During the Golden Age of animation, many animation artists moonlighted as comic book artists. Contemporary industry artists still moonlight except instead of comic books, the hottest gig nowadays is as a children’s book illustrator.
Giuseppe Castellano, a senior art director at Penguin US, is well aware of this trend, and has compiled a helpful blog post with advice from a dozen animation artists who also work as children’s book illustrators.
While the pay in children’s books is typically modest, it can be incredibly lucrative if you reach superstar status like animation artists Mo Willems and Jon Klassen did. But even if you don’t achieve those lofty heights, illustrating books is still a good way to supplement an income derived from an unpredictable industry like animation. In fact, Castellano notes that he was originally inspired to put together the post after hearing about the layoffs at DreamWorks.