Call for Illustrator Submissions

Orca publishes everything from beautifully illustrated board books and picture books to middle-grade and young-adult fiction. We strive to produce books that illuminate the experiences of people of all ethnicities, people with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTQ+. Our goal is to provide reading material that represents the diversity of human experience to readers of all ages. Orca aims to help young readers see themselves reflected in the books they read. We believe providing young people with exposure to diversity through reading creates a more compassionate world.

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General Guidelines for Illustrators

Orca Book Publishers receives many submissions over the course of the year and aims to consider each one carefully so we appreciate your patience with this process.

It is important that you familiarize yourself with our publishing program before you send us a submission. Please browse our website, download a copy of our current catalogue and review the guidelines below.

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 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 a link to your web portfolio to to the attention of the Art Department. You may also send digital samples (JPEG, TIFF or PDF) via WeTransfer.

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

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