The digital age has brought forth a plethora of tools and software that allow illustrators to work with ease. The development has also shed light on the creative process and the importance of storytelling in shaping young minds.
Illustrations are a significant part of children’s books. In fact, not many children get captivated or can remember the narratives of all the books they have read. However, the illustrations stick on longer.
As such, many people want to get actively involved in educating the future generation but do not know where to start. Note that teaching, writing children’s books and exploring opportunities for children’s book illustrator is not for everyone, so we must look beyond traditional educational involvements.
Steps to Being a Children’s Book Illustrator
The primary duty of a children’s book illustrator is to create the imagery for children’s books. Their artistic expressions depict the storyline, making the young minds understand what they are reading. So, for those aspiring to embark on the adventure, the journey begins with honing artistic skills.
Although formal education in illustration or fine arts can provide valuable training, many successful illustrators are self-taught. In this regard, we have collaborated with professional children’s book illustrators on job aggregator Jooble to discuss how to explore the profession.
- Research the Career and Market
The first step to breaking even in an illustrating career is adequate knowledge. Research the industries’ requirements and advantages. Know what steps to becoming an excellent book illustrator and research ways to get jobs.
Furthermore, familiarise yourself with the income ranges and how long it takes to complete a book. It will help if you learn the different styles and categories of books and the skills you need to thrive in the profession.
- Get the Necessary Skills
The next step after getting information is to get the required knowledge. You can consider getting a degree or associate degree in fine arts. Although this is not always required for employment, it can arm you with adequate knowledge. It can also increase your chance of getting hired and give you better pay bargaining power.
Also, learn the technical skills you need to successfully be a children’s book illustrator. Learn illustration and graphics design. Also, enhance your drawing skills and familiarise yourself with tools like Procreate, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator.
- Develop a Personal Style
Continue practising consistently and develop a unique style that distinguishes you from other illustrators. Explore different illustration styles, design tools and colour palettes to create unique aesthetics. Follow trends and explore them. Also, check out previously published illustrated children’s books to learn from.
- Create a Portfolio
Select a range of projects to communicate your versatility. You can put your portfolio in a folder that is available to prospective employers on request. You can also create a website for your folder. It is advisable that you display some of your works on social media to catch the attention of a larger audience.
- Get a Job
Don’t forget the reason you’re taking all the steps above — to make money. As such, you must explore the market for a relevant job opportunity. You can get a job in a publishing company, collaborate with an author or consider freelance remote vacancies for book illustrator jobs. Meanwhile, working in a publishing company makes you one of their staff and can guarantee you job security.
Freelance jobs, on the other hand, allow you to be flexible, and you can work for many people simultaneously. Collaborating with an author makes you entitled to a royalty, usually 3.5% to 6% of the book earnings. You can also consider self-publishing.
Children’s book illustrator jobs are exciting, with the average annual salary close to £60,000 annually. Top earners make almost £100,000 annually, and there is a reasonable projection for the career’s growth.
The US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts fine arts employment, among which there are book illustrators, will grow to 17% between 2020 and 2030. They also expect a CAGR of 9% for writing and authoring employment. What are you waiting for? Now is the time to harness your artistic talent and make some cash with it!