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  • Writer's pictureKali Kuzma

How to Get Your Ideas Across to an Illustrator

From Idea to Paper

When writing a children's book it's important to keep in mind how you want the pages styled to have the writing and illustration flow together.

Being able to find someone who understands your vision is even more crucial. Not only will you be working with this person for a long period of time(and most likely for future projects), but you are also going to be paying them a good chunk of change.

So, to get everything right the first time, it's important to be able to get your ideas to your illustration in a clear and precise way.

If you are looking to publish a children's book here are some tips to follow.



Before you can even start to send an illustrator your ideas, you must first find someone you would like to work with that is open for commissions.

This can take several weeks to months depending on the style you are looking for as well as price. Once you've narrowed a few down, reach out to them and tell them a bit about your project. If you both agree that it seems like a good fit, check out the following tips.

Sample Page

Before going into contract, have your illustrator do a sample page. Give them a quick description and pay them for their time to do one page(this might cost extra but will be worth it).

If they are able to deliver on time, and in the style you hoped as well as followed your directions this most likely will be a good match moving forward.

Be Prepared

Before you move into the final contract, be prepared with the final page count. Let your illustrator know how many single pages versus double layouts you might have so they can give you an accurate estimate.


Have a contract in place signed by both parties. There are many people out their claiming to be illustrators who then take your money never to be heard from again.

Your contract should include how many pages your illustrator will be creating, cover, revisions, completion dates, payment installments, etc. Get it all in writing in case something doesn't go to plan.

Create A Mood Board

Put together a document of colors you want to see throughout the book or colors you definitely don't want to see. Having a color scheme beforehand will make the book much more consistent. You can even ask your illustrator to help if you are having a hard time.

Characters and Places Board

Using the power of Google, put together a characters and places board similar to the color board. Include pictures of what your characters look like, certain characteristics or traits that may need to stand out, their clothing style, the architecture of buildings, certain locations or landmarks, etc. This should help your illustrator understand your vision even more.


Send them your story. This should be sectioned out to show which dialogue is supposed to be on each page. This will also help in their creativity when it comes to each drawing.

Sketch and Description

If you know exactly what you would like, have a quick sketch and small description of your drawing prepared for each layout. Keep it concise as too much detail can cause problems. If you aren't good at drawing you can use AI as a backup.


Once you've received your illustrations back, give constructive and direct feedback. Circle what you don't like, give suggestions to the fix and keep the critique minimal. Remember illustrators do this job every day and know what does and doesn't work. So be open but be sure you still get across your ideas. Unless it's truly awful, then they might have to start from scratch lol.


One thing to keep in mind is allowing your illustrator freedom when it comes to their work. Hear out their ideas and suggestions. Who knows, you might them better than your own!


Lastly, leave a review! If possible, leave a review of your experience. Reviews can be hard to come by especially good ones. So, if you had a great experience, let everyone know. This will also help build a relationship with your illustrator for future projects.


What would you add to the list above about getting your ideas across to an illustrator? Tell me in the comments below! If you are looking for an illustrator, I highly suggest checking out

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