Illustrating Your Book

color pencil lot

Last month, I elaborated on cover design, and how to go about finding someone who can help you out when it comes to making cover art for your book. But what about interior design? What happens when you write a book, but feel it could use a little extra something on the inside to grab and hold the reader’s attention? That is what I’ll try to discuss here today.

Not all books require interior illustration. But when they do, you definitely want to make sure they match up to what your text is about. Good interior illustrations complement and enhance the text. They should not distract from it or confuse the reader.

The first thing to consider when illustrating (or looking for an illustrator) is style. What style of drawing will best match the style of your writing? Are you going for serious, humorous, or perhaps something in the middle? Who is your audience? Are these illustrations for a kid’s book or something that adults have to appreciate as well? And of course, is it fiction or non? All important questions to ask. In the case of a series, you’ll want to keep your style as consistent as possible as well.

As with cover illustrations, price is another consideration. Once again, if you can do your own illustrating/photography, great! If not, then you’ll need to pick someone within your given budget. Settling on a price for illustrating a whole book can be quite different from a single cover illustration. You may have to work out some sort of amount per illustration, or else a flat rate for the whole book. Whatever is most advantageous and fits in with your budgetary constraints. Alternatively, you could team up with an illustrator and work on the whole project together from scratch. This approach might be especially useful for creating a comic book: one to do storyboarding and another to do the drawing.

Once those arrangements are worked out, you’ll need to convey what it is you want to your chosen illustrator to do. Perhaps supplying them with a manuscript of the finished work would help them, especially if you already have an idea of which segments you want to have illustrated. Then you can just highlight those passages for their special attention. In a collaborative effort, of course, input is needed from both sides in order to come up with a finished product.

Once the illustrations are made, you’ll need to arrange them in your manuscript. How you do this depends entirely on your preference and the kind of book you’re illustrating. Perhaps you want to take up one whole page with artwork and the facing page with a description. Or perhaps small, captioned figures inserted between paragraphs of text to illustrate specific points might be more useful. In a collection of short stories, maybe you just want a single drawing to put on the title page and nothing more. It’s entirely your call!

That’s all I have to say on interior illustrating for now. If I missed anything, or you have additional insight to add, I would be glad to hear from you. Until next time!

Published by J. S. Allen

J. S. Allen is a writer, linguist, historian, and nature-lover from Kansas City, Missouri. He is the author of the young adult series Sauragia and Knights of Aralia, as well as the 'Woodland Tales' anthology for children. Several of his shorter works have also appeared in various print and online periodicals over the years. In between writing and publishing, he likes to draw, spend long hours outdoors, and read. His favorite authors include M. I. McAllister, Brian Jacques, and Alexandre Dumas.

One thought on “Illustrating Your Book

  1. As an illustrator, I completely relate to this post!
    Communication is very important especially in the early stages.
    I once had a customer who half way near the project said they wanted everything B&W when I spent a lot of time on coloring.
    I like to work on good trust rather than a contract, but sometimes it can cause some issues.

    Great post!

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