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Becoming an Illustrator for Children’s Books

The role of a children’s book illustrator is the creation and design of images to complement children’s stories. An illustrator could be employed by a publishing house or magazine, but most commonly, they work on a freelance basis. This means that they work with a variety of writers or others who produce children’s stories and may have a list of clients they work with regularly. Becoming an illustrator for children’s books isn’t terribly difficult if you have the talent required, can work according to a deadline and know how to find clients.

Educational Requirements

While a degree is not required for becoming a children’s book illustrator, it can be a helpful addition to your resume. A bachelor’s degree can be obtained in the area of illustration, or you may want to invest in private lessons. Workshops and art classes are also very helpful in building your credentials for becoming an illustrator. While you do not have to have formal education to become an illustrator, it is demonstrably easier to do so if you have some formal training in your background. Classes are available that cover a wide range of illustration types, drawing strategies and techniques and contemporary art.

Building a Portfolio

A portfolio contains samples of your work to show prospective employers; you might have samples created from previous jobs, an apprenticeship or internship or various courses you’ve attended. There are programs available in various secondary educational settings that focus solely on developing your portfolio.

Every employer who’s looking to hire you to illustrate a story is going to want to be able to look at your portfolio. An excellent portfolio is the best tool you can have to find good illustration jobs. It’s important that your portfolio reflect your unique style. Look into various portfolio formats; online portfolio options are growing in popularity and offer an outstanding option for displaying your work to its best advantage.

Getting a Job

Getting an illustration job can be difficult if you don’t have previous experience. Whether you have contacts in a publishing house, want to work for a magazine or just have an online freelance profile, it can take time to build a reliable clientele. Successful freelance illustrators can transition into full-time jobs once they have built a good reputation. For illustrators who are already employed, it’s important to understand that you have to stay current and relevant to keep your position. New illustrators are always gaining recognition, so staying ahead of the curve is essential to staying employed.

Building a Client List

Whether you have been employed as a full-time illustrator or you’re just beginning to build your portfolio, a client list is essential for any illustrator who decides to become a freelancer. In order to build a client list, you must wade through many jobs and painstakingly cultivate those relationships where repeat work is a possibility. Becoming a successful illustrator for children’s books requires talent and diligence, as well as a head for marketing.