If you want to be an illustrator of books for children, how do you go about it? I recall that I hadn’t a clue as an art student regarding the path to that goal, and it took several years of trial and error — and a dose of good luck — for me to find my way to publication and (semi-)regular assignments from art directors. Joining the SCBWI was absolutely a great move, and going to as many conferences as possible also helped, but I am still learning! The industry changes have been monumental since I started my career, and keeping up can be a challenge. There are new and exciting ways to improve your craft, get your work noticed, and land assignments.
One of the best ways to figure out how to reach your goal is to listen to those who have done it.
Fortunately, there is a vast wealth of information available to us now on this amazing vehicle, the web. I came across two artists recently who have been highly successful as children’s book illustrators and have shared their wisdom and advice. Each has her own artistic style and techniques, and because one is American and one is English, their advice style is also markedly different. However, I found that what each had to say was extremely valuable… and wish I had been able to read it at the beginning of my career!
Doreen Marts is the illustrator of many books for children. She was a finalist in the 2014 Tomie de Paola SCBWI Illustration Competition and includes tutorials on her blog. In very clear language, she gives her advice to aspiring children’s book illustrators on the site Creative Bloq titled How to illustrate children’s books: 7 top tips.
Amanda Hall is an award-winning illustrator, particularly renowned for her wonderfully decorative and colorful children’s book illustrations. She is also highly regarded for her work in the educational and adult design markets both in Britain and America. She gives helpful advice on her website in the form of a Q & A about illustration, Starting to Freelance.
I hope that you find these tips and personal stories helpful to your own illustration career.