How Much Does Book Illustration Cost In 2024?

Illustrations are the life of a book – and no matter how cliché it may sound, readers do judge books by their covers! And for readers’ attention, your book should have upmarket illustrations.

So, how much does a book illustration cost?

Well, this is a common question from an author who has just completed the manuscript and is super ready to publish the book the other day.

However, it is exactly like asking a baker how much they are going to charge you for a customized cake, without even telling them what you want in that cake.

So, a number of things are involved when estimating the total book illustration cost.

At the top of the list, it is the age group that you are planning to target with your book.

Secondly, the style of illustrations and the art majorly affect the pricing. For example, a black-and-white picture does not cost you as much as watercolor art will.

Then, it is about how deep you want to dive into the details of the art. Are you okay with simple 2D stick figures or do you want it to resemble characters from a Pixar movie?

So, in this article, we will discuss book illustration costs and the nine factors that affect the overall pricing and how you can optimize it.

How Much Does Book Illustration Cost?

  1. Basic book cover illustrations cost between $999 – $1300.
  2. High-end, hand-drawn stylized book cover illustration cost starts from $1500.
  3. Children’s book illustrations start from $500 per illustration, but the average cost is $1200 per illustration.
  4. Basic pencil sketches and line art illustrations cost between $700 – $1500.
  5. High-end, custom book illustrations, realistic and wonderous styles cost between $1200 – $1700 per illustration.
  6. Animated 2D and 3D book illustrations start from $1800 and can go as high as $3500 per illustration depending on the movement, transitions and detailing.
  7. Abstract book illustrations cost between $1200 and $2000 depending on the subject and concepts depicted.

Skip the hassle and get a quote for your book illustration now!

9 Factors Affecting the Cost of a Book Illustration

There are several things that affect the cost of an illustration, and we are going to discuss the most important ones that you cannot skip but still look into if you want to lower the price by any bit.

Quantity of the Illustrations

The number of designs, or art pieces you need for your book directly affects the total cost of book illustration services. The more illustrations you need, the higher the price.

If it is just one illustration, then it will obviously be a lot less than a bunch for the entire book.

Even if you have a 20-page children’s book, it will mean that you need 20 illustrations at the least, and then if you get the same illustrator to design your book cover as well, it will only add to the number of illustrations.

So, when hiring an illustrator, you need to have an exact count of how many illustrations you need for the book. Only then will they be able to give you an estimated cost?

The Complexity of the Design​

Next up is the type of illustration and how many details you want in it. For example, if you just want a character’s figure in the book, it will only take the illustrator to design it once and then add different movements and expressions to it.

But, if you want to show a complete scene through a picture, the illustrator has to design the character and its setting.

Then, it also comes to how many details you want to add to the art. If it is plain art, then it will not cost you a lot.

But if it is a design with great detail towards the character’s hair, skin, and overall picture, then it will most likely require the illustrator to work more hours on each illustration, which will ultimately increase the cost.

Technique and Style

The different art style also plays a great role in determining the price of the overall book illustration.

For example, if you get an animation, like the ones in the majority of children’s books, then it will cost you less, as compared to a more realistic design, like the ones in science books, where they illustrate a human body.

So, you need to look into what sort of design you would like for your book. And, if animation can do justice to your book, then we suggest you go for 2D and 3D animations.

But if you want to have near-to-real illustrations in your book, like line art, comic illustrations or watercolor, then you should be prepared to invest good money.

Size and Format

There is a saying called the bigger the mass, the bigger the attraction, and it is exactly the case with illustrations.

If you want a small illustration at the bottom or top of the page, the illustrator will charge you a decent amount. But if you want a design that would cover the whole page, it will obviously take the illustrator more time to design in high resolution.

Also, some illustrators may charge an additional fee for transferring your art in editable formats like .ai, .svg, .psd.

Number of Revisions

No design is perfectly executed on the first try.

All designs and illustrations undergo many revisions until they are finalized.

In most cases, the designer and illustrator compensate the client with free revisions.

Still, if you keep asking for revisions, it will most likely extend the deadline, which will increase the overall cost.

Some illustration service  providers may choose to charge on an hourly basis.

In such cases, if you don’t have options for free revisions, your requests to improve the design may add to the project timelines, increasing your total illustration cost.

In fact, some illustration companies, like Hancock Ghostwriters, allow unlimited free revisions, so the client does not have to worry about the money.

So, be sure that you provide the illustrator with complete details of the design that you want. It will be ideal to share a few references with them to give them clarity on your vision.

Delayed Deadline

You need to have your illustration idea and references together before you approach an illustrator. Hiring one earlier and then holding the project might delay deadlines, increasing work hours and timelines.

Remember that many illustrators take on different work at the same time. So, they will not commit to your book illustrations once your deadline has passed.

Rights of the Artwork

Artists are known for reusing their old art. They make a bit of change to their previously created design assets and sell them to new clients.

But if you do not want your designer to reuse the design assets created for your book, you’ll have to sign a related NDA.

In this case, you may have to buy all the rights to those particular designs. Some illustration agencies may also help you file for a copyright.

While this is possible, this adds to the overall book illustration cost.

Also, you can choose to allow your illustrator if they can showcase your book illustrations as part of their portfolio.


People pay for the experience, which is the same case when hiring an illustrator to work on your book.

We all want someone skilled enough to make our work stand out, someone who can make it look appealing to the audience with the least effort, but we should also know that experience comes with a cost and can be a bit higher than usual.

So, if you hire a highly experienced illustrator, the illustration cost will automatically go high.

Budget and Negotiation

We suggest that you decide on a budget before you head out on the search for a skilled illustrator.

You should also have a little bit of room if the illustrators do not agree to your current spending limit.

But with our experience, we are sure that there are plenty of illustration experts who ultimately come down to the client’s budget or at least find a middle ground.

So, your negotiation skills will be put to the test here. If you are good at it, then you might just be able to crack a good deal for yourself and limit the overall spending.

Looking for an In-budget Illustrator?

As we just discussed, it is extremely difficult to find illustration services  at a low cost because this is time-consuming work that requires high-end artistic skills and extreme attention to detail. 

If you know, we also have a dedicated team of illustrators at Hancock Ghostwriters who’ll turn your ideas into captivating book covers and illustrations.

What’s more?

We have pricing plans to suit different book styles and authors – which means you can choose according to your design requirements and budget.

Wrapping up…

So, planning to get your book published? Remember to optimize the costs by hiring an experienced illustrator while striking the right balance between price, quality and expertise. Secondly, approach an illustration agency with your homework – a complete design brief and references so your illustrator understands what you are looking for before accepting the project.

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