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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Debbie Ridpath Ohi FAQ > Hiring Me To Do Work > I have written a picture book and plan to send it out to publishers. Will you illustrate it?

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This is a list of questions I am frequently asked. Here's a list of links to my more popular pages. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie


In most cases, publishers want to choose their own illustrator. While there are exceptions, submitting an author-illustrator package where two different people are involved could actually count against you (and could mark you as an amateur). An editor may like the story and not the art, and although some may let you know about this, others may figure it's too complicated to try to separate the writer and illustrator (seeing if you're open to the idea, etc.) and just give your book a pass. Harold Underdown has some great advice about picture books and illustrations.

I've been approached quite a few times in the past year with this question. In 99% of the cases, the authors promise me "a cut" once they've sold the book. Some offer an upfront fee but warn me they can't afford much.

I've said no in all cases so far. Reasons:

- I already have several book projects lined up and have very limited time.

- I need to LOVE the story. When I illustrate a book, it's not just a job. I want to help promote the book afterward. Plus I'll be spending many hours/days/weeks working on the project -- I want to be totally on board, else I'm not going to be able to put all my heart into it.

- I don't work on spec.

If you're a publisher with a book for me to illustrate, please contact my agent: Ginger Knowlton at Curtis Brown.

Last updated on February 29, 2012 by Debbie Ohi