Finding the right book illustrator is crucial to the success of your book. But how do you find the right book illustrator for your project? There are many aspiring illustrators looking for their big break. Do you hire an aspiring artist or do you go with a trusted and experienced book illustrator with proven success? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Do You Need a Book Illustrator?

As an author you need to first decide if going through the process of creating illustrations creates value for your reader. If you are writing a children’s book it will be necessary to find a good book illustrator. If you are creating a novel, it might not be necessary to have illustrations. Let the feedback from your focus groups guide your decision.
Bassam & Kite

book illustrationsThe Appeal

With Bassam and the Seven Secret Scrolls, a historical fiction novel by Paul B. Skousen, it became very apparent from the focus group feedback that they wanted to see a map of Bassam’s adventure. To narrow the focus Paul worked with Izzard Ink’s team to find a book illustrator that specialized in cartography.

One of Paul’s requests was a few illustrations that would help the book appeal to more readers. Izzard Ink kept this in mind and found a handful of proven book illustrators with big 5 book publishing experience.


We have heard so many stories of authors hiring friends to create their illustrations. This method rarely works—readers are very keen to the obvious differences between professionalism and amateurs, and the wrong choice can kill a book. That is why finding a book illustrator with broad experience is key.

While Paul was reviewing all of the potential book illustrators he was drawn to a particular artist that had more than 30 years’ experience drawing maps. Experienced artists are much better equipped to guide authors through the illustration process and steer new authors toward the best use of illustrations that don’t give away too much of a story, or toward the most efficient use of their illustration budgets.

The Process

Making sure the author and book illustrator are on the same page is critical. Under the guidance of Izzard Ink, Paul spent the time collecting the necessary information from Bassam and the Seven Secret Scrolls so the map could be drawn correctly. By making sure the book illustrator had all the research it cut down on the total cost.

Paul also decided that it would improve the readability of his book by having a few scenes depicted. The same process of making sure the artist had all the necessary background helped make for a flawless process. The artist also got approval from the author on a rough sketch to make sure they shared the same vision before producing final artwork.


Finding an experienced book illustrator can be expensive. Authors can expect to pay about $800+ for a black and while illustration from a very experience artist. This rate can vary depending on the scope of the project. Adding color will add to the expense as it takes more time—an experienced illustrator can help an author work through the pros and cons of color for any particular book.

With Paul Skousen, Izzard Ink negotiated with the illustrator an arrangement that Paul would not have to pay a royalty to the illustrator for each book sold, and Paul would own the copyright. That arrangement did increase the initial price but made for a much smoother process.

By working with Izzard Ink to create your book illustrations we can help you find the right artist for you and your book. We also guide you through the process to help your book become successful. Contact Izzard Ink today to get more information about if a book illustrator is a good fit for your project.

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  1. Pingback: How to Write a Children's Book - Izzard Ink Book Publishing

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