Mistake nr 1: Not Charging Enough for my Illustrations
When I just started out, I had no idea what the standard rates for children’s book illustrations were and I under-valued myself badly. I did not know what my value as an illustrator was. Yes, I just started out with children’s books, but I have been illustrating for other industries for almost 10 years. Under charging yourself in the beginning of your illustration career is not a train smash though, you can always raise your prices as you gain confidence and skill. The more value you bring to the client, the more you can charge.
Mistake nr 2: Illustrating the Words not the Story
Illustrations are meant to enhance and support the author’s written words, drawing exactly what is written in the text is redundant. Authors sometimes request that you draw everything that is in their text, I have made the mistake of agreeing to this way too many times. You end up trying to squeeze what should be 5 scenes into one illustration. When reading the manuscript, imagine the story in your head like a movie. What is the most action-packed scene that you can freeze frame? Illustration fills in the gaps and draws in the reader. You could even include a secondary story line inside of your illustrations, or add hidden humor for children to discover.
When reading the manuscript, imagine the story in your head like a movie. What is the most action-packed scene that you can freeze frame?
Mistake nr 3: Not having a contract in place
When I first started out, I had no contract of my own in place. But working with multiple authors made me realize that I need to protect myself too. Some common things to keep in mind is :
Mistake nr 4: Over Booking and not Giving Myself Enough Time
I absolutely HATE showing clients away, I want to help everybody and I feel so bad when I have to say no. That is the reason why I started the Caterpillar Collective freelance directory site for Children’s Books.
I am a bit of a workaholic, I love being productive and I absolutely LOVE my job. I spend my whole day drawing illustrations for amazing children’s book authors. So I try to squeeze in as much as I possibly can and sometimes I bite off more than I can chew, life happens, delays happen and I end up over booked and scrambling.
When booking clients in advance, I advise giving yourself more than enough time, if you finish earlier, you can always ask your client If they are ready to start earlier. Always ask ahead of time how many illustrations will be needed, this will give you an idea of how long the book will take. Some are short and will be done quickly and some will be longer with more illustrations. Also schedule in enough buffer time for revisions.
Making mistakes is inevitable, don't let it stop you from doing what you love. Learn from your mistakes, let it sculpt you into a better illustrator and a stronger person. I heard a saying once "If you are not making mistakes you aren't pushing yourself hard enough". Mistakes are part of life and if you shy away from making them, you aren't living to your fullest potential.
I want to take this opportunity to let you in on an exciting new venture I am taking on. I am creating a freelance directory for children's book service providers. I want to invite you to join the launch team and help me make this site the go-to place for self-publishing authors to find vetted freelancers to help them create professional and beautiful children's books that will brighten the lives of children all over the world. If you are interested in joining the launch team and listing your illustration services, please sign up here:
1/11/2023 09:39:14 pm
Thank you Dan! I appreciate your comment!
1/11/2023 09:40:18 pm
Thank you for your support Kirsten! I am glad you found this helpful and that you are just as excited as I am for the launch 😁
1/11/2023 11:43:31 pm
I can't wait! Thank you so much for reading 💕
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