How to Become an Award-Winning and Published Illustrator

Children’s Books, Picture Books

Welcome to my guest blog series:

Success in the Arts – Touching the Lives of Children

This week I’m featuring award-winning illustrator Lili Avakem, originally from Tehran, Iran and now living in LA.

Over the past year, I’ve had the incredible opportunity of becoming an award-winning and published illustrator with children’s book, Jason and the Crawdad King.   In gratitude for my good fortune, I’d like to share a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

Jason and the Crawdad King - Lili Avakem

Jason and the Crawdad King – Lili Avakem

1.  Set and Maintain a Personal Standard of Excellence

With the right combination of aesthetic and design, you can turn a good idea into a great piece of illustration.  Some of the most important factors are: attention to detail, composition, design skills, quality control, an dynamic images.

2.  Love Your Work

You need to create art that tickles your fancy.  To create value in your artwork, your art should please yourself first.  The heart and soul you put into your work will show in the final product.

You know, I love the satisfaction of creating an image, designing it, going into the whole process, drawing it, and painting it.  That’s what makes me the happiest in life.  Creating art feeds my soul.  I don’t believe I picked art, it picked me.

I also love seeing comments; I love seeing people’s reactions.  To me, that is the real pay off.  I don’t think any artist can live without that satisfaction!

In answer to this question: “Do you think you would create art if you were the only person on earth?”  I don’t think I would, I need to see people’s reactions.


3.  Practice, Practice, Practice

You need to sacrifice many things to reach your goals. Keep illustrating even if times are lean as a freelancer.  Your work will evolve.

4.  Be Professional

Show up and finish projects on time.  Do good work.  Be honest and upfront.  Communicate in a timely fashion.  Be personable, friendly and easy to work with.

5.  Enter Contests

I won a contest through an internet freelancing website.  That award led to additional work to illustrate children’s picture books.  It also created additional exposure I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.


6.  Post Your Work Regularly on Social Media

Magic can happen on the internet.  Posting my work on the internet led to an invitation to showcase my work through RAW in Hollywood.  It’s also led to book reviews and other showcase opportunities on social media.

7.  Dare to Dream Big

In order to create great artwork, you have to start by first understanding who you are and what kind of message you want to bring to the world.  You have to dare the dream and believe that you can create almost anything you put your mind to.  Keep in mind,  it’s not going to be happen overnight.  It’s a lifelong pursuit.



Lili Avakem is a remarkable illustrator who works with a magic wand of color.  At night, she sprinkles pixie dust in the dreams of children around the world.

During the day, she’s a freelance illustrator, character designer, and graphic designer–specializing in hand-painted digital images, using a Wacom Cintiq HD Touch and Photoshop.

She’s always looking for new and interesting projects!  You can reach her here:  Lili’s Webpage


Would you like to guest blog on my site?  Just go to this link and follow the directions!

Guest blogger host, Joseph Drumheller, is an award-winning author and energy healer.  He creates children’s books for Golden Bell Entertainment.   For more info please visit his website at:

Joe headshot color



About Joseph Drumheller

Joseph Drumheller is an energy healer and award-winning author. As a healer, he’s conducted over 2,000 private healing sessions since 1991 and worked six years in a cancer radiation clinic, honing his craft as a healer. He lives in Sppokane, WA.
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2 Responses to How to Become an Award-Winning and Published Illustrator

  1. Absolutely beautiful pictures! I love them! I’m sure she’s expensive, but I’d love to have her illustrate one of my children’s picture books. The first one I did was Little Birdie Grows Up and I love the pictures but hers are even more astounding. I’m working on a second one called Franky The Finicky Flamingo!


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