Lisa J. Michaels - Children's Book Illustrator

Ying Cat Canary

Ying Cat Canary

Art versus Illustration:

I take the word "illustrator" very seriously. I believe there's a huge difference between an artist and an illustrator. Art sits on the page. It's pretty to look at and it may move you emotionally, but it seldom portrays actual movement.

It's my job as an illustrator to "walk" your characters through a lively story.

Every page needs to have movement, assisting the author in showing the reader what words need not say. I must give your characters the larger-than-life personality that makes your reader want to keep turning the pages and coming back for more!

Nothing is more satisfying than to hear a child insist, “READ IT AGAIN, MOMMY!"


I was illustrating long before I knew what it meant.

As a child, I illustrated my favorite poems and created comic strips for friends. As an adult, I've illustrated everything from published books and award winning covers to featured magazine stories and retailer website logos.

I have been a full member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) since 2003, and I am the creator and moderator for The Visual Storytellers Studio, a revolving on-line public gallery containing over 40 of the top children's picture book illustrators nationwide.

As a writer, I developed my own on-line interactive critique group, "The Yellow Brick Road," which currently assists 15 accomplished & published writers in achieving further success.

(If you are a serious author seeking a critique group, please contact me to be placed on our waiting list.)

View my professional website portfolio.


I have two styles to accommodate two different price brackets.

1.) My original style is whimsical and very detailed. I like to fill the page with lots of things for a child’s eyes to drink in.

Every time they look at my images, they see something that they missed before, and children love that!

The medium I use for this style is a mix. Sometimes I use watercolor, sometimes colored pencils, but I always use pen & ink, as well as Photoshop for enhancing color.

2.) My secondary style is also very child-friendly, yet not as detailed as my usual illustrations. These pieces have more of a “cartoon” look and are easier to produce and less time consuming.

As a result, the use of this style provides quicker results at a reduced fee (25% less) for the client.

The medium I use in this simpler style is pen & ink with Photoshop only. Samples can be provided upon request.

I am able to produce illustrations at any resolution or size that you desire. I can send work in most any format, via e-mail or regular post.


Please keep in mind that all fees are negotiable, and I am providing this list for the sole purpose of giving you, the client, an idea of what to expect. Every project is unique, and I take that into consideration.

Style #1

For Full Color interior illustrations:

Spot, (single image) - $50
1/2 page - $100
full page - $150
two page spread - $250

For Black & White interior illustrations:

Spot, (single image) - $25
1/2 page - $50
full page - $100
two page spread - $175

Style #2

For Full Color interior illustrations:

Spot, (single image) - $37.50
1/2 page - $75.00
full page - $112.50
two page spread - $187.50

For Black & White interior illustrations:

Spot, (single image) - $18.75
1/2 page - $37.50
full page - $75.00
two page spread - $131.25

Full color cover (front only) - $200
(wrap around) - $275

Cover prices are fixed, regardless of style choice.


Upon hiring, I will send a contract that is for our mutual benefit, detailing all aspects of the project and specifying time limits, as well as covering issues of copyright and ownership of the illustrations.

If you have a contract that you would prefer, I am open to considering it.


Payment will be contracted and shall be paid in thirds.

*1/3 due upon approval of layout and all sketches.
*1/3 due upon completion of all color illustrations.
*1/3 due upon delivery of completed project.

Work Ethic:

I prefer good communication with my clients and provide personal one-on-one attention.

I begin with character development, submitting several samples of each character for the author’s consideration. Once the characters are approved, I begin the layout, consisting of text placement and scene development. Once completed, page roughs are then sent to the client periodically to mark progress.

I often give advice/suggestions regarding changes in the manuscript if I believe it will affect the illustrations and improve the book overall. I have extensive critiquing experience, having written and worked with many authors through the SCBWI.

I prefer to do the book cover as well, however, please keep in mind that it is optional and a separate fee (stated above).

Thank you for considering me for your project. I am confident that together we can make your book the best that it can be...a dream come true!

Visit Lisa’s website, Whimsical Scribbles.

Lisa's prices are current as of her posting date, February, 2009.

Lisa's logo for this site!

alligator monkey

Comments for Lisa J. Michaels - Children's Book Illustrator

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Jun 24, 2008
Giving life to a dream
by: Jenny Shieh

I had the pleasure of working with Lisa Michaels on a recent children's book project. Her professionalism and experience were reflected in the illustrations she produced for my book.

As an author, I appreciated her attention to all of the most important details of my story and how she was able to capture them in her art. It was sheer excitement watching her bring my main character to life.

~Jenny Shieh, author of "Meiling's Dumplings"

Jun 24, 2008
The right illustrator for the job.
by: Chelsea DeVries

I never realized how beneficial it is to have an attractive cover design. Now, after working with Lisa, who recently designed the cover of my YA novel, "Jessica’s Choice," I have not only learned what a great artist she is, I’ve learned a lot more about the publishing business and what it takes to succeed.

Lisa is very amiable and informative to work with. If you need the perfect illustration to sell your book or just information on the industry, she’s who you should consider working with."

Chelsea DeVries, author of "Dream Girl" and "Jessica’s Choice"

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