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Illustrative Artwork

Illustrations are not just for children's books. Most books can benefit greatly from incorporating visual elements as well. As the origin of the word "illustrate" suggests — to illuminate, shed light on — illustrations serve to clarify concepts and make ideas more understandable. For nonfiction writers seeking to clearly convey information, illustrations are an impactful tool. 


Integrating illustrations delivers multiple advantages: 

  • They command reader attention and interest, making your book more visually appealing. Early reader books with illustrations can help young children with the story and move forward without adult help. Illustrations can be a invaluable learning aid for those with short attention spans.
  • Pictures enhance stories by providing visual details, expressions, and moods that bring the narrative to life and enable readers to better analyze and immerse themselves in the story's development.
  • Information is more memorable when paired with relevant images. Readers better comprehend and retain key takeaways as pictures will hold their attention better.
  • Illustrations are frequently used in adult books, including instructional manuals, technical books, and medical journals, because they help readers quickly comprehend and retain complex concepts that are difficult to explain using only text.
  • Illustrations are essential for communicating ideas that words alone cannot effectively convey (i.e., describing an exercise move). They can help us "read between the line" to find meaning that may not be explicitly stated in the text.
  • Breaking up dense text into digestible sections enhances readability.
  • Just like watching a TV or a computer screen can tire your eyes, illustrations allow readers' eyes to rest.
  • They identify and emphasize important points.
  • Illustrations convey messages effectively while minimizing word count.
  • Graphics elicit emotional responses that resonate with readers.
  • Illustrations and pull quotes give potential buyers a better sense of a book's content, helping them make a more informed purchasing decision.
  • While a striking cover illustration is crucial for drawing readers in, incorporating visual elements throughout your book amplifies engagement and understanding. Illustrations make abstract concepts concrete. If your goal is to illuminate your subject matter for readers, take advantage of illustrations' clarifying power.
  • An eye-catching book cover illustration is a powerful advertisement that can significantly impact a book's success and sales. 

Once you’ve chosen a portion of the book you want illustrated, you need to provide the illustration team the right information to get the artwork you desire. Otherwise, you might get illustrations that don’t communicate the message you intended. Thus, it is important to know how to work with your illustration team to ensure you get the desired result. 


Some useful tips for how to work with your illustration team: 

  • Provide illustration notes: brief descriptions of what you want.
  • Summarize and simplify data before giving it to the illustration team.
  • Utilize the illustration team's expertise in choosing illustration perspectives, sizes, and layouts.
  • Give feedback on sketches to ensure the team is on the right track.
  • Allow creative freedom, but point out areas for improvement early in the process.
  • Be open to the teams' suggestions, as they can provide valuable collaboration.
  • Maintain clear communication to achieve the best results.
  • "LESS IS BETTER" highlight the action more than objects.
  • Use a variety of perspectives through out your book.
  • Illustrations should not merely repeat the text—this is boring.
  • Never contradict what you wrote in the text.
  • Don't be too conceptual—this is important for young children the most.
  • Don't micromanage your illustrator team.


Points that need pondering:

Can I work with the artist directly?

This is not possible as it adds too much to the cost of artwork as artists charge by the hour. Metaphorically standing over their shoulder and working with them could be charged at two or three times the normal rate or more.

Who selects what to draw?

It's always best if you, the author, provide the descriptions. Send us your selections and detailed descriptions of what you want; this is the least expensive way to get your artwork created. At additional cost, the artist or editor can create detailed descriptions for you—if you choose this option, you will be charged for their time.

What Perspective do you want?

Include the perspective desired (e.g., front view, side view, etc.) if it is of critical importance. Otherwise, allow the artist to use their expertise to determine the best way to illustrate your concept.

Can I ask the artist to read, watch, or research material to help with illustrations?

If you want the artist to read your manuscript, watch videos, or perform research, plan on extended delivery time and additional cost.

Can I ask my artist to refer to pictures of models?

If you want to include a few pictures of Uncle Harry so when drawing him the artist keeps a similitude to Harry that is fine. However, if you want exactness, be prepared to pay extra. Remember, revisions to make Uncle Harry's hair "a bit more red" take artists extra time, resulting in extra charges to you.

How much detail should I put in my descriptions?

A description of a "girl playing" is not very descriptive. Include lots of explanations such as her age, hair color, how she is dressed, and playing what? Is she playing the piano, marbles, or video games? If you are paying for backgrounds, is she outside, on a plane, riding a horse? What is the perspective wanted? Viewing from below, above, walking away from you?

What object count, background complexity, or picture sizes are available?

We have three quality levels available:

    • Standard Quality—1 object, no background, and up to 6 x 9"
    • Advanced Quality—1-2 objects, simple background, and up to 8.5 x 11"
    • Premium Quality—2-3+ objects, complex background, and up to 11 x 17"

How do you count objects for my final art costs?

An object would be any item you describe or the identifiable face of an individual. 

EXAMPLE: A man, sitting in his living room reading his Bible and looking up and happy with his thoughts of doing God's will.



Perspective = BLUE HIGHLIGHT


This example has two objects and could be Advanced or Premium depending on the level of detail requested for the background.

Our art team will work with you and the artist to achieve what you want. Please refer questions on how all this works, direct your questions to your Author Advisor.