Advice to Illustrators

Dear Future Artists for Chronicle Books,

I’ve just returned from the outstanding ICON8 illustration conference, where I spoke on a panel about collaboration with the amazing Susie GhahremaniLisa Congdon, and our Design Director Kristen Hewitt.


From left to right: Susie Ghahremani, Lisa Congdon, Kristen Hewitt, and Christina Amini

In thinking about collaboration and the creative process, I came up with 11 pieces of advice for illustrators wanting to work with us.

  1. The world is small. Be kind. There are lots of talented people in the world. We are looking to work with talented and good people.
  2. Be generous. There is enough work to go around. (Artist Julia Rothman has connected to lots of other talented people.)
  3. Trust is the foundation of a relationship. It allows flexibility, inspires new ideas, and feels good. Think about who you are working with and make sure that the trust is there. If you don’t trust someone, why you are working with them in the first place?
  4. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Unfortunately, I am not a mind reader. But I am an email-reader. And a phone talker.
  5. Do your own style. We are often asked what we are looking for. And in a word, it’s distinctive. So, make sure you bring your own distinctive style.
  6. There are no new ideas. It’s all in the execution.
  7. Send in an idea for a project, not just a link to your website. It will allow us to see how you think, even if the project isn’t quite right.
  8. Do your research. Know what we do, and what other projects that are similar.
  9. Prototype it. Show us a few sample spreads. If you are pitching something visual, do it in a visual way. We are visual people, and visuals make all the difference.
  10. Make a lot of work. Then show your work. Sometimes a specific piece of artwork can inspire a project.
  11.  Stay in touch. Maybe it’s not a match right now, but your look could change or our needs might change.

Christina Amini
Editorial Director of Art Publishing


Christina Amini

Publishing Director for art books and gift products at Chronicle Books. You can follow her at @christinaamini.

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