Getting Started as a Children's Book Illustrator
Becoming a childrenís 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?
One question that you need to ask, right from the start, is your work good enough? This can be a tough question to ask yourself and an even tougher question to ask 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 find out how your work stacks up is to ask children, preferably ones that you donít know. Children are well known for their honest opinions.
The most important part of getting that crucial break, and getting a job, as an illustrator of childrenís 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 own 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 childrenís books that you want to illustrate or the types of illustrations that certain editing companies are looking for and do your own version of the style they often publish.
Submitting work to publishers is another important step. Once again, remember that each publisher will be different, so research what they like and tailor your portfolio for each publisher. Make as many new samples as possible and donít 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 as well as containing story lines.