Do I Need An Illustrator For My Picture Book?

Do I Need An Illustrator

Do I need an illustrator for my picture book?  That is the most frequently asked question of Jon Bard, head of the Children’s Book Insider Club and in this video he will give you you the reasons why you should not.

The second most asked questions refers to doing the illustrations yourself or letting a friend or family member do it.  Once again, Jon bard takes us into the world of children’s book publishing and shows us the real reasons why we shouldn’t.

The simple answer is no.  Why would you?  It is the responsibility of the book publisher to find and pay an illustrator that he believes is a good fit for your story and he will base his decision on how he sees your story in terms of subject matter and what age the book is geared to.

Publishers have some of the best illustrators in the world available at their call to do work for them which they can access at any time.  Illustrators hook up with different publishers and they are given work based on the types of illustration they do and the popularity of their work,  Many of the best illustrators in the world are paid handsomely for their work so it is best to let the publisher handle this side of the book.

As for the second part of the question, you can go to the library and do a search for all the bestselling picture books.  There you will see just how talented these artists really are.  You will not be able to compete with them that is why you need to concentrate all your creative juices on writing and crafting the most powerful story you can.  In the end, it can hurt your chances for getting your book published.

Your job is to worry about writing the text and leave the illustrations to someone who does it for a living.


A. J. Westin is a children's adventure book author who specializes in writing stories kids really want to read. He has written over two dozen books and has dedicated his life to helping kids become better readers through his inspirational stories.
Have ever dreamed of becoming a children's book author but didn't know where to turn? Then download my powerful writer's guide that will help catapult you to becoming a bestselling children's book author... for FREE

13 thoughts on “Do I Need An Illustrator For My Picture Book?

  1. Good advice, but I encourage authors to develop artistic abilities. I’m an
    author & artist. So far my illustrations haven’t been published with my
    stories, but they’ve helped my career. According to my agent I’m a "B+"
    artist. Most people can’t see a difference in my art vs a pro illustrator.
    I’m good enough that editors enjoy my art and it lets me communicate my
    vision to the publisher’s illustrator.

  2. im an artist and if i wrote a childrens book i would not trust any artist
    to TRY to draw out my vision.

  3. The information you suggested about illustration was great! I am an artist
    but I do not do illustration and now will not try right now for a story
    idea my husband and I have. I am a Teacher for 5 year + and Have a great
    Idea for a story and I need to get it down on paper and not sure where to
    start. Do you have any suggestions?

  4. Thank you for the information. I am new to Youtube but had an idea for a
    story so have created a short animation to portray my idea here, although I
    am not an artist I think it does the job for Youtube. Would you mind taking
    a look at my upload and give me some critical feedback on the story itself?
    I would really appreciate it. It is just over 3 minutes long.

  5. thanks for this, very helpful. Tho i am an artist and a writer, i plan to
    give writing a Children’s book a go and do both the writing and art myself.
    I would think that as long as you can draw well and both go together well,
    it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do it that way would it? x thanks

  6. Hi, thanks for this vid! Quick question. Is your answer the same if you are
    submitting a middle school nonfiction ‘how to’ book? Is this the exception
    to the rule, in that publishers do expect this kind of book to be
    accompanied by placeholder photographs or illustrations? Thank you!

  7. or you self publish, which in todays internet culture may be the way to go.
    This does not mean the illustration doesn’t have to meet or exceed the
    quality of other books on the market, but it does open the market to many
    authors and artists who might otherwise go unpublished… is this a fair

  8. Can you give me some information about how to become one of those
    illustrators? I really want to know the way to get there! Thanks!!

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