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Last updated on Nov 16, 2023

30 Amazing Children's Book Illustrators (and How to Hire Them)

If you’re an author writing a children's book, sooner than later you’ll find yourself in need of hiring a professional to bring your narrative to life with stunning visuals. But how do you find an illustrator whose drawings and talent are the right match for your story and vision? 

In this post, we’ll introduce you to 30 of the best professional children’s book illustrators in the industry who you can hire today. If you're short on time and would like to cut to the chase, we recommend taking this quick quiz to get a headstart on finding the right illustrator for your style. 

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1. Zoe Saunders

Childrens book illustrations by Zoe Saunders

Saunders' illustrations are a celebration of childhood's most precious moments. With her  adorable characters and soft color palettes, she adds a distinct emotional undertone to every story she touches. Whether it's with the playful charm of a dog, the solitary wonder of a dragon, or the radiant warmth of a mother-daughter bond, Saunders’ blend of quaint and traditional speaks directly to the hearts of young readers.

Check out Zoe Saunders’ portfolio for more sweet illustrations with timeless charm. 

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2. Amanda Letcher

Picture book illustrations of a fox, goats, and a sloth in nature

Skillfully weaving texture and color to craft serene and playful scenes, Letcher’s illustrations are loved by children and adults alike. From curious foxes on mindful adventures, to whimsical goats at the beach, even sloths lounging in the trees invite us on a journey, as each of Amanda’s children’s storybook illustrations open the door to immersive worlds.

Check out Amanda Letcher’s portfolio for more adorable characters. 

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3. Sara Kuba

Picture book illustration of a kid on a go-kart, one playing with a dino, and two little tigers in love

Often combining dynamic lighting with bright and pastel colors, Sara Kuba has a knack for placing simple, iconic cartoon characters in a tactile environment. Her illustrations are full of life, capturing everything from the ambitious spirit of a go-kart racer to the simple joy of a Viking child and his dragon friend. If anything, Kuba’s work is a reminder for young minds to embrace their playful side and dream big.

Check out Sara Kuba’s portfolio for adorable helpings of people, animals, and… yummy cakes!

4. Mariana Ostanik

Children's book illustrations of bees and kids and little seafaring bears

It’s not hard to spot Mariana Ostanik’s illustrations in a crowd! With her distinctive rounded shapes, she creates friendly, cozy characters with big, bright eyes that quickly draw young readers in. You might also feel how her soft color choices instill her work with a serene energy that invites readers to come on a gentle journey. From seafaring bears to playful ghosts, she knows how to provide authors with unforgettable leads for their picture books. 

Check out Mariana Ostanik’s portfolio for more magical visual feelings!

5. Tiago Mota

Magical illustration of kids and dogs and dragons going on adventures

Blurring the lines between imagination and reality, Mota has a knack for sketching characters who are relatable — even when they have magical powers! His vintage color palette gives these illustrations a cozy, nostalgic vibe, providing a comforting backdrop for all kinds of adventures! His visuals are both grounding and inspiring, and are sure to stimulate a young reader’s innate sense of wonder.  

Check out Tiago Mota’s portfolio for more illustrations that’ll leave you in awe!

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6. Ivett Trazsi

Warm childrens book illustrations of kids in sunflower fields or chasing rainbows

Brace yourself for an explosion of joy and color! The masterful combination of textures and abstract elements rendered through digital media and watercolors, results in “messy paintings'' that brim with life. From dazzling sunflower fields to a dreamy dance on a rainbow path, Ivett Trazsi’s illustrations practically glow with charm.

Check Ivett Traszi's portfolio for more dreamy and heartfelt illustrations!

7. Kelsey Marshalsey

Illustrations for picture books of a grandma, a child playing with a fox and a little monster too

Kelsey Marshalsey's illustrations speak to the softer side of storytelling. Whether it’s the gaze of an elderly person or a jolly monster playing with her woodland friends, the textured colors and subtle expressions of Marshalsey’s images help tell stories of companionship, imagination, and the quiet joys of everyday life.

Check Kelsey Marshalsey’s portfolio for more whimsical and dynamic picture book illustrations!

