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Guidelines for Illustrators

Orca Book Publishers accepts submissions from Canadian artists and illustrators who wish to work with some of Canada's best authors for young people. We require artists to illustrate full-color picture books and full-color covers for our fiction titles, including first chapter books, juvenile fiction and books for young adults. We also require illustrators for black-and-white interior images for the Orca Young Reader and Orca Echoes series. These are sketches, typically rendered in pencil, and are used to interpret the story.

Our publishing program varies in its scope from books with realistic situations and milieus, historic and contemporary, to humorous stories that tickle the funny bone.

When we review a portfolio we look for art that is either realistic, or abstracted and stylized to any degree, but executed in a professional manner, consistent with the high standards of children’s publishing in Canada. We look for accomplished drawing and execution in the chosen medium. The ability to create a believable, individual character is essential, as is the ability to understand, interpret and illustrate a literary text. Character development, consistency and accurate, thorough research are important. We always need to see images of children interacting and showing emotions. Conventional cartoon or animation styles are not needed.


Send samples of your work in a self-contained, labeled folder in the following formats:

  • 4 to 8 color copies, digital color proofs, tear sheets, press sheets (Please be sure to include your name and contact information on each sheet.)
  • 1 copy of any published book or set of folded and gathered sheets
  • Any number of images on a CD in jpeg, tif or pdf format

Web portfolios are also accepted.

Do not send:

  • Original art
  • Any material that you need returned

Mail to:

Art Director
Orca Book Publishers
1016 Balmoral Road
Victoria, BC, V8T 1A8

Thank you for considering Orca Book Publishers. And good luck in your search for the right publisher for your artwork.

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