How to Contact an Illustrator

Castle clouds cropped02 5x5aI’ve talked with many writers over the years about how to find or create illustrations their books. That might be just the cover for a novel or a multi-page children’s picture book.

Although these writers had a handle on writing, they confessed the best they could do were stick people or an actual photograph (which still doesn’t get the job done). When I suggested hiring an illustrator, they said either one of two excuses:

1. They’re too expensive.

2. It’s impossible to find one.

Well, it does cost money to create images, and just like teachers, pizza makers and writers, illustrators need to eat, wear clothes and have shelter. They might even want to take in a movie every other year. So they must make money.

Up until about two years ago, I believed what many writers said: illustrators are impossible to find. I had not looked for one, but occasionally I heard of freelance authors working with illustrators to create their books. I knew they were out there, but the question was, Where were they hiding?


It turns out there are plenty of illustrators in many places if you go looking. And with the world at our fingertips, you could hire someone a thousand miles away as easy as hiring the kid next door who’s a closet artist (a very fine one at that).

The next step is contacting these wonderful artists. I have no experience in doing this though I would fall back on my unassuming ways of contacting any perspective ‘company’ I plan to hire: professionally.

Kelley McMorris is an illustrator who does have experience with contacting illustrators, or at least she can help everyone with the procedure since she’s seen the bad ways and the good ways potential clients have contacted her.

To gain this valuable knowledge, read her post How to Email an Illustrator.

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