Preparing meeting an editor as an illustrator, for the first time.



  • Hi,
    I was contacted by an editor I have a lot respect for via instagram for an illustrated book project (not a picture book, but a collection of children's poems). Since we are located in the same city, I asked her for a lunch meeting to go over the porject.

    I have done art directing for a magazine, graphic design on books in the past, but I have never illustrated an entire book in children's market before. I am wondering what questions I should remember to ask in the first meeting. Here is my list, could you guys think of anything else? or do I prepared too many questions?

    1. How big is the project (page numbers, expected number of illustrations, how complex the illustrations are going to be - full color full pages, or black and white spots)?
    2. What style the edtior has in mind (The editor found me on IG, where I post all kinds of experiments and finished arts, both traditonal, and digital. I would like to know what image made the editor think of me when seeing the proejct in her plate).
    3. Intended age group for the book.
    4. Timeline (when do they want what? rough comps? color study? detailed sketch? final?)
    5. Am I expected to do layout/graphic design work?
    6. Payment model and amount.

  • SVS OG

    @xin-li iโ€™m so happy for you! Good luck!



  • @Nyrryl-Cadiz thank you so much. I was very happy to be asked. Even if I do not get the project in the end, it still shows that someone from the publishing world is interested in my work.


  • Moderator

    @xin-li WoW thatโ€™s great! I donโ€™t have any questions to add, but it would be great if you can share your experience with us after the meeting. Good luck๐Ÿ˜ƒ



  • @burvantill thank you. I will.



  • Wow! Congratulations!
    This is such a great list of questions!



  • @xin-li That's awesome! You'll have to let us know how it goes!



  • Hi, guys,
    Here is an update of the story:
    I never got the chance to meet the editor, but all the communication was very clear through emails, all questions above were answered straightforward. She pointed out the images she liked from my instagram feeds, and I feel like we have a good dialog in terms of the style for the project. The project is very interesting for me at this moment.

    But... ...

    1. the timeline is a bit crazy: a collection of childrens poem, fully illustrated (40 pages) to be done in about 2,5 months.

    2. The offered advance is very low. It is still low after I negociated (It is the largest publishing house in the contry, not a indie publishing house, but it seems like I get somewhat a bit below the rate a pro illustrator would get - not so much though. Both the editor and the local illustrators told me the advance is low in the industry here. I have no clue how childrens book illustrators make a living in Norway, much research needed๐Ÿ˜• ๐Ÿ˜• ๐Ÿ˜• ).

    So the upside is that if everything goes as planned, there will be a book out with my name on it as illustrator in the spring 2020, a book fit my daughtor's age๐Ÿ˜€. The downside is that I will have no life for 2,5 months, and getting very little payment for it.


  • SVS OG

    @xin-li Wow, that is great! I know it's not what you wanted, but it is a foot in the door. And I can only imagine that in Norway the advances are much less than they are in the US. In Italy, they are quite pitiful. I just hope your life isn't too stressful while you compete the project. You're a great artist and you deserve successful books to your name!


  • Pro SVS OG

    That is exciting! Congratulations, definitely let us know how it goes!


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @xin-li very nice! your work is great, you just need to get it out there. If this project showcases your work in a way that makes it shine, you should definitely do it. The money will come after you are proven in a few printed projects.

    Typically an evolution of pro career goes like this:

    1. Attain a great (and repeatable) portfolio of images in a similar style
    2. Gain attention from people
    3. Get into Print any way you can (this is where you are now)
    4. Get offered projects that are each a little better than the last
    5. Finally get paid what you are worth.

    Note: if the advance is low, hopefully there are royalties attached. If not, I hope you at least are retaining copyright of the images.



  • @LauraA @lmrush Thank you for the kind words. It really means a lot to me. I learned so much by being active in this forum, and hearing other fellow illustrators' experience.
    @Lee-White thank you so much for the guidence. I had many years of freelance experience from another creative field (software design) before, not so much related to children's book illustration directly. Your lectures in SVSlearn really helped me to connect the dots, so I am able to take my prior experience from the design field into the world of illustration.
    Yes, I am getting royalties and retain the copyright of the image ๐Ÿ™‚



  • @xin-li thatโ€™s amazing news, please let us know when your books out. All the best with your project I hope itโ€™s enjoyable for you, despite the timescale.
    I really canโ€™t wait to see it.



  • congrats! I really love your work @xin-li
    I think despite the timescale and low advance, it's a nice first step!
    Can't wait to see the book ๐Ÿ™‚


  • SVS OG

    This is so great! I love your work and I hope this leads to even bigger and better things. Congratulations.



  • @peteolczyk @lenwen @demotlj Thank you so much for the support, advices, and encouragement. I will do my best to do a good job, and in the same time taking care of myself.


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