In search of pro feedback on book illustrations for self-published book I’ve been hired to illustrate



  • Hey everyone,
    I’m working on illustrating a book that I’ve been hired to do. I thumbnailed out the entire book - took forever - now I’m not overly happy with all of the thumbs - a few a re singing to me but others need work.
    It’s a self-published book , so no art department to bounce ideas off or anything lol.
    Does anyone know of anywhere that might do this sort of thing? I emailed The Illustration Department just yesterday. That’s the only place I know of to start. I’m a little discerning and not just jumping for help from anyone either - has to be someone with some experience in the area and some good skills. I just don’t know where to start looking.
    I really want to rock the illustrations on my first book!
    Thanks so much if you have any ideas



  • Hi @Coley. Congratulation for your illustration job. If you want a pro eye, why not finding a freelance you like, out there (on Malt/Coworkees/Fiverr even?), and ask him/her to give you their feedback (for a fee).

    If I may, why don't you post your thumbnails here to get feedback from the community? Seems to me a great way to get a fresh eye on your work 🙂 .

    Have a nice day.



  • Congratulations on the project @Coley!

    I agree with @Gaelle-Grizzly , ask the author if they’re okay with you sharing sketches with your art friends for feedback, similar to having an art director review art for the majors.



  • @Coley I went to a local SCBWI conference and they recommended that we find critique groups with other artists that are at a similar level in their career and skill levels as yourself to form a group with. What's nice about a small group is that it's easier to get quick feedback from each other and bounce of ideas! If you don't have a critique group already I highly recommend it, because even after you've produced a few books, you'll still want to peer review your art with others.

    For this book, I understand if the client (or you) didn't want to post the unpublished work on what's really a public forum. Although, since it is a self-published book, it might be in their interest to allow you to basically promote your book through sharing it on the forum and getting feedback, I'm sure some of the students here would end up being interested in it and wanting to purchase it. 🙂

    Anyway I didn't really answer your exact question, but wanted to give you some ideas to set you up for the future ❤



  • Thanks peeps! Some good ideas! I do have a great critique group but hadn’t shared anything there yet 😜. Getting around to that this weekend. I guess I was wanting something that would push me really past boundaries etc from someone who’d been in the biz for a while in addition to the critique group. I’m a bit torn on whether to share in a public forum yet (obviously would talk to author about that first).
    Thanks for the insights!



  • @Coley Big congratulations with the new book project!
    You can probably let your critique group know that you need some really hard push to take you past boundaries. hehe... I hope you get a critique session with IllustrationDept. Giuseppe is a great teacher.

    When I did my first book, I did not aware the existence of IllustrationDept, nor did I had a critique group back then. I reached out to a few pro illustrators, and ask if they could help me with the book. I got a pro illustrator who is willing to mentor me throughout the process, but turned out he was super busy during that period, so we had to cancel the plan the last moment. I was still very grateful for that, and know the possibilities are there for future projects. In the end, I got some help from a very experienced illustrator at the co-creative space I had my studio before Covid. I literally went over to his office and knocked on the door. We had lunch together a couple of times, and talked about my rough sketches, and colour comps: value, composition, and storytelling, etc... It was very helpful!!!

    My point is that if your schedule allows, you could also reach out to people (artists you admire, pro artists in your community) who does not provide the service of giving critique, or mentoring, and just knock the door and ask, and see what happens.



  • @xin-li thanks so much 🙂. I did book a picture book dummy consult with Shawna Tenney, it’s next week. I’m so excited! I did her course here at svs last year too. She seemed to me to be a very good communicator!
    Thanks for the reply, the more we share, the more we all benefit, so it’s very much appreciated!


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