How To Submit an Illustration to a Magazine

If you’re an artist, one of the best ways to get extra income plus added recognition (always a great boost to the resume) is to submit your work to magazines. Here are some guidelines to remember if you want to try this out:

  • Have a list of magazines that you are interested in submitting your work to. It’s great if you stick to reputable magazines that you’d be proud of being associated with. Once you have this list of magazines, it’s time to get started.
  • Study the types of illustrations that they put in their magazines. This counts as your initial research, and this will help you design your own illustrations so that they could be within the same category as those published in the magazine. Remember, the current magazine illustrations reflect the tastes of the magazine’s editors and lay-out artists, as well as the total “atmosphere” that the magazine exudes. The closer your illustrations get to this, the greater your chances of your illustrations being chosen for publishing.
  • Visit the websites of the magazines you shortlisted. Browse through the website to see if they have posted submission guidelines and policies. If they have these guidelines posted, study them well and follow them to the letter.
  • Contact the magazine. If there isn’t any submission guidelines posted on the website, your next move is to call up the magazine office; their contact information should be listed on the website or written on the magazine itself. Make all your necessary inquiries: whether they accept submissions for illustrations; whether you’d need to submit a hard copy of your illustration or whether you could just send it via email; etc.
  • Know what to ask if you’d need to submit your illustration via email. Email submissions are now the typical way magazines receive submissions. In this case, you should find out the required format that your illustration should take: whether it should be in .jpeg, .bmp, .gif, etc; the maximum file size that your submission should be; etc.
  • Determine whether you will create your illustration through physical tools, or electronically. This will depend of course on your specialty. If you are more comfortable in creating illustrations the traditional way (via paint, pencil, etc) then be sure you have equipment such as a digital camera or a scanner so you could submit your work via email (if this is what the magazine requires; if not, skip this tip). If you are good at graphic design through the use of programs such as Adobe Photoshop, then go ahead and do what you’re good at; just make sure that your work doesn’t exceed the maximum file size that the magazine will accept.
  • Know other necessary details. It’s important that you find out whether the illustration will be the magazine’s property once they’ve accepted it for submission (meaning, you can never use it for anything else without their permission). If this is the case, usually you should be given a higher fee. Talking about fees, you should also of course find out how much you’d be getting, and whether they can use your illustrations for other purposes of their own apart from it being published in the magazine. You could also expect not to get paid for your submissions specially if you’re just starting out as an artist. Consider whether payments are important to you or if experience or association with the magazine is more important.

There you have it! These are some important guidelines for submitting an illustration to a magazine. Remember, you should take note of all your submissions, the dates of your submission, and a record of your correspondences. You should also have a set time to do your follow-ups, and be ready for a bit of rejection, too! Good luck!


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