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  1. “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book” (Dr. Seuss)

    After spending hours upon hours creating the content for your children’s book, it is important to take the same care in choosing the illustrations that will accompany your writing. The illustrations are crucial to portraying the story and influencing how the book comes across. Plus, the initial tone of the book and how it is perceived will be judged largely on the illustrations and title, so the importance of finding the best illustrator for your children’s book cannot be underestimated. This article covers everything you need to know as you begin your search for the best illustrator for your children’s book...

    Book illustrator for childrens books

    Key Points to Consider when Finding the Best Illustrator for your Children’s Book

    • Who is the book aimed at?

    • What is the purpose of the book? 

    • What sort of children's books are you drawn to/do you buy?

    • What sort of size would you want the book to be?

    • Do you have a publisher or are you self publishing? 

    • Do you have a realistic timescale?

    Find out more about my process as a children’s book illustrator.

    Finding an Illustrator for your Children’s Book to Suit your Style

    Before you start your search for the best illustrator for your children’s book, I recommend considering what style would suit the book? Researching possible illustration styles in advance will make the search for your children’s book illustrator much easier because you will be able to narrow down your search. If you are struggling to decide on a style, it can help to think about what sort of children’s book illustrations you are drawn to and what you like about these particular illustrations. 

    The style of illustrations for your children’s book will also be influenced by the purpose of your book. If your book has an educational focus and aims to inform, the illustration style is likely to be completely different to the illustrations within a book that aims to entertain. 

    Childrens Book Illustrator

    The illustration style that you decide on could include a particular colour palette or cartoon style. For me, as a Children’s Book Illustrator, my illustrations tend to have watercolour backgrounds that I like to work on top of. Colour is another key aspect to my illustrations and I use bold and textured backgrounds to provide depth and indicate the environment around the characters, whilst the characters themselves hold the emotion and storytelling cues. Find out more about my children’s book illustrations.

    Finding the Best Illustrator for your Children’s Book Based on the Book Size

    It is vital to know exactly who your book is aimed at and the specific age range that you are targeting because this will influence not only the content of your book but also the book word count and size. As a general rule, books aimed at babies have less than 300 words, books for toddlers less than 500 and for books for nursery children, a maximum of 1000 words. In addition to influencing the word count, the size of children’s books are also normally based on the age rather that they are aimed at:

    190x190mm – Up to 2 years

    178x250mm – Between 2 and 5

    254x203mm – 5+

    Illustrator for childrens books

    Being clear on the size and word count of your children’s book will help you to find an illustrator who has worked on similar children’s books previously and will also help the illustrator provide you with an accurate quote and timescale for the work.

    The Practicalities of Finding the Best Illustrator for your Children’s Book

    Whether you have a publisher or are self-publishing can influence how you go about finding the best illustrator for your children’s book. Traditionally, if you have a publisher then they will find the illustrator for your book. However, if you have opted to self-publish your children’s book then you are likely to have greater scope to find the perfect illustrator yourself.

    On your search for the best illustrator for your children’s book, make sure the illustrator can accommodate your specific requirements. Before deciding on your children’s book illustrator, confirm that you are both on the same page in terms of:

    • The number of illustrations you will need

    • Whether you want to publish in hardback, paperback, eBook or all three

    • Where do you want to publish your book

    • The budget for your book illustrations

    It is also important to ensure that you have a realistic timescale. Depending on the book size, it can take me up to 6 months to illustrate a children’s book.

    Best childrens book illustrator

    The Best Illustrator for your Children’s Book 

    The illustrations are a key element that will influence the success of your children’s book, so it is vital to ensure that you find the best illustrator for your children’s book. As well as considering the practicalities, it is also important to take into account the style of illustrations that would best suit your book and also the book size. Writing a children’s book is a truly magical adventure, find out more about how I can bring your book to life as your children’s book illustrator...

  2. At the beginning of 2020 the North East of England had just 163,000 private sector businesses, one of the lowest per region in England! However, in recent months the North East has been one of the regions with the largest increase in the number of small businesses starting trading. With such an increase in Northern businesses, and with Little Flowers by Sligo being a Northern business, I have put together this guide celebrating some of the best small businesses based in the North.


    The Importance of Small Businesses in Northern England


    Small businesses are a critical source of employment, not only in the North, but for the whole of the UK with 99% of businesses in Europe being small or medium enterprises. A massive 47% of UK jobs are created by small businesses! In addition to providing employment, small businesses should also be celebrated because of their ability to shift government policies to focus more on everyday people, rather than giant corporations.


    Thank you for shopping local


    Celebrating Small Sustainable Businesses in Northern England


    Small businesses have greater flexibility than larger corporations and can quickly adapt to changing situations and consumer habits. One example of this is the current rise in sustainable and ethical small businesses, which have responded to the climate crisis and the call by consumers for more environmentally responsible businesses and products. 


    Sustainable Product Businesses in Northern England

    Eco friendly stationery - letter writing set

    At Little Flowers by Sligo, sustainability is close to our heart and I am really proud of the sustainable stationery range that we have created featuring my watercolour artwork. In addition to this, we have consciously curated our product packaging to reduce the amount of waste, so that you can purchase luxury nursery artwork knowing that you are helping the planet for future generations. 


