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Hi, this is Laura Lee Griffin.
And this is Nikki May with the Startist Society, inspiring you to stop getting in your own way and start building an art biz and life that you love.
We are artists who believe strongly in the power of community, accountability, following your intuition, taking small actionable steps and breaking down the barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you stuck.
Follow along with us on our creative business journey as we encourage you on yours.
Last week, we introduced you to Mel Armstrong, a surface pattern designer, children’s book illustrator and top Skillshare teacher, among many other things. So if you haven’t had a chance to listen to that episode yet, be sure to check it out. Today, she’s back to share with us her five best tips for getting started with children’s book illustrations. Mel, what’s your first tip?
My first tip is to research picture books. And if you’ve got kids, that’s an easy one, you just jump into their bedroom and have a look at all their books. Look at the composition, look at the how the words and the pictures fit together to tell the story. And the pacing of the story is really important. If you don’t have books at home, go to the library, but just yeah, really research books.
My second tip would be to build a portfolio of illustrations that interest you, not illustrations that you think should be in your portfolio. I think if you’re drawing illustrations that you feel joy with and you enjoy doing, they’re going to be at a much higher standard than pictures that are what you think should be in your portfolio, I guess. And, and this is more for people starting out and building their portfolio. So once you’ve got that I’ll go to tip number three is to submit them to publishers. And I think you should have at least 15 illustrations that you can share. And make sure you check the publisher’s website for submission guidelines and make sure you stick to the guidelines.
When you say you have you should submit 15, do you mean of the same character? Or do you mean different characters?
I would submit at least 15 of different, a combination of different spreads, of different characters, different landscapes, different… yeah.
Okay, got it.
My next tip would be to share your work on social media. And I feel that Instagram is the best place for that, to get work. So, I’ve received lots of work through Instagram, I just think it’s the best platform for that.
And my last tip would be to diversify your income sources. So, find other ways to bring in income. If you’re just starting out and you’re working, maybe try and work part time while you’re building up your business. Or delve into surface pattern design and license stuff. Sell digital products. You could sell prints and you could teach online if you had some skills in something. Just so that it would, you know, build up your income in other ways. It’s very hard to have a full-time career just being a children’s book illustrator.
Yeah, that totally makes sense. Mel, thanks so much for coming back and sharing your tips with us for children’s book illustration.
Thank you, it was nice chatting.
To get a downloadable PDF with Mel’s tips and tricks, visit startistsociety.com/childrensbooktips.
Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.
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