Picture Book Art #2: Who Will Illustrate Your Book?
Priority: Great Art, NOT Price
This is day two of Picture Book Art, a series that discusses hiring and working with an illustrator for a picture book project. The series is available to paid subscribers. If you’re interested in learning more, this is a free article with great info.
Choosing Possible Artists
Artists display the range of art they produce in a portfolio, a collection of art pieces. I love looking at portfolios and can get lost in the process! When I start scrolling through portfolios, the only thing I focus on is the art. Is it appropriate for my story?
I’m looking for something that:
Stands out in today’s crowded market.
Fits the aesthetics of the story.
Creates a unique world through setting and character.
Uses interesting compositions.
Uses perspective well. If there are deliberate distortions of a figure, it’s consistent and used with purpose.
A sense of trust in the artist’s ability to carry through a story.
One of my favorite places to look for artists is Behance.net, which is Adobe’s social media platform for artists. Adobe creates the most important suite of creative programs for artists including InDesign, used to layout a book. Artists worldwide post their portfolios, and this means the artists are not all focused on children’s books. You must filter the art to find the type of art you need.
I’m posting below a video of going through the Behance.net. Here’s a couple things to notice.
Moodboards. I use moodboards to store artists/images that appeal in some way. You can create a moodboard for each book, or a general one that includes artists for middle grade book covers. You create the moodboards you need. It’s the first place I look when I need a new illustrator because it represents time spent in evaluating portfolios for my purposes.
Follow. Just like other social media platforms, you can FOLLOW artists and eventually you’ll have a feed from those you follow showing their new art.
Search. You can search by keyword, location, name of artist, style of art, and more. Play with the search function until it works for you to find what you need. Sometimes, I find the “children’s book” keyword too restrictive. Instead, for one of my nonfiction animal books, I may search for “cougar.” If you only want artists from your country or region, you can search that way.
Contact Information. Artists usually offer a variety of ways to learn more about their work. I prefer to go to a website and contact them through that source. But you can also contact them through Behance.
In this video, I ramble through Behance looking for new artists to consider. I left in a lot of the rambling because it’s the nature of the search for the best artist for your story. It’s a search for treasure and there’s no straight forward path for me.
Remember that my priority in this search is great art. I’m NOT concerned with price at this point. (We’ll get to that tomorrow!)
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