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Guidelines for Illustrations


For our purposes, the illustration program consists of line drawings, photos, transparencies, cartoons, electronically captured computer screen shots, and such reproducible copy as annual reports, computer printouts, menus and so on (realia), all of which are scanned or created electronically instead of typeset. Accompanying legends, which are typeset, consist of the illustration number, title, subtitle, notes, source, caption, credit line, permission line, and all descriptive material.

Preparation of Manuscript

Illustrations are handled differently than typeset copy. For ease of processing, please do not integrate original illustrations with your text manuscript. Place a photocopy of each illustration at the appropriate point in the text manuscript; submit the originals (sketches, photos, or whatever) in a separate illustration manuscript.

Identify all illustrations by indicating author, title, and edition in the upper left corner or, for a photo, on a Post-it note attached to the back. Illustrations are usually double-numbered by chapter (e.g., Figure 2-3 for the third figure in Chapter 2). Unnumbered illustrations (photos, cartoons, and small line drawings) must be identified somehow; numbers and letters work well- for example, photo 2A for the first unnumbered piece in Chapter 2. Readings and casebooks often use a single-numbering system. Be sure these kinds of illustrations are clearly identified (e.g., Exhibit 7, Case 4-1).

All illustrations- numbered and unnumbered- must have text callouts in the manuscript so the typesetter knows where to place them when making up pages. Unnumbered illustrations need a callout on a separate line in the text or handwritten in the margin of the paper copy (photo 2A here, for example).

Legends for line drawings can be typed on the same page as the sketch. For such other illustrations as photos, annual reports, and other reproducible copy, prepare legend copy on a separate page and key it to the illustration number.

If you are preparing line drawings using graphics software, send printouts along with your disks and indicate what hardware, software, and version you used. Name your files clearly so we can find each illustration and include a file directory with your disk and printout. Be sure to label all disks clearly with your name and the title of your book.

Ideally you should submit all illustrations with your text manuscript. If this is not possible, supply a list of all missing illustrations and indicate when we will receive them. (Note: under your publishing agreement, your manuscript is not considered complete until we receive all illustrations.)

Line Drawings

The biggest problem we face when rendering line art is illegible copy, so please be sure your line art manuscript is clear and legible. Keep in mind that, in most disciplines, illustrators aren't familiar with the mathematic, economic, accounting, or historical principles underlying each piece. They don't read the text manuscript for clues; in fact, they don't have the text manuscript. Also note that art studios may assign a large illustration program to several illustrators. Make sure any directions are written on each piece. Illustrators complete their work in batches so they can't compare sketches looking for similarities.

In addition:

  1. Always use accepted units of measure and be sure abbreviations in the art correspond to those used in the text.
  2. Be sure handwritten symbols are legible. Handwritten Greek letters are particularly troublesome; you can help by identifying them clearly directly on the sketch (e.g.,lowercase beta).
  3. Clearly indicate what should be set in capital or lowercase letters. If you have a strong preference, also indicate what should be in italic or boldface. (We commonly use italic letters for math variables.)
  4. For mathematical-type illustrations or whenever numerical accuracy is essential, submit your rough sketches accurately drawn on graph paper or use an appropriate graphics software program. A list of data points also helps to ensure accuracy.
  5. If your book will print in more than one color and the color is being used pedagogically, please use a highlighter on your sketches to indicate what should be set in color or shaded. In such cases, use of color is not a creative issue, and only you know what line, axis, or area needs the emphasis of color.
  6. Work with your sponsoring or developmental editor to determine general sizing directions.

Although line drawings are now done electronically, pieces can be very costly to render depending on complexity and use of color. In addition to the initial rendering fee, studios charge a sizable hourly rate for changes and corrections. If you supply illegible copy or make major changes in the art (including sizing) once illustrations are rendered, we can easily incur thousands of dollars in additional costs and critical delays late in the production cycle. Some such changes are considered author alterations and, if excessive, may be charged to your royalty account. See our section on the Production Process for more details on author alterations.


For high-quality photo reproduction, we need to work with original photographs. If you are supplying your own photos, don't submit photocopies. Try to avoid tearsheets from newspapers, magazines, or other print media. For the best reproduction, we need high contrast black-and-white prints, high-quality transparencies (for color photos), slicks (poster-size proofs of color ads supplied by an ad agency), or high-resolution electronic files.

In addition:

  1. Any indentations or creases in a photo will show up in the reproduction. Therefore, don't attach paperclips or write on the face or back of a photo. Don't staple, tape, or fold either photos or tearsheets. Flaws can be corrected electronically, but the process is expensive, time-consuming, and not always successful. If you have an illustration of questionable quality, consult your project manager for guidance.
  2. Write identification on a separate piece of paper or self-adhesive note and attach it to the back of the photo. If you need to supply special instructions or cropping, show your marks on a photocopy of the illustration, not on the original.
  3. Don't mount photos on heavy cardboard. If you receive them already mounted, don't try to remove the backing.
  4. Work with your sponsoring or developmental editor to determine general sizing directions. You or your developmental editor will be supplied with a photo and art sizing grid provided by the designer showing several sizing choices (A, B, C) that can be used for your photo program. Choose sizes taking content, book length, and design needs into consideration.
  5. Protect photos with heavy paper or light cardboard and store them flat. Ship photos and tearsheets flat and protected by heavy cardboard or use a mailing tube.

Finally, please don't submit personal snapshots. The lighting and composition of such photos usually make them unsuitable for reproduction.

Photo Research

If your book has a large photo program, McGraw-Hill may arrange for the services of a photo researcher. This person will seek out appropriate photos based on a concept list that you supply. While you're writing your first drafts, jot down ideas and mark text passages that you think could be amplified with a well-chosen photo. Then work with your sponsoring or developmental editor to compile these ideas into a chapter-by-chapter concept list. