Super illustrators have super portfolios! Dec 21 2017

Advice and call outs

"So how can I make my illustration portfolio stand out to book publishers?" - As illustration agents, we hear this question just about everyday, even from some of the most talented children's book illustrators out there.  Our illustration agents have chimed in to give advice on how you can make your portfolio appeal to a wider range of children's book publishers:

1. Diversity! - children's book publishers often look for artists who can offer a wide range of characters, themes, and scenery so it's important to make sure your portfolio consists of strong characters as well as strong scenery.  It's great if you can offer up characters of various ethnic backgrounds and ages too in order to appeal to just about every audience.  When it comes to themes, it's great to have a passion for specific content (for example, some artists are drawn to princess/fairytale stories), however, publishers are always interested in artists who are able to work in various themes and styles.  If your illustration portfolio consists of too much of the same thing, it can start to feel redundant so be sure to mix it up with some strong characters, various themes, and various age ranges.

2. Consistency! - alright so I know we just told you it's good to have a diverse portfolio, but being consistent is also important.  Publishers want to make sure that the quality of work you produce is consistently strong and interesting.  Also, when producing children's books, publishers want to make sure the characters are consistent from one page to the next so showing the same character in various poses and settings can show that you are able to reproduce the same character consistently.

3. Volume! - a strong portfolio is typically not small.  You don't need to have hundreds of artworks to have a strong portfolio, but having a small portfolio of 20 illustrations or less will also be a hindrance to your success.  We consistently request new work from the artists we represent and encourage them to add as much new work to their portfolio as possible.  If you have a portfolio of 20 strong images that's great but definitely keep it going! As an illustration agency, we are meeting with children's book publishers on a weekly basis and they are always looking for fresh new illustrations so if your portfolio has consisted of the same 20 images for several months, it's definitely time to churn out new work.

4. Creativity! - so i'm sure it goes without saying that a fantastic illustration portfolio features some truly creative work.  Art Directors view many portfolios on a daily basis so it's important to make sure yours stands out among the piles of art they look through.  Everyone loves a good fairytale, but it's also good to break away and explore more unexpected themes.  Incorporate unique perspective, or be a little funny - after all, children's books should be fun!  Nothing is better than meeting with clients and watching them stop to laugh at a truly hilarious illustration in an artist's portfolio!  Humor and unique perspective will make you memorable so be sure to have a few special illustrations included in your portfolio.


Our illustration agents have selected a handful of their favorite children's book illustrations by some of the wonderful illustrators we represent to give you an idea of what strong portfolio work looks like.  We hope this helps to spark a bit of creativity as you develop your children's illustration portfolio!

Interested in being represented by our illustration agency?! Don't hesitate to reach out to us and share your best illustrations - we're happy to take a look at your portfolio!