by Kim Sponaugle
So let’s say that you really don’t know where to begin to find an artist to illustrate your children’s book. Whether you hire an artist directly or the publisher provides one for you, it’s good to have a solid idea of the “feel” you are looking for. You can research several websites such as or to aid in the selection process. You can browse through pages of artists, view their illustrations and build a file of what you like. This file can give the artist a good idea of the style and feel you are looking for. You can email artists directly for information regarding a quote.

Here is a list of things to remember:
1. Have a budget idea for your project even while you are asking for a quote.
2. Hire a professional or someone who has some experience in book illustration. If you are new to book publishing, it’s best to work with an experienced illustrator—ultimately, it can be less stressful, and with the right match you will find it is worth every penny!
3. Contact authors the artist has worked with, if you can—this is a great way to see if it has been a good experience for them and will be for you.
4. A contract is important. Always request a contract. It protects and clarifies both the author’s and artist’s obligations to the project.
5. Be flexible, willing to negotiate. Most artists are fair folks and are willing to work with you if the price is reasonable. If not, there are many other fish in the sea!
6. Ask if the artist would be willing to sketch a main character to see if they are a match. Many artists that are interested in your project will be willing to do this for you—for free.
7. Keep an open mind regarding creativity. The artist needs some “room” to illuminate your words. Be patient. Wonderful things can happen!
8. Share your ideas, but leave room for artistic license. There is a balance between the word and image. It’s now time to leave your “baby” in the artist’s capable hands.
9. Avoid calling the artist “my illustrator.” Remember the book’s completion is a team effort and, to make your book the best it can be, there needs to be mutual respect.
10. Take your time when searching. Do not let passion for your book project cause you to make hasty and “costly” decisions.
Enjoy watching it all come together!
Below are just a few of Kim’s picture book collaborations:
An Angel’s First Job
Jamie’s Dream
Grandma Kathy Has Cancer


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