How Much Should I Pay a Book Illustrator?

How Much Should I Pay a Book Illustrator?

I want to self publish a children’s book. I have a friend who is an illustrator and I am not sure how much I should pay her to do the artwork. I hope you can give me some help on how much to pay her?

You should discuss it with your friend, and decide on a price that is fair to both of you. Different illustrators charge different rates. The prices are all over the board. I definitely recommend having a work-for-hire contract so you’ll own all rights to the artwork in your book – forever. You need to be able to use that artwork not only in the book, but also in marketing and, if the book takes off, you’ll want to be able to use it when creating related products in the future as well. You don’t want to have to pay additional fees each time you want to use artwork that you paid the illustrator to create. Of course, you may need to pay a bit more up front but it will be worth if you can use it freely in the future.

A sample work-for-hire contract is here:


There are plenty of artistic styles to choose from!

Cindy Lambert
Excellent samples at her website!

Chad Thompson

Bruce Robinson

Dena McKitrick

Gary Watashe
Fees: Charges $20/hour, but will negotiate a flat fee per illustration.

Jennifer Rodgers
Rates “vary depending on size. To give you a general idea, a full-color
8.5 x11 illustration costs $200.”

S.C. Watson
Interior illustrations: $75-$1000 each
Original cover design: $1200-$3000

Rosemarie Gillen

Alison Pitts

Valery Larson –

We do not earn any referral fees or anything whatsoever for
referring you to these illustrators.

WARNING: Many POD publishers claim ownership of illustrations
even though authors paid THEM to create those illustrations. Even if you
don’t use us, we strongly recommend that you *not* pay a publisher to
illustrate your book. If you want to leave their service someday, you will
have a very difficult time doing so because your book will need brand
new illustrations. Publishers that claim ownership of illustrations are
greedy, and should be avoided. They are simply trying to force authors
to stay with them forever.


Should I Pay My POD Publisher To Edit And Illustrate My Book? NO

Agent Wants Me To Pay For Editing And Illustrations

Even Friends Need a Contract

How To Give A Writing Critique…Without Losing Friends

Freelance Favors for Friends

Read More Ask The Expert

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!

2 Responses to "How Much Should I Pay a Book Illustrator?"

  1. pamelaallegretto  September 7, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    As an artist, I have done cover art in the past. I charged $300.00 for an 8″x10″ painting and ceded all rights, but still required inside cover credits.

  2. Michael W. Perry  September 2, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    I fully agree. Buy all rights to those illustrations, so you can use them in any way you like as many times as you like. Any other approach can be fraught with trouble.