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Nina Rycroft

Nina Rycroft

Blue Mountains, Australia

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Illustration Submission Tips

An editor has a few spare minutes to pursue her slush pile. She’s got 50-plus submissions on her shelf. She pulls out yours. You have about five seconds to make her want to read your letter and view your work.

Keep these tips in mind when sending illustration submissions:
- Spend time getting the person’s name and title correct.
Visit your local library or book shop, the imprint page lists names and addresses of publishers. Or (for Australians) join the Australian Society of Authors, they publish a book each year listing most Australian publishers (names of the art directors, editors etc). Even with all this information I still find myself calling the publishers to get the Mrs, Miss or Ms correct. It’s time consuming but if you get this detail right, you’ll make a positive first impression.

- Type your letter, no hand written notes.
- Follow submission guidelines. Most publishers post these up on their individual websites.

- Hi quality printouts are generally good quality A4 colour prints from Fuji Xerox printers. The For an A4 sized scan 240 DPI perfect. Photo printouts are also good but I find they are heavy, bulky and more expensive to printout and post.

I generally have two mailouts on hand: the first mailout is to all publishers.
- A summary A4 sheet showing 6-8 pieces of my illustration work. I send my sample sheet along with a cover letter (no more than 1 page long). With this submission I include a stamped self addressed envelope to encourage any kind of response. The publishers that get back to me with a positive responses are the ones that I would send regular updates of my work (every six months).

- The second mail out is your full (or only a section of) your portfolio of (8-12 pieces) showing one illustration per A4 page. Updates to my portfolio are formatted in exactly the same style as the original portfolio. be careful to only send what would be appropriate to that particular publisher.

- All A4 portfolio sheets must have your contact and artwork details (art medium, size, title published, unpublished etc.) in the bottom right-hand corner (very similar to the RedBubble portfolio page layout).

- Include your web (or RedBubble) address for publishers to view more of your work.

I set up a Horizontal A4 template in Indesign (a graphics program that converts pages to a PDF format).

Show only one distinctive style. Showing realistic alongside caricature, woodcuts, alongside watercolour will confuse your ‘brand’. Your style is your trademark, if you keep changing it, it will lose its impact.


  • Anita Inverarity
    Anita Inverarityalmost 6 years ago

    Wow Nina you are so kind to share this advice.
    I am very naive about this, as I have never tried it, but I just might one day.
    If someone picks you up, do they then give you a job, pair you with a writer etc, give deadlines (I find this so interesting)

  • CherTheArt
    CherTheArtalmost 6 years ago

    Thank you for offering more information, Nina. You’re so helpful and it’s much appreciated. :-)

  • Rosemaree
    Rosemareealmost 6 years ago

    More great advice Nina thanks for sharing your expertise…

  • bidjara
    bidjaraalmost 6 years ago

    This is a wonderful tip Nina you should paste and copy to the forums in Moms4Art….instant fav…Mel

  • © Karin  Taylor
    © Karin Tayloralmost 6 years ago

    brilliant and generous of you !

  • Rainer Kozik
    Rainer Kozikalmost 6 years ago

    Very informative – thanks so much. I will follow your advise in this maze of confusion called “publishing”!!!!!

  • theolddog
    theolddogover 5 years ago

    thanks for sharing the knowledge.

  • Thanks…and good luck.

    – Nina Rycroft