Illustrations are usually the most attractive element in any kind of book but they play different functions in different books. In some books, the illustrations are used to make the book more attractive and eye-catching while in others, it is used to add clarity to the written content. In story books the illustrations add to the entertainment value; in educational books they add to the instructional value.
In children’s books, illustrations play a dual role. They grab the attention of the young reader but also help the child to unravel the mysteries of the written word. Therefore an illustrator of children’s books has a huge role to play in ensuring that the book is a success. If you are planning on a career as an illustrator for children’s books, here are some guidelines which might help you to effectively kick-start your career.
Know your style
Children’s books are categorised into different age groups and it is important for you to choose the right target audience for your visuals. Consider your drawing style and the age group that you can best relate to. This will help you to choose the age category for which your work is best suited and for which you will enjoy creating illustrations.
Know the market
The children’s publishing industry is flooded with hundreds of companies, big and small. It is advisable to do some research and acquire knowledge about the market for which you are going to work. An effective way to do this would be to visit the bookstores and libraries in the city to get an idea of what is presently in vogue. Check the children’s book section for popular books and browse through the content. Also, note the names of the publishers of these in-demand books.
Choose the working style
There are many ways that you can gain employment as a book illustrator. You can work as an employee in a publishing company, as a freelancer, or a part-timer. You can even create the written content and do illustration for your own story. After deciding on the working style, what you need the most is a portfolio, especially if you aspire to work as a freelancer. A good portfolio is invaluable in attracting the attention of publishers and authors and is a great way to promote your work. Take time over portfolio creation because that can take you a long distance.
Choose the Companies
Search the internet and the market extensively for the names of publishing houses. Once you have the list ready, start contacting them in the most professional manner possible. Read up on the company guidelines (usually available on their website) and send samples of your work as per the instructions given.
Book illustration is a very competitive field to work in, but effective business strategies can help you to have a long and successful career in this field.