This is a question that many illustrators working now are asking themselves. The downturn in the economy has seriously impacted the publishing industry. Many, if not all, publishing houses have cut back their lists quite drastically. This means fewer books are being published. With all the illustrators working today and all the new ones graduating from schools throughout the country and world, there are more artists looking for work than there are projects available. This simply is the reality of the industry.
Does that mean that you should not try to become and illustrator? By all means no. New illustrators with a new vision and vigor are always needed. Projects are out there and books still are being published. I like to look at this gloom and doom time right now as a way of weeding out the talent. Those that are serious about illustration will always be there looking for work and they will get it. The key is to be persistent, focused and positive. Bottom line, if one is looking for a career to get rich quick, then illustration is not the career for that person.
Here is some additional information that I think might be of use to you in your research. I remembered that I had written an article about how to become an illustrator for our AZ chapter of the SCBWI a while ago. Here is the link to it on the SCBWI-AZ website: http://www.scbwi-az.org/uploads/scbwiaz_tj_07spring.pdf My article begins on page 5 and concludes on page7. This should give you a good idea to what is involved and what one’s mindset needs to be in order to begin the journey to becoming an illustrator.
Here is also a link to my resource page on my website: http://www.tanjabauerle.com/resources.html . There a quite a few links to sites and blogs that are really useful for illustrators. I try to add more as I find them so check back every so often. Here is a link to some very good books on my website, that I think you might find very useful as well http://www.tanjabauerle.com/illustbooks.html , specifically the Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market . This book comes out every year and I have not yet updated my link the 2011 edition. The book lists all publishers for the children’s illustration and writing market. There a book, magazine, game and greeting card publishers listed. This is the way illustrators connect with publishers and art directors that might hire them for projects.