Illustrating books for your portfolio - ok?



  • I know a lot of people do this and Id love to throw my cards in the game. My question is should you illustrate books in the public domaine or is it alright to showcase more current, but still owned works?



  • I think it’s fine to do more current books. Just depends on your intentions. If it’s a study or to add to your portfolio it’s fair game. Now trying to sell it is where it gets sticky. There is a great episode on 3 point perspective podcast about doing fan art and the whole copyright line.

    Hope this helps.


  • Pro

    @kaitlinmakes I have a couple of Harry Potter scenes in my portfolio! I'm not selling them or anything, it's perfectly fine.



  • I agree, nothing wrong with using a story you liked for your portfolio. It shows how well you can tell a story: chances are that the person seeing your portfolio knows the story which makes it easier to judge how you tell a story with your art.



  • I think it's fine. As long as you're not selling it, you can do what you like. I'd like to get round to doing something like this myself with some classic fairy tales.



  • It's fine - just don't attempt to sell anything that is derived from something other than public domain works. Good luck!



  • @kaitlinmakes I'm sure it's fine to do alternate covers to famous books as creative exercises. Just don't sell them. Unless you call it 'fanart' and go to a comic convention 🙂

    Seriously, though, I think there was a three point podcast on the topic and a supporting thread somewhere on the forum.

    I wouldn't worry too much about it, though.



  • It should be fine as long as you do not intend to sell them, but even then, doing a commission would be fine as well as long as you do not copy another artists work.

    And definitely do them if you want to get a job as a book cover artist as an editor will NOT hire you just on your word, you will have to prove that you can do what you can do with samples.

    Great Question!


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