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How long does it take to illustrate a children's book?

Well, that depends on a few things!


Assuming your story is ready to go (if it's not, that's okay! We'll just need to factor in some time for that), here's what we would consider:


Style

If you want your finished book to have a super realistic style, that's going to take a bit longer than a cartoony style. Likewise, if you have complex backgrounds, that'll take longer to draw than basic backgrounds.


Full spreads vs spot illustrations

If you want each page of your book covered edge to edge with artwork, that's going to take a bit longer than if you want every page to have a spot illustration with the rest of the page white. (I usually recommend a mix of both, for maximum impact and excitement!)


Length

The average children's book is 32 pages, but your story may work best with more, or less pages. Usually I can get through 2-3 pages every week, plus a few extra weeks for planning and putting together your book. So the more pages, the longer you can expect your project to take.


Curve balls

If you have a vision for an out-of-the-box book, maybe you'd like cutouts, or pull-out sections, these can take a bit of extra time to get right. Don't worry! It's still totally doable, but we'll factor in some extra time to make it perfect!


Last minute changes

On the odd occasion, you might see your completed book, and then have a brilliant idea of something to add to it! That's okay, we can make it work - there's nothing we can do with a little extra time!


Deadlines

Ultimately, you get to decide when you need your book finished by, and you'll be able to find an illustrator who can work within whatever time constraints you have. I always do my best to work within any timeframes you have in mind, but I am only human...


As a general rule, I tell clients to expect a 32-page children's book to take 3-4 months to complete. This includes time to create the art, complete the layout, and work on any tweaks that may pop up. It gives us enough time so that we aren't rushing your artwork and we have time to get it exactly the way you imagined.


After I've done my part, then it's over to the printers. Sometimes they'll need small things changed so that your book looks the best it possibly can, and then of course they need time to have you approve a proof copy, actually print your books, and ship them to you, or your distributor. All of this can take a while, I usually say to expect it to be at least one month from sending our ready-to-print file, to having your books in your hands. But of course, every printer is different!

A children's book illustration of a cat asleep on a pile of books.

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