Server Maintenance

Emory_PSMAG_Robots_Lie_news

We’re planning on moving to a bigger and better server, so if you’ve tried to log into your profile and have been redirected to this blog post we’re in the process of migrating at the moment. It should only take an hour or two to make the move and once complete you’ll have full access to your profile again to make changes and submit news.

It’s always a worry moving from one system to another, as you know if you’ve ever done it yourself. We’ve moved servers several times over the last few years as we’ve out grown old machines, or new technologies have become available. Moving a small site is easy-peasy, but when you’re looking at moving the equivalent of 300-400 small sites in one go with hundreds of clients relying on you as part of their business, there’s no shortage of pressure to make sure everything runs smoothy with minimal downtime. Although the tech industry would like you to believe everything is just point and click these days, doing a server migration just isn’t that simple and requires a lot of prep work.

We’re really excited about the new system, we’re going to get a bump in RAM to make everything more spritely. Plus we’re getting super-fancy Solid State Drives to replace our old fashion HDs, again this should give us another bump in speed.

Image by Emory Allen for the Pacific Standard (September 2014).

Hiring a children’s book illustrator FAQ

Illustrators tend to be bombarded with the same questions over and over again from clients looking to hire them to bring their children’s book manuscript to life, and from publishers looking to have them work on a future project or their next release. With our illustrators being the pros they are, they tend to send a personal reply to every query that comes in regardless of whether they’ve answered the same question half a dozen times that week already.

waif550660

(1)

So, here are a list of questions you need to ask yourself before you hire an illustrator, and some answers to questions that clients commonly ask illustrators during the course of hiring one.

These questions were devised and answered by Ginger Nielson (illustrator of almost 40 children’s books), and edited and updated by Darren Di Lieto & Jane Di Lieto-Danes.

Should you hire an illustrator?

If you have a finished, edited, and great manuscript, by all means submit it to a publisher. If they decide it’s right for their line up and marketable, they will normally pay you an advance followed by royalties in exchange for the right to print and sell your book. They will also hire an illustrator, pay the production costs and help you market it. You do NOT need any illustrations to submit your manuscript to a publisher unless you are an author/illustrator yourself.

How do you find a publisher?

To find out who might be the best publisher for your book, get a copy of the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market or the Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. They list publishers, their contacts, their terms, and what they are looking for. It also includes international markets, magazines, contests, agents and wonderful articles from artists and authors as well as publishers and editors.

target_caterpillar

(2)

What to do if you’re self publishing?

You need to be very sure of your own work and you need to be ready to invest your own time and money in making your book a success. You will be choosing your own illustrator and paying for the artwork and license or rights to use it; for the book printing; to have it proofread; for distribution; for all your own advertising… and you’ll be doing your own sales. Your local indie bookstore may be happy to host a signing. You might be able to market your books at a local craft fair or market, or at any event with the right setting and clientele. Some schools have book nights where you can sell your books too. Self publishing is often sold as the easy (and cheap) way to get your book published, but don’t let all the hype fool you. The more work and money you can invest in your book, regardless of how good it might be, the more chance it has of being a success.

Print

(3)

How much does a children’s illustrator cost?

When you hire an illustrator remember that you are hiring a professional. You need to be prepared to pay a fair market price. Depending upon the length of time it will take to illustrate your book, the amount of research needed, and any unusual requests, the cost could be a few thousand pounds/dollars or many thousands of pounds/dollars.

OK, so how much will it cost?

Most illustrator’s rates are only shared with a potential client after they have seen a finished manuscript or at least a detailed outline of the work. The illustrator also needs to decide if their skill and style is right for the story and that they’re a good fit for the client. Some illustrators also do the design and layout for children’s publications, so will provide a print ready PDF on completion. If this is not the case, the client will also need to hire a designer who’ll turn the artwork and manuscript into a ready to print product. The illustrator may be able to recommend someone for the design/layout part if they’ve worked with self publishers in the past and do not do the design themselves. Working with a separate designer will increase the overall costs, but you will benefit from the skills a well trained graphic designer brings to the table and you’ll probably find you’ll have a quicker turn-around time too.

dogolate

(4)

Really, how much does it cost?

The GAG (2013) says a colour 32 page children’s book will cost you between $3000-$60,000 USD + 3-5% royalties while the AOI (2008) says it’ll cost between £3000-£5000 GBP for the advance plus royalties. It really does depend on who you want to work with, the type of style you’re after and the experience of the illustrator. You may find a really talented young illustrator fresh out of university, but as with fine wines that get better with age, all illustrators get better as they hone their skills and gain experience.

How long does it take?

A contract is issued with payment dates, artwork dates, and copyright restrictions for both the author and the illustrator. Work will normally take from 3 to 6 months to complete, give or take a month depending on the illustrator. Payments will normally be made at different stages throughout the project as work is completed and approved. There will normally always be an upfront percentage to pay before work is started too. This upfront fee will normally not be refundable as it’ll also be the kill fee if the client decides to scrap the project or work with an alternative illustrator after work has begun.

millie

(5)

What about changes and artwork revision?

