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: Paul Siegel, Ph. D., Professor of Communication, University of Hartford, TAA President:

“I am not sure if my own experience is relevant to your situation, but here goes… The kind of ‘art’ I tend to use a lot of in my textbook is cartoons. I got tired of paying for permission to reprint cartoons (political cartoons, or funny pages cartoons), knowing I would have to track down the cartoonist or the syndicate for each edition.

So I instead hired a cartooning student at my university’s Art School. Functioning as a kind of theatre director, I worked with her to create the kinds of images and narratives I sought to emphasize or satirize key points in my textbook. [The subject is communication law, so the opportunities for humor are many].”

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 — see http://www.gag.org.”

A: Gary Musser:

“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).”

A: Barbara Waxer:

“I write college software textbooks (Adobe & Microsoft products), where screenshots and concept art are on every 2-page spread. My publisher has paid for artwork without taking it out of my royalties. For charts and the like, the compositor creates it so the color scheme et al matches the spec. That’s a built-in agreement, so I just provide a source sketch using something as simple Office SmartArt.”