Illustrating children's books is a popular area to break into. Guest blogger illustrator Clare Mackie shares her knowledge of how best to approach a publisher:

clare_mackie_easter_egg_racerI often get asked about how to present your illustrations. What publishers generally want to see is how you would tackle a book layout (this can be in pencil), how a cover would look in colour, and also one double-page spread from your book in colour. Just one would do, there’s no need illustrate the whole book in case of inevitable changes or unsuitability with the text.

What to submit:

  • a book layout (in pencil is fine)

  • a colour book cover

  • double-page spread in colour

Ideally publishers would love you to write and illustrate, but we’re not all blessed that way, so don’t worry if you haven’t got a story. Find a story you do like, rework it to your way of thinking and style, then make an appointment with a portfolio of your illustrations and ideas − the publisher will probably be able to see very quickly whether you’d fit in with their lists.


Another easy thing you can do is to go into a bookshop and check out all the books that your style of work would sit comfortably with. List those publishers and make your appointments.

Here in the UK, the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook (sister publication of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook) has all the publishers’ contact details and masses of good advice.

Best wishes, Clare