Professional training necessary for becoming a children's book illustrator?

  • Hello, all

    I am currently a full-time mom and graduate student. As I found that I would no longer want my passion to be drained into academia, I'm seriously thinking of changing my career into a completely different path - children's book illustrator as I write in the title - after the graduation scheduled around the end of this year, which means that I have several months to research and prepare my transition to a new career.

    I have no background in fine art/design but I simply love doodling, coloring, and storytelling. Based on your experiences, do you recommend to go through a training, for example a certificate program? or taking a bunch of online courses/live critiques can complement this lack of a training in background?

    I'm also wondering whether anyone here can share your experience to get a chance to work without an official training, like preaching only through the presentation of portfolios, either book or online? or attending SCBWI conference and make some connections there?

    Any comments/advice will be greatly appreciated!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Hi Ren,

    Have you taken Will and Jake's children's book class? They have all sorts of info in there.

    Some easy recommendations:

    • Join SCBWI before doing anything else:
    • Watch Will and Jake's children's book class
    • Go to a few SCBWi conferences to get a feel for it.
    • look to your local college to see if they offer a night or weekend class on book illustration. These classes are typically cheap don't require you to be enrolled in the actual degree program. (note: in this industry no certification is needed at any point).
    • Adjust your path as needed.

    As a beginner, be prepared for this transition to take between 3-6 years to get into the industry. It will take at least a couple of years just in training the art skills no matter which route you go (online, brick and mortar, etc.).

    Good luck!

    • Lee

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