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Illustrators for Children's Picture Books


joanajoan

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How has your experience been when looking to hire an illustrator for a Children's Picture Book?

I am having quite a hard time here.   Is this unusual? 

I found a few illustrators here that seemed to have interesting portfolios, had lots of experience and had their work published. 

Also claimed that their English is either native or fluent. Which seemed credible since their country of residence is an English speaking country.. 

However, I wanted to check their creative talent, so I contacted them and asked them for the titles of the picture books that they illustrated and had published.   

I am getting quite the run around.  None of them provided me with their titles.

One of the answers even was:  "I have a team of illustrators who are experts in giving titles". 🤣

Am I just not lucky?  Or do I not know who to screen search results?  Any tips?

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5 hours ago, joanajoan said:

Am I just not lucky?  Or do I not know who to screen search results?  Any tips?

It's likely the second one - though knowing what to look out for comes with experience! I'm not an illustrator, but I don't share full scripts I've written (for safety reasons/copyright stuff) BUT I do show several projects I've worked on and was credited for. If an artist can't show you that, I wouldn't believe them. You can, of course, still take a gamble because newbies CAN be talented, but yeah. 

What I would look out for other than English skills (at least enough to understand you/etc.) is honest people with at least 20-25 reviews, some that show their work done for those gigs. SURE, again, a newbie might be great (and cheaper), but it's not so easy to spot the red flags in the beginning.

I'd also try to make sure that the art WAS made by the people (who claim to be the artists), and personally, I'd stray away from full-on AI art, but that's up to you of course. 

Art is expensive and not easy, but somehow, some people got it into their minds that they can sell paint/clip art level stuff for cheap, and people who just want something quick and cheap will be happy to buy it, so sadly, it's a finicky thing to get into! (nothing wrong with those either, but I personally would want something a bit different if I were to publish!)

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 11/27/2023 at 6:52 PM, joanajoan said:

 Any tips?

Hello.
There are so many talented and cool artists on the platform. I would advise to look at the skills and pay attention to the following points:

1. Whether the hand is well trained, whether the illustrator can maintain a single style or multiple styles if it is a generalist illustrator.
If the illustration style is as close as possible to what you're looking for, it's worth taking a closer look at the artist. Maybe even order a test sketch or illustration to see if the skills you're looking for are really there and if you'll be comfortable working together.

2. Testimonials and attractive examples in the portfolio.

3. whether AI or ready-made cliparts are used in the examples. Too many people today shout that they are drawing, but are really just using AI or ready-made freepic images. Without a trained eye, it's sometimes hard to realise this. But then they can't fix the artefacts and mistakes made when generating the AI. Or they just use "wooden" characters and can't draw them in other angles, etc. Then it becomes obvious that the performer doesn't have the right skills.

I don't know about book titles. I don't ask clients about it, and sometimes I can't even tell you what the client's name is - many use nicknames unrelated to their real name.  I think many illustrators have the same situation.

On the subject of English proficiency, I can't tell you anything. In the age of advanced online translators, it is possible to work with people from different countries.

I hope this will help you at least a little. Good luck with any projects.

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30 minutes ago, egirin said:

Too many people today shout that they are drawing, but are really just using AI or ready-made freepic images.

As a children's book proofreader, I see that many of the artists on the platform use these template images and the books look very similar. Here are a few examples of such images. A different seller created each image. What happens is that with templates the characters in the images become static and seem to be continually in the same position. 

.Screenshot2023-12-20at3_51_26PM.png.578e069ad44436660c1515b19831684a.png     Screenshot2023-12-20at3_50_05PM.png.ec70096ddaaa22ce65062e20dc6558fc.png   Screenshot2023-12-20at3_49_43PM.png.acc086ca978342bb71b3dc52c74dca52.png

 

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26 minutes ago, vickiespencer said:

As a children's book proofreader, I see that many of the artists on the platform use these template images and the books look very similar. Here are a few examples of such images. A different seller created each image. What happens is that with templates the characters in the images become static and seem to be continually in the same position.

Yeah, I see examples like that a lot too. I can't say they are illustrators or artists. Often there are no drawing skills there.

But it is often a very fast and cheap service. Apparently, this is a popular and in-demand service on a par with AI, since it is so widely presented. + It does not require a lot of knowledge and skills, which means that many people can do it.

 

Edited by egirin
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45 minutes ago, vickiespencer said:

As a children's book proofreader, I see that many of the artists on the platform use these template images and the books look very similar. Here are a few examples of such images. A different seller created each image. What happens is that with templates the characters in the images become static and seem to be continually in the same position. 

I completely agree with you, Vickie. I'm a children's book translator and proofreader, and I've lost count of how many books are illustrated that way... 

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@vickiespencer Absolutely right... Midjourney gives quick results, almost instantaneous, and a pretty high level of execution, if you don't count various funny distortions of anatomy and details... But it also kills individuality and erases boundaries.
Сreators of Midjourney admitted that their AI database is based on billions of illustrations and artwork borrowed without asking. So the question of how ethical its use is will remain open for the foreseeable future.

Edited by egirin
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I once had a seller insist she lived in the UK even after I pointed out that the system told me her timezone, which was the same as Pakistan. The thing which made me suspicious in the first place was that she didn't know the blue area on a map is the ocean, which seems a very strange thing for anyone from the island of Great Britain not to know.

After having hired probably about 15 illustrators for different children's books on Fiverr, I've come to screen them very carefully. Firstly, I eliminate anyone from either Nigeria or Pakistan (though I have hired a Bangladeshi twice). Then I filter by price and look for the style I'm after. As the format of my books creates its own challenges, I then spend a while chatting with them to check whether they're up for it or not. Some politely pass, which I honestly prefer to those who say they can do the job but lack the skill.

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