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Q&A: Images are an integral part of your book, but how do you find an artist for creating them?

Q: “How do you find an artist for images in a text or trade book? Who pays? At what point is the art done? If the images are an integral part of the book, how does all of this work?”

A: Elsa Peterson, Freelance Editor, Norwalk, CT:

“Most of my experience is in college-level textbooks. In that industry, it is typically the publisher who hires the artist to render the images. The cost may come out of the author’s royalties or it may be part of the publisher’s investment, or some of both, depending on the terms of the author’s contract. Naturally the author is asked to submit ‘scrap’ (rough sketches, diagrams, and/or copies of similar images to what is desired) for the artist to work from. The author also typically gets to approve/suggest modifications to the renderings before they are final.

In trade book publishing, my impression is that many agents and publishers like to see the art already in place when the proposal is submitted if it’s a book that is going to include visual images. This means that the author would be footing the cost up front. To find an artist, you might start with the Graphic Artists Guild.”

A: Gary Musser, author of Mathematics for Elementary Teachers: A Contemporary Approach:

“When I was working on the first edition of my math book for elementary teachers (Wiley – Musser, Burger, Peterson), a student of mine asked if I needed some illustrations for our Mathematical Morsels. I suggested that he draw some up. His first ones looked like they were straight out of Mad magazine, pimples and all. We worked together to have him soften them up somewhat. His work was sensational. We are in our 8th edition and he continues to illustrate for us as needed. His main profession is teaching, but he is very creative and has a great sense of humor. If you are in need of someone to work for you, let me know and I will hook you up with him if he has time (perhaps he has free time in the summers).”