Salary range for children's books illustrators

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Salary range for children's books illustrators
Illustrating books for children can lead to a lucrative career. (draw ii image by Mykola Velychko from

With pop-up books, board books, touch and feel books and picture books dominating the children's section of book stores, the idea of becoming an illustrator for children's books appeals to many artists. Getting a start in this competitive industry can be a challenge, and salaries can vary from project to project.

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Average Salary

Children's book illustrators may work with a variety of mediums in creating their artwork. As such, the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies them in the fine arts category of occupational employment. The BLS states that illustrators in the book industry earn a mean annual salary of £37,310 as of May 2010.


According to PayScale, an illustrator earns an hourly rate that ranges between £8.90 and £20.10, with children's book publishing joining graphic design, advertising and web development as the most popular industries. PayScale states that illustrators in the children's book publishing industry earn an average range of £8.60 to £13.30 an hour.

Advance and Royalties

The advance check and royalties an illustrator earns on a children's book depends both on the publishing house and how many copies of the book are printed and sold. According to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, a 32 page picture book usually yields an advance of between £5,200 and £7,800 for the author and illustrator, with the illustrator taking a larger cut. Both will also receive between 3 and 6 per cent of the royalties each.

Other Illustration Jobs in Children's Publishing

In addition to actual book illustrations, an artist in children's publishing make work on book covers, layouts, promotional displays and even websites promoting the book. PayScale states that the average salary for a graphic artist or designer in the children's book publishing industry is £23,755 annually.


The salary range for an illustrator varies throughout the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Delaware as the highest paying state for this job, with an average salary of £86,632. California is second at £44,785, and Connecticut is listed third at £40,163.

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