    Another Northern business with sustainability at its core is V-Eco Home, Founder Jan is on a mission to encourage people to stop using single-use clingfilm and instead swap to vegan food wraps. Also part of the community of small Northern businesses with an ethical focus is Newcastle-based Awesome Botanical. Awesome Botanical sells natural bath, body and skincare products and this Northern business is fighting against the single-use plastic packaging usually prevalent within this industry, with their focus on eco-friendly and recyclable packaging.


    Sweet Orange Blossom Whipped Salt Scrub


    Sustainable Service-Based Businesses in Northern England


    It isn’t just product businesses who are adapting to provide sustainable solutions, Northern business Massa Therapy is a service-based business who also has an ethical focus. Massa Therapy specialises in environmentally conscious massage services, fulfilling the needs of a growing group of conscious consumers, who don’t want to give up the treat that a massage provides, by using compostable and reusable materials.


    For Little Flowers, V-Eco Home, Awesome Botanical and Massa Therapy, we have all successfully adapted our businesses to respond to the current climate crisis. We run our Northern businesses with a focus that goes beyond simply maximising profits and sustainability has come to be at the core of what we offer as small businesses.


    Community and Northern Small Businesses


    As well as being adaptable and often value-led, small businesses also tend to be a much greater part of the local community in villages, towns and cities in Northern England, than bigger corporations. The sense of community provided by small businesses is one of the reasons why people love to support Northern small businesses. In particular, this sense of community is prevalent within service businesses, where the person providing the service might live down the road from you, or be a friend of your mums and this creates an amazing customer experience and sense of community within the small business.


    Bouquet of sunflowers


    One such Northern business is Wholehearted Florists, a florist and cafe based in Worsley. As a local Northern business, the cafe and florist employees are local people and the cafe is often full of regulars, plus the unique luxury decor and cafe/ florist combo creates a sense of community that you just don’t get in a chain coffee shop.


    When it comes to more intimate services, this sense of community created by small businesses is even more important. Hypnobirthing classes and knowing who to trust in helping to ensure you have a calm and positive birth experience is one such example of this. Samantha Bevington provides hypnobirthing classes and Sam creates this sense of community. Everybody who works with her business, works with Sam, so you always know who you will be working with. As a local Northern business, you are also likely to know other members of the class and this creates a sense of community as you connect with other expectant mothers based in the North of England, that you can continue a relationship with long after your baby is born.


    Small businesses are not just found within Northern communities - they are at the heart of our communities and they are what brings people from all walks of life together to create that sense of community that the North is known for.


    Northern Businesses and Celebrating Surviving a Pandemic


    There is no denying that the Coronavirus pandemic has hit Northern small businesses and it has hit them hard. In the North East of England, on average small businesses lost over £15,000 of income due to the pandemic and in the North West, 6% of businesses have permanently closed down. 


    Furthermore, across the North of England, 70% of small businesses had to temporarily close their doors during the pandemic. This was the reality for Pam, who prior to the pandemic was a full-time self-employed photographer in the North of England. During the pandemic, the photography ground to a halt and Pam began to focus on her side-hustle, Larchmill. Over the pandemic, Pam has worked to grow Larchmill and has now sent her caravan and animal-themed products all over the world.


    With the pandemic being such a difficult period, it is so important that we celebrate the Northern businesses who, like Pam, have pivoted to survive and thrive during the pandemic. 2020 brought a rise in online retail and 39,700 businesses were established selling products online. 


    Celebrating Online Businesses Based in Northern England

    Lets go on an adventure cushion

    When talking about local small businesses, online businesses which aren’t present on our highstreets often get forgotten - but these online Northern businesses are equally worth celebrating! Examples of Northern businesses that trade primarily online include The Cool Crochet Society, where Kelly sells crochet patterns and also runs a membership, helping you to get to grips with crochet from the comfort of your own home.


    Other more traditional online Northern businesses, selling physical products rather than an online membership include CatkinJane, who offer handmade accessories made from beautiful Liberty of London’s fabrics. In particular, the ties made by CatkinJane have proved especially popular and make a lovely gift, with the traditional hand-stitched ties being sent all over the world.


    Patterned bow tie


    If you are looking for a card to accompany your CatkinJane gift, a Northern business can help you there too. Leanne from Elara Enchanted makes beautiful bespoke cards that are unique to you and can even send them directly to the recipient with a handwritten message. It is this kind of personal customer service that makes Northern small businesses worth celebrating!

    A Guide to some of the Best Small Businesses Based in North England


    From the beautiful watercolour artwork that we create at Little Flowers by Sligo and natural skincare products to hypnobirthing courses, florists and hand-stitched ties, the North of England has so many small businesses worth celebrating. The Coronavirus pandemic has brought difficult times for small businesses but small businesses are so so important because of the employment opportunities they provide. So the next time you are considering making a purchase, instead of buying from a large corporation, remember your local Northern small businesses and spend your money where it will really make a difference.