BtB4 - Illustrations > Finding an amazing artist from among many good artists

This entry was posted on January 28, 2016 by Richard Warriner.

“Finding an illustrator is easy – finding a great illustrator is incredibly difficult!”

A great children’s picture book MUST have great illustrations (obvious and essential really). For our younger readers, mums and dads will often use the pictures to create their own narrative tailored to their own child’s needs.

What does good look like?

Once again we started benchmarking against other personalised books. We quickly realised that this still wasn’t setting a standard that we would be happy with so extended the benchmarking to some of the best known children’s picture books. This helped and gave us a target to aim for.


Where do you look for a great illustrator?

We started by searching the World Wide Web for the best children’s illustrators. Our research was actually made REALLY hard from the huge volume of children’s illustrators (there are an awful lot of illustrators out there!). We knew our character set would be predominantly animal orientated so we narrowed the search around accomplished children’s illustrators that drew animals.

This resulted in a review of over 350 illustrators’ portfolios – and after many days and very tired eyes we picked just two that we felt had the skill and attention to detail to bring our vision to life.

How do you interview an illustrator?

We asked them both to mock up a few of our short-listed characters. We shared the associated story and left it to their imagination to bring the characters to life. Thankfully it was from this exercise that our very own super hero, Adam came through demonstrating an unbelievable talent.

I should add – that whilst our process was robust – I also recognise that we still got really lucky finding Adam. He has an uncanny knack of taking our vision for a brilliant book and then making it even better in reality. Absolutely priceless with the end result being one we are immensely proud of!

Imagination is key!

Adam has been a core member of the team that has brought Behind the Magic Door to life. He helped create the concept around our villain (the Shadow King) and has been instrumental in bringing our beloved ‘Teddy’ to life in the images (take a look at Teddy in the different characters sets – we just can’t but help love him!). Adam also worked with our branding team to agree the best Typography for the books (we actually use four different fonts) and took responsibility for the page layout. The only brief we gave him on this was we didn’t want it to be boring. Well his layout is definitely not boring!

Curious to see what ‘great’ looks like? Take a look and just enter your name in the preview screen and see the characters Adam has created just for you!

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