8. Olga Urbanowicz

A child and her mother going on a horse, friends playing in the forest, a mother and a child sharing a moment before going to bed, a kid and her pet playing

With distinctive color choices and a focus on innocence, life radiates from Olga Urbanowicz's artwork! Whether she’s illustrating nature, animals, or children, she manages to create work that is both bright and soothing. From outdoor adventures to indoor playtime, Olga knows how to capture the joys of childhood!

Check Olga Urbanowicz’s portfolio for more playful and fun images!

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9. Tommy Hardman

Four minimal illustrations for a picture book of children and animals in colorful settings

If you’re looking for artwork that is soft and minimal, but also deeply inspired by nature and adventure, look no further than Tommy Hardman’s work. Whether they’re showing young characters on a journey, or animals frolicking in a field, his vignettes are a delightful display of simplicity and expression. 

Check out Tommy Hardman's portfolio and let your imagination fill in the stories!

10. Nate Myers

Children's book illustrations of creatures in their natural habitat or a dreamlike image of children playing in the clouds

Exuding a serene and gentle quality, Nate Myers’ illustrations, with their soft pastel tones and subtle textures, are a delight to behold. Whether he’s dealing with characterful creatures in their natural habitat or a dreamlike image of children playing in the clouds, each image invites young readers to go on non-threatening adventures (even if they sometimes involve leopards or dinosaurs!)

Check Nate Myers' portfolio for more wondrous illustrations of animals and children!  

11. Marina Saumell

Picture book illustrations of children and animal in woodland villages or the African savannah

If you’re looking for enchanting tableaux brought to life with a painterly quality, Marina Saumell's artwork has you covered. With a back catalog of over 48 children’s books, she has refined her ability to create magical worlds children can’t wait to enter. From woodland villages to the African savannah, her art is a striking blend of atmosphere and pure visual storytelling. 

Check Marina Saumell’s portfolio to enter more magical worlds!

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12. Stephen Stone

Humorous hand-drawn illustrations for childrens book of animals and kids

Stephen Stone's passion for capturing the essence of an author's words is reflected in his characters’ charming quirks. Through hand-drawn linework and textured painting, he’ll create memorable personalities like a grumpy (but fashionable) squirrel, a flock of floating sheep, or bewildered dinosaurs helping a young child learn to knit. 

Check Stephen Stone’s portfolio for more funny vignettes!

13. Caitlin B. Alexander

Collage-like compositions of children's book showing a polluted city and a girl reading under a tree

With a collage-like composition that evokes both nostalgia and a contemporary edge, Caitlin B. Alexander’s style sets itself apart from a mile away! Her masterful use of patterns and texture allows her to create unique worlds and landscapes. This layered approach invites young readers to linger and explore the nuanced details, and in doing so, appreciate the little things in life. 

Check out Caitlin B. Alexander's portfolio for children's book illustrations with a nostalgic yet fresh feel.

14. Mai Kemble

Best Children's Book Illustrators | Mai Kemble

There's something so magical about Mai Kemble's illustrations — and not just because her young subjects take flight from playground slides and climb aboard swans for a starlit ride! Kemble favors a light touch with color and texture, yet each aspect is flawlessly calibrated to bring her scenes to life. Whether a child dreams of becoming a superhero or befriending a family of talking animals, Kemble's art will help them feel like anything is possible.

Check out Mai Kemble's full portfolio for wondrous illustrations to bring out the dreamer in all of us.

15. Penny Weber

Best Children's Book Illustrators | Penny Weber

The illustrator of acclaimed children’s works such as Jennifer Vassel’s I Am Unique, Carol McCloud’s Will You Fill My Bucket?, and Marta Arroyo’s Jorge and the Lost Cookie Jar, Penny Weber has a rare knack for imbuing true feeling into her creations. Look at any one of her stunning pieces and you'll be able to viscerally sense the emotion playing over the character’s face, whether that’s joy, newfound confidence, or grief — you’ll find a reflection of our experiences that speaks to all children.

Check out Penny Weber's full portfolio for realistic children's illustrations with a soulful touch.