Any artwork that has been finished and approved by the author/client is final. However, if changes are requested after the final approval a fee per hour for any changes may apply. Revisions after approval will also be subject to an illustrator’s availability.


If you’d like more advice on hiring an illustrator for your children’s book, check out Dani Jones’ blog or Randy Gallegos’ PDF Guide For Publishers via the links below. And obviously if you’re ready to hire an illustrator have a look though our children’s illustrators or submit a job request and we’ll help you find one.

unicornnew

(6)

Dani Jones’ blog…
Part One: How to find an illustrator for your picture book
Part Two: How to find an illustrator for self-publishing

Randy Gallegos’ Guide For Publishers…
PDF Guide For Publishers: Learning How to Commission Illustration

Image Credits…
1. The Waif by Peter George
2. Caterpillar for Target by Lee Cosgrove
3. Tiger Character by Marcus Cutler
4. Dogolate by Michael Slack
5. The Butterflies and Millie by Corey R. Tabor
6. Happy-go-lucky Unicorn by Sophie Burrows

Exclusive Member-Only Discounts

discount-screenshot

We all love a good deal or bargain, and this is why HAI has teamed up with a number of reputable companies and organisations to bring our members some very nice discounts. On your behalf we’ve negotiated deals on screen printing, on and offline art-related educational courses, merchandise and hosting. All our members need to do is visit our discount page while logged into their account to reveal the discount codes.

http://www.hireanillustrator.com/i/discounts/

We’re always on the look out for new discounts and offers that we can arrange for our members, which means we’re going to be constantly updating the discount page as new partnerships are formed. So keep an eye on it and check back from time to time.

If you’re one of the companies or organisations offering us a discount on one of your products, thank you kindly.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes, New Search Categories

cats

We’re always making updates on the site and with the service for members of Hire an Illustrator, but when it comes to adding or removing the categories our illustrators use to define themselves on the site it’s actually quite a big deal. We never add new categories lightly and normally only when there’s enough demand from clients for them. Over the last 12 months we’ve found there have been more and more job requests asking for the following three areas:

  • Dark & Otherworldly or Surreal
  • Anime & Manga
  • Retro, Vintage & Antique

So from today, our illustrators can add themselves to one of these categories if that’s what their artwork fits into and clients can now do searches based on those areas.

Search for an illustrator or tell us about your project and we’ll find one for you.

Post-Showcase 100 normality

2015-04-07 11.16.02

So, it’s been a couple of weeks now since we were in London with the Little Chimp Society for the Showcase 100 exhibition. The dust has finally settled and we’re pretty much back to normal here now (or as normal as things ever get!) 🙂 We had a fab week and a really good night on the Thursday for the private view – it was wonderful to meet everyone and we’d like to thank you all again for coming. It was very busy and we certainly had a great time – we hope you did too!

2015-04-09 18.31.08

The Framer’s Gallery were wonderful yet again (the LCS held the last Mail Me Art show there) and it’s definitely our favourite venue in town for this kind of thing. It’s easy to get to, everyone there is so helpful and the space itself is perfect for arty events of all sizes.

2015-04-09 18.33.57

A number of the 100 prints were sold on the night, but the rest are now for sale in the LCS shop at £40, unframed. They are very high quality archival prints and there’s a wide range of subjects and styles, so there’s sure to be something to tickle your fancy. Can’t decide which one you want? Then why not buy the SC100 book and be able to peruse them all at your leisure? There are still some books available to buy here.

2015-04-09 18.20.13

We hope to make Showcase a two-yearly event, with the LCS continuing to run the project for HAI members. Being able to offer opportunities like this to our members is really important to us. It adds an extra dimension to our community and provides the chance to meet-up with people and celebrate the wonderful illustrations that they create.

2015-04-09 18.34.05

Finally, a special thank you is in order to the lovely Eleanor, who travelled down from the Midlands for some gallery experience and did a sterling job taking photos on the Thursday night!

2015-04-07 17.33.57

2015-04-07 17.34.51

2015-04-07 17.35.01

2015-04-07 17.35.41

2015-04-09 15.12.10

2015-04-09 15.19.27

2015-04-09 15.17.19

You’re invited to the Showcase 100 Private View!

sc100-email

There’s only three days left until the Showcase 100 exhibition at the Framer’s Gallery in London. There’s still lots to do, but it’s always exciting being part of a show like this. Showcase 100, in case you don’t know, has been run for our members by the Little Chimp Society (LCS) and consists of 100 illustrations that have been selected for the show and book by our panel of judges. All of the illustrations have been framed as high-quality, archival prints and will be for sale at the show. There’s a wide range of artwork created by an equally wide variety of illustrators, so there should be something for everyone.

The accompanying Showcase 100 publication, featuring all 100 final illustrations along with lots of sketches and notes about the artwork, will also be available to buy at the exhibition as well as online from the LCS shop.

The show runs from 7th – 11th April and the ‘private’ view is on Thursday 9th April, 6 – 8pm. Everyone is welcome to come along on Thursday evening to join us for an evening of excellent artwork, free drinks and general natter. The gallery is located in the heart of Fitzrovia and is easy to get to, with Goodge Street and Tottenham Court Road tube stations only a few minutes walk away.

Thursday 9th April 6pm – 8pm
The Framer’s Gallery
36 Windmill Street
London, W1T 2JT

If you’re on Facebook, there’s an event page for it with the latest updates too… https://www.facebook.com/events/710733742303427/

What’s in a name?

4103_image_899587

What’s in a name? Well quite a lot actually. It’s one of those sticky subjects and no one quite knows the best course of action. What I’m specifically referring to are illustrators’ names. Are you an individual, are you a studio, are you a brand or are you using a persona? It’s a tough thing to decide, but for the sake of professionalism you need to make a decision and stick with it. For most people it’s a non-issue, they have their name and that is that. But illustrators as a group can be an insecure, reclusive bunch, so having a persona that can help you land commissions and be the face of your business can actually be a really good thing. You just have to make sure you do it right!

What I see quite a lot is talented folk coming up with a brilliant name for their studio, for example, but then hiding behind it like it’s a shield… protecting themselves from the evil overlords. The problem then arises that the client doesn’t know what to call the illustrator. This doesn’t hinder communication, but it does make it slightly uncomfortable. For example if the illustration outfit is called ‘Eye of the Beholder’, and that’s how the illustrator signs their emails and refers to themselves in their biography, what does the client call them? Eye, EOTB, Mr/Mrs Beholder… Does it really do that much harm to mention your name is Matt or Susan? You can always put ‘Matt (aka Eye of the Beholder)’. I know some people like to believe they’re magical creatures of some description, but generally people like dealing with people.

The thing is, your working name doesn’t actually need to be your real name, as long as the client knows who to pay at the end of a project. You can call yourself whatever you want. It’s just that people and clients in general need to be able to relate to it in some manner or you’re making things awkward before you even get started. Even faceless corporations have realised they do actually need to have a face if they want to connect with their customers.

Artwork by Sara Wilson (aka Fly Okay).

Clients and job requests at HAI

At Hire an Illustrator we have numerous clients of every description sending us their job briefs on a daily basis so we can help them find the right illustrator or artist for their projects. It’s a fun process and we love doing it, plus it’s nice to know that what we’re doing really works. Some days we may have as few as five requests, but most days it’s more like 20-30. It’s a time consuming job, but it’s one of the many things we do that make HAI special and membership worth while.

drapers_redo_clean
Mad Men’s Don Draper by the amazing Michael Gambriel

What we do when a job request comes in is to analyse it and try to get an understanding of what the client is actually looking for. Sometimes we have to go back and forth with the client a few times with additional questions about style or budget, but normally the client knows what they want and we just need to point them in the right direction. It’s not an exact science and we sometimes throw in a wildcard with our recommendations to cover our bases. Other times, a job request may not have an obvious recommendation, so an executive decision is taken on who we put forward for the job. 99% of the time it works out nicely and one of our illustrators gets a new commission.

Working with our members day in, day out gives us an advantage over a casual viewer since we know which of our illustrators are good at which jobs. Plus, we have many years’ experience dealing with a variety of art projects and illustration briefs. In addition to that, we always try to make sure any potential clients who ask for our help know what to expect when it comes to working with an illustrator and commissioning a custom illustration, as well as what they might expect to pay.

Got a job for us? Submit one via our jobs submission form or if you’d like become a member of HAI check out our join us page.

A New Year With New Rewards…

DSCF2005-web

Although there’s the slight smell of nepotism here, we’re very happy to announce the entire Little Chimp Award shortlist all happen to be members of Hire an Illustrator, yay! The shortlist are all fantastic and very professional illustrators who The Little Chimp Society has worked with or had a degree of interaction with over the last year. The nomination is a recognition of their talent and skill as a freelance illustrator and the winner for Excellence in Illustration will be announced in April. There will only be one winner per year, who do you think is going to get it?

While we’re mentioning The Little Chimp Society, they’ve just release their first printed artzine called Secret Self Volume One. All ten of the artists featured in the zine all happen to be HAI members too :). The zine is available to buy from the LCS now at only £5.99.

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy 2015!

Xmascard_2014

It’s been a fantastic year at Hire an Illustrator and we would like to wish all our members a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! We’d also like to say a big thank you to all of the clients who’ve worked with and hired our illustrators over the period; may 2015 be a fantastic year for you too.

We will be operating a reduced service from 23rd December until 3rd January. This is due to reindeer playing havoc with the air traffic control and a Tribble-style infestation of Christmas puddings. Hopefully the abundance of mulled wine should solve these festive issues without compounding any Jack Frost problems.

Enjoy the holidays and we’ll be back bigger and better with a few notable changes in 2015! Ho, ho, ho and Finlay the office mascot says woof!

A special thank you to the very lovely Elly Walton, who has kindly lent us the above image. You can see lots more of Elly’s gorgeous work in her portfolio. 🙂