FAQS | What size should I illustrate for children’s books?

By heather at 9:34 pm on Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Question : Is there a preferred size to illustrate children’s books?

Answer : I’ve found is that size varies from publisher to publisher. Happily, if your manuscript is picked up by a publisher, they will let you know what sizes are available to you. This goes the same for self-publishers, who are able to give a good rate to authors for printing books because they have a standard cookie-cutter size they work with.

A very helpful editor over at Omnibus Books gave the advice at a children’s book writing seminar that it is very unusual to receive finished illustrations with a manuscript. She went on to say that it is even discouraged because of the uncomfortable situation that can arise when the story is literary genious and the illustrations are scribble, or the illustrations are masterpieces and the story is dribble!

With that advice in mind, if you wish to submit a manuscript with illustrations, I would lean towards only sending in sketches and perhaps one finished illustration (as a sample) with your manuscript to a publisher.

That being said, there are many talented aspiring writer/illustrators out there… and to you I would give the advice to just illustrate larger than you hope the book will be, and paint extra bleed (trim) around the illustration. That way if your story is picked up by a pubisher, there is flexibility to scale down and trim the illustrations as needed.

You can find more tips on how to illustrate a children’s book here. And if you have any questions about children’s book illustration or publishing, feel free to post your questions in the comment section.

Filed under: childrens books, business of illustration, FAQS7 Comments »

FAQS | What medium should I use to illustrate greeting cards?

By heather at 2:33 pm on Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Question : What medium should I use to illustrate greeting cards? Is it ok to use different mediums and surfaces, such as acrylic on canvas?

Answer : There aren’t any restrictions on what media you use to illustrate your greeting card designs. Whether you illustrate with watercolour on paper or oils on canvas, what will be the deciding factor is how awesome your illustration looks. Just consider how easy it will be to digitize your illustration (whether it be by scanning or photographing) before you delve in. Other than that, the sky’s the limit!
You can find more tips on illustrating for greeting cards here.

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FAQS | What size should I illustrate for greeting cards?

By heather at 2:16 pm on Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This is one of the most common questions I get regarding greeting card illustration. Fortunately the answer is an easy one… you can illustrate for greeting cards in almost any size! Card companies tend to vary their card dimensions between card lines so as long as you keep in mind these guidelines, there is a lot of flexibility as to what size you can illustrate your greeting card designs to :

  • Whatever size the publisher tells you : keep it simple, if you’ve been given a size to work with, stick with it.
  • Allow for bleed : paint/draw extra illustration around your main design (0.5 - 1 inch) to allow for some shifting for where the bleed will be trimmed off.
  • Use portrait format : Landscape format cards don’t sell as well as A) they don’t display well on card racks, and B) they don’t tend to sit well on a table. The main times landscape illustrations are used in greeting cards are when they are used on z-fold or u-fold designs.
  • Make it easy to scan : Illustrating larger than the size needed is always preferable. However, if your original artwork is small enough to fit on a scanning bed (i.e. 8.5 x 11 inches or smaller), it will save whoever is digitizing your artwork the trouble of either photographing your work or scanning it in pieces and stitching it together in Photoshop.

Other than those points to consider, you can illustrate to any size you’d like. You can find more tips on illustrating for greeting cards here.

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