Illustration Options for the Author/publisher:

Let your publishing objectives help determine your art needs.  If you plan to market your book, get it into bookstores and generate sales, it should look like it belongs on the shelf with the competition. However, if this is primarily a personal project for distribution to friends and family, you may not wish to pay for professional illustration and options 1, 2 or 3 below might better fit your budget.

 there are vast resources of free art and photos available. Word processing and graphics software usually include hundreds of images, and a web search can locate hundreds of thousands more.

  • No illustration fees or copyright concerns.
  • Enormous amounts of images available in many styles.                           
  • Clip art is necessarily geared toward universal and seasonal themes and it can be difficult to find appropriate images.
  • Anyone else is free to use the same art you do.
  • The art is generic and commercial, usually better for ads than books.

2.  STOCK PHOTOS/ART: a web search will yield a multitude of stock art suppliers. They offer a wide range of quality images for fees that vary according to use.

  • High quality images covering a wide range of subjects.
  • Cost can be comparable to illustration fees.
  • It can be difficult to find the right art for your specific needs.

 if you (or someone in your circle) have drawing and graphic design skills, and are comfortable with professional graphics software, you can attempt to create your own illustrations.

  • Total control of the art including copyrights.
  • No illustration fees (or only token fees to the family artist).
  • Art can be amateurish and inconsistent.
  • A lot of frustrating time can be lost fussing with art.
  • Dissatisfaction with results.
4. PROFESSIONAL ILLUSTRATION: Skilled, experienced illustrators live and work in every city and many more are accessible on the web. Fees vary, but competent graphic artists are available for fees similar to those of other trades, like plumbers, electricians, mechanics, etc., and like them, an illustrator is unlikely to work on speculation. 

  • The artwork is original and created for your book only.
  • Authors participate in the creative process. They might provide research/reference material, OK preliminary drawings, and offer feedback before final work is produced.
  • The art is properly prepared to your printer's specs.
  • Work is completed on an agreed upon schedule.
  • Your book looks like a professional product and is more likely to attract readers and sales.
  • The more prestigious the illustrator the higher the fees.
  • Even non-famous artists must charge enough to earn a living, so the author should be prepared to pay realistic fees comparable to having the car repaired, a room redecorated, or a weekend at the spa.
  • Illustrators may include all rights to self-publishers, others retain some rights. Check each illustrator's web site for how they handle copyrights.


Illustration samples