The Importance of Illustrations

They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Don’t think that is true? Ask yourself, “Would A.A. Milne’s children’s classic, Winnie-the-Pooh, be just as charming without the illustrations from Ernest Shepard?” Maybe, but the beautiful illustrations have brought the world of the Hundred Acre Woods to life. Award-winning illustrations are often the difference between a good book and a GREAT one.

Finding the Right Illustrator

The illustrations in your book help communicate your book’s value to readers and buyers. As a children’s author, you must remember that children are you audience but adults are your buyers. You need to produce a book that is appealing to both children and adults. One of the ways to do this is by combining your story with great pictures.

When choosing an artist, make sure their style meshes your vision of the book. There are a wide range of illustration styles, so it is essential that you choose one that helps convey your message. Self-publishing companies such as Outskirts Press allow you to choose the artist who best fits your needs.

How Illustrators Are Paid

Payment arrangements typically include a flat fee or royalties and usually depend on where you find your illustrator. Self-publishing companies are a good place to look for an illustrator. Some companies such as Outskirts Press don’t require you to publish your book with their companies to use their illustrators but offer a discount on services if you do publish with their company. When considering a self-publishing company, be sure to read all of the fine print.

Another option is to hire a freelance illustrator without going through a middle man. This can be done by searching sites such as and You can also talk to other writers to find out which illustrators they recommend.

Before hiring an illustrator, make sure you look at sample work. Ask yourself, is this how I want my illustrations to look? If not, keep searching. There is an illustrator out there whose style will complement your story.

Beyond Picture Books

Illustrations aren’t just for children’s books. Pictures can enhance any book. Whether you are in need of a book cover, an interior image, or a full series of illustrations, there is an illustrator you can bring your book to life.

Since 2005 Cheri Breeding has been working as the Director of Production for Outskirts Press. In that time, she has been an instrumental component of every aspect of the Production Department, performing the roles of an Author Representative, Book Designer, Customer Service Representative, Title Production Supervisor, Production Manager and, Director of Production. She brings all that experience and knowledge, along with an unparalleled customer-service focus, to help self-publishing authors reach high-quality book publication more efficiently, professionally, and affordably.

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