5 Tips for Pricing Kids' Book Illustrations
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 5 min read


  1. Assess the complexity of the project
  2. Evaluate your experience and skill level
  3. Consider the market and competition
  4. Factor in time and resources
  5. Negotiate with the client

Setting the right price for your artwork can be a bit tricky, especially when it comes to commissioned illustrations for children's books. It's not just about putting a value on your time and skills but also about understanding the specifics of the project, market dynamics, and the expectations of your client. This guide provides five practical tips to help you navigate the pricing landscape for children's book illustrations.

Assess the Complexity of the Project

Before diving into numbers, take a moment to evaluate the intricacies of the project you're about to take on. This will give you a good sense of what the task entails and how much effort it will require.

Determine the Number of Illustrations

One of the first things you should do is to calculate how many illustrations the book will need. As a general rule:

  • Picture books typically require around 12 to 16 illustrations.
  • Chapter books might need anywhere from 10 to 50 illustrations, depending on the length of the book and the complexity of the story.

Identify the Level of Detail Required

Next, think about the complexity of each illustration. A simple sketch of a cuddly bear will take less time than a detailed, full-color spread of a bustling jungle scene. Be sure to factor in:

  1. Color usage: Full-color illustrations are more time-consuming than black-and-white sketches.
  2. Character complexity: The number of characters and the amount of detail in each character can significantly impact your workload.
  3. Background detail: A detailed background requires more work than a simple or abstract one.

Once you've got a handle on the number and complexity of illustrations, you'll be better prepared to start pricing commissioned illustrations for children's books. Remember, every project is unique, so it's okay to adjust your prices based on the task at hand.

Evaluate Your Experience and Skill Level

After assessing the project's complexity, it's time to take a good look in the mirror. Your experience and skill level play a big role in pricing commissioned illustrations for children's books.

Consider Your Portfolio

Take a moment to review your portfolio. The quality and diversity of your previous work can influence how much you can charge for a project. For example:

  • Novice illustrators: If you are just starting out, you might need to price your work a bit lower to attract your first clients.
  • Seasoned professionals: If you have a strong portfolio filled with diverse projects, you can command a higher price.

Reflect on Your Unique Skills

Also, consider your unique skills. Do you specialize in a particular style? Can you create illustrations that are particularly engaging for kids? These can be:

  1. Specialized art styles: If you have mastered a unique art style that's in demand, you can charge a premium for it.
  2. Storytelling abilities: If your illustrations have a remarkable ability to bring a story to life, this is a valuable skill that can justify a higher price point.

Remember, the more you bring to the table, the more you can justify charging for your commissioned illustrations. Just make sure to always deliver value to your clients, and your reputation—and pricing power—will grow over time.

Consider the Market and Competition

Once you've examined your own skills and experience, it's essential to zoom out and look at the wider picture. The market and competition are important factors to bear in mind when pricing commissioned illustrations for children's books.

Understand the Going Rates

Are you aware of the going rates for book illustrations? Knowing this can help you find a starting point for your own pricing. Here are some tips:

  • Research online: You can find a wealth of information online about pricing for book illustrations. Just remember, these are ballpark figures and may vary depending on the specifics of the project.
  • Talk to peers: Connecting with fellow illustrators can give you a sense of what they charge and why. You might discover some pricing strategies you hadn't thought of!

Consider Your Competition

Who are your main competitors in the children's book illustration market? Understanding their offerings and pricing can be informative:

  1. Competitor offerings: Look at what your competitors provide for their prices. Are they offering anything you're not? Could you add more value to your services?
  2. Competitor pricing: If your competitors are charging far less or more than you, think about why that might be. Are they more experienced, or perhaps they're just starting out? Use this to guide your own pricing.

In the end, remember that while it's important to stay competitive, don't undervalue your work. You're unique and so is your art. Consider the market and competition, but ultimately, price your work according to its worth.

Factor in Time and Resources

When pricing commissioned illustrations for children's books, it's important to take into account the time and resources you'll need to complete the project. This is where you start counting the hours and adding up the costs.

Estimate Your Time

How long does it usually take for you to complete an illustration? Time is money, after all. Here are a couple of things to think about:

  • Sketching and conceptualizing: This is the first step in illustrating. It involves brainstorming, sketching, and refining your idea before moving on to the final piece.
  • Finalizing the illustration: This is the part where you bring your sketch to life. Depending on the complexity and your personal pace, this can take quite a bit of time.

Consider Your Resources

Aside from time, you also need to factor in the cost of resources. Here's what you need to consider:

  1. Materials: Whether you're drawing on paper or digitally, you'll have to account for the cost of pencils, paper, software, or any other materials you use.
  2. Overhead costs: Don't forget about the costs related to your workspace, electricity, and internet. These might not seem significant, but they do add up over time.

In the end, pricing commissioned illustrations for children's books isn't just about setting a price. It's about ensuring that you're fairly compensated for your time, effort, and resources. So, make sure you factor these in when setting your rates.

Negotiate with the Client

When you're pricing commissioned illustrations for children's books, the conversation with the client is key. This is the stage where you present your price and discuss it with the client. Here's how you can navigate this crucial part of the process.

Present Your Price Confidently

Once you've assessed the project, evaluated your skill level, considered the market, and factored in your time and resources, it's time to present your price. Remember, you've done your homework, so stand firm and confident. Here are a few pointers:

  • Be transparent: Break down your price and explain why you've arrived at that number. This demonstrates your professionalism and helps the client understand what they're paying for.
  • Anticipate questions: Be ready to answer any questions the client might have about your pricing. This will allow them to see the value of your work and why it costs what it does.

Be Open to Discussion

Negotiation is a two-way street. It's not just about you setting your price, but also listening to the client's perspective. Here's how you can handle this:

  1. Stay flexible: While it's important to stand by your price, it's also wise to stay flexible. If a client is on a tight budget but you really want to work on the project, be open to discussion.
  2. Find a win-win solution: Maybe you can adjust the scope of the project or agree on a longer timeline to fit the client's budget. The goal is to find a solution that benefits both parties.

Remember, pricing commissioned illustrations for children's books is more than just setting a price—it's about creating a fair agreement that respects your time and skill while also meeting the client's needs. So, be confident, transparent, and flexible in your negotiations.

If you found our "5 Tips for Pricing Kids' Book Illustrations" blog helpful and would like to learn more about the world of children's book illustrations, don't miss Siobhan Gallagher's workshop titled 'How to Pitch an Illustrated Book'. This workshop will guide you through the process of pitching your illustrated book, helping you take your creative career to new heights.