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!

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.


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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.