Childrens Book Illustrator








What is a Childrens’ Book Illustrator?

A Childrens’ Book Illustrator is a person who specialises in creating pieces of artwork which will correspond or explain the story in a book. 

A Childrens’ Book Illustrator may create colourful works of art for a story-book or sometimes one-colour pieces for a text book.

Traditionally, illustration techniques include hand-rendered creations eg:  watercolour paintings, pen and ink drawings, airbrush art, oil paintings, pastels and lino or wood cuts.  An illustrator works together with the writer/author.

In South Africa, finding an illustrating job in a publishing house is quite hard, so most Childrens’ Book Illustrators work from home or in a private studio.

What does a Childrens’ Book Illustrator do?

  • meets with publishing houses and authors to discuss their brief and requirements
  • researches visuals and makes preliminary sketches to present to publishing house/author
  • executes final pieces of artwork in colour
  • makes amendments and/or re-creating pieces if publishing house or author are not satisfied
  • works on the computer
  • meets deadlines
  • sends out invoices and collects payments
  • keeps records

Are you … ?

  • extremely talented?
  • a person who loves drawing and painting?
  • imaginative?
  • dedicated and hard working?
  • deadline driven?
  • organised?
  • reliable?
  • self motivated?
  • neat?

How do I become a Childrens’ Book Illustrator?

Although training is not required for this job, it is highly recommended to jump-start your career with training in Fine Arts or Graphic Design.

Drawing, painting and the use of computer programmes such as Photoshop to help create layouts or compositions are very important. 

If you are not considering studying further, then it is advised to create pieces every day to build up an extensive and varied portfolio so that you can show publishing houses what you are capable of.

Most universities in South Africa offer a Bachelors in Fine Art. 

Here is a list of all the places you can study Graphic Design:



  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scamsmake sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Fine Artist … or … Make-up Artist … or … Graphic Designer

Is becoming a Childrens’ Book Illustrator the right career choice for me?