16. Andy Catling

Best Children's Book Illustrators | Andy Catling

Children love Andy Catling’s endearing, emotive characters. And Catling clearly loves creating them as well! His precise, intricate linework manages to be incredibly expressive, and he especially enjoys experimenting with exaggerated shapes to make them vividly unforgettable. The end result is a portfolio of lighthearted illustrations that urge you to join in on the fun.

Check out Andy Catling's full portfolio for fun character designs that pop with personality.

17. Katie Risor

Katie Risor's work is nothing short of enchanting. From chatty mountains to slumbering trolls, her art would fit nicely in a collection of fairytales, yet, she also adds smart details to keep each world feeling authentic. With a focus on lighting and perspective; see how the shadows fall in the scene above, and how every object is so carefully positioned in the upper-right piece.

And while Risor is quite adept at drawing imaginary creatures, she's no slouch at people either — each of her human characters emits a certain sparkle, like they could practically dance off the page.

Check out Katie Risor's portfolio for some of the most enchanting, immersive children's book illustrations around.

18. Nate Fakes

Best Children's Book Illustrators | Nate Fakes

Meet Nate Fakes — who is anything but fake! His delightfully witty art has drawn the attention of outlets like the New York Times, and he counts the likes of Disney, Scholastic, and Warner Bros. among his regular clients.

It’s not hard to see why. Rollicking and bursting with character, his art invites its viewers into the exuberant world of childhood. But Fakes’ true gift is his good-natured humor, which comes across in every stroke of his pen. When you unite that with his artistic talent, it’s a formidable combination indeed: one that renders any character exceptional, whether that be a young boy or an adorably misbehaving reindeer.

Check out Nate Fakes' portfolio  for witty illustrations with a professional polish.

19. Claudia Gadotti

Best Children's Book Illustrators | Claudia Gadotti

Claudia Gadotti’s art is breathtaking on both a technical and aesthetic level, lush colors combine with perfectly weighted brushstrokes to create indelible, realistic scenes. The devil, as always, is in the details here. Notice the subtle differences in texture between the robot toy and the teddy bear — not to mention the sheer number of colors that go into painting Trudeau the dog. Indeed, if a picture is worth a thousand words, one of Gadotti’s pieces might be worth a million.

Check out Claudia Gadotti's portfolio for an authentic, traditional style that children will love.

20. Evgenia Malina

Best Children's Book Illustrators | Evgenia Malina

If you grew up loving Quentin Blake’s illustrations for Roald Dahl (and let's be honest, who among us didn’t?), then you’ll absolutely adore Evgenia Malina’s work. In her illustrations, you’ll spot traces of Blake merged with her wholly original imagination. Malina’s scratchy linework lends raw, real elegance and levity to each piece, while her perfectly chosen colors spotlight what matters the most: the characters.

Check out Evgenia Malina's portfolio for quirky illustrations in the style of Quentin Blake.

21. YoungJu Kim

youngju kim's childrens books illustrations

YoungJu Kim’s stunning illustrations can be spotted from a mile off. With their acute sense of location and whimsy and signature use of wood grain, YoungJu’s designs can be relied on to transport young readers into a world of wonder. Her character designs are equally immaculate, as shown by her work on titles like The Little Coach Engine That Could Because It Stopped Sabotaging Itself and Maggie Vaults Over the Moon.

Check out YoungJu Kim’s profile for distinctive and ethereal illustrations for your picture book.

22. Talitha Shipman

No matter what season we're in, Talitha Shipman's illustrations are sure to bring the sunshine. Her warm, playful style is just the thing to win over younger readers — especially those who like to see kids going on everyday-yet-exciting adventures! Fans of classic literature will be especially tickled by the children's book cover shown here. The rest of Shipman's gallery is full of similarly unique surprises; definitely check it out if you get the chance!

Check out Talitha Shipman's portfolio for warm, bright illustrations with a side of gentle fun.

23. Nicholas Child 

nicholas child's children's illustrations

With his wonkily wonderful designs, Nicholas Child brings an explosive sense of fun to every project he turns his hand to. Flip to any page on Noah, Blue, and the Scooter That Flew or Just Henry, and you’ll find yourself stepping into a hand-crafted wonderland.

Take a look at Nicholas Child’s portfolio if you need to inject 50ccs of distilled visual imagination into your book.

24. Kseniia Kudriavtseva

Children's book illustrations of kids painting, dancing, and swimming with whales and turtles

With her flair for cozy, magical scenarios, Georgia-based illustrator Kseniia Kudriavtseva treats every one of her projects like a mini-masterpiece — and the results are always worthy of belonging in an art gallery. With oodles of experience working for traditional publishers and indie clients alike, perhaps her best-known work can be found in the “Courageous Kids” series of picture books, with their cameos from historical figures like Louis Armstrong and Abraham Lincoln.

Check out Kseniia Kudriavtseva’s portfolio to ground your book in a sense of sweet, joyful innocence.  

25. Dana Regan

Best Children's Book Illustrators | Dana Regan

Dana Regan’s clients include Scholastic, Random House, Penguin, Grosset & Dunlap, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster — and no wonder! Brimming with sweet, wholesome pictures, her portfolio is a visual playground for children of all ages. Notably, her artwork celebrates the value of diversity and how we have many things to learn from one another.

Check out Dana Regan's full portfolio for sweet, cozy artwork for children of all backgrounds. 

26. Taylor Barron

Picture book illustrations of children walking with a cat, signing together, playing with Grandma and more.

Taylor Barron's art truly exemplifies the axiom, “Life is like a box of crayons.” Her bright hues rise, ripple, and reverberate across the page — always in wonderful harmony with the mood of the scene. Perhaps that’s fitting, given her background in the motion graphics and animation industry. One glance at her portfolio is all it takes to understand her attention to detail and masterful use of colors to evoke emotions. 

Check out Taylor Barron's portfolio for ethereal illustrations with plenty of charm to spare.

27. Sandie Sonke

Best Children's Book Illustrators | Sandie Sonke

Sandie Sonke’s portfolio will draw the eye of anybody who loves cheerful, appealing art, with its clean lines and limitless personality. Scrolling through her art is the equivalent of drinking a steaming mug of hot chocolate, or viewing a YouTube clip of golden retriever puppies. It will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside, and your day will brighten for having experienced it!

Check out Sandie Sonke's portfolio for feel-good illustrations to warm you up on a winter day.

28. Basia Tran

Picture book illustrations of a child being celebrated in sports, a cover with two kids curious about food, and a lovely grandma cooking.

At first glance, what stands out most about Basia Tran’s portfolio is the sheer diversity of style. Digital art, colored pencil, realism, fantasy: Tran creates magic out of it all, so subtly that you might not realize the spell she’s cast until you've been staring at one of her pieces for a beat too long.

And though their styles may vary, one common theme ties all her pieces together. As Tran herself says, her art is all connected by one thread: her “desire to tell stories that could make you laugh, teach you something new, or even bring you some peace. Best of all, if they could be all of the above.”

Check out Basia Tran's portfolio for thoughtfully rendered illustrations that will make you laugh and think.

29. Nathalie Kranich

With skills honed in the mobile games industry, German-born illustrator Nathalie Kranich has helped countless indie authors render their stories in evocative detail. Though her aesthetic may look darker than some of her contemporaries, Nathalie’s focus on the sweetness and humor of her characters allows her to balance out the look and create incredibly alluring illustrations.  

Check out Nathalie Kranich’s portfolio for more humorous sweetness! 

30. Martina Terzi

Best Children's Book Illustrators | Martina Terzi

Martina Terzi’s gallery clearly demonstrates her uncanny ability to humanize any animal — and better yet, give them distinct emotions. Inquisitive owl? Done! Curious bear? Sure. But what's even more impressive is her composition: the natural color palettes and simple shapes effortlessly harmonize character and environment. Needless to say, younger audiences will particularly enjoy her art.

Check out Martina Terzi's portfolio for children's book illustrations with some of the cutest critters you'll ever meet.

We hope this gallery helped you get clarity around your preferred illustration style, and, even better, find the right person for the job! 

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