inspiring an editor and getting that crucial foot in the door. Make sure that you place as much work in a portfolio as you can so that you have a large variety of pieces to offer and rearrange as needed.

Comparing your work with other illustrators is another way to hone your technique. But remember that you will need to have your own style that sets you apart from the rest. Often you can research the type of genre of children's books that you want to illustrate or the types of illustrations that certain editing companies are looking for and do your unique version of the style they often publish.

Submitting work to publishers is another essential step. Once again, remember that each publisher will be different, so research what they like and tailor your portfolio to each publisher. Make as many new samples as possible and don't give up. Perseverance is the best way to get noticed. Keep your eye out for an author that displays the same style and talent as you. Samples and portfolios are so much more effective if they are illustrated in addition to containing storylines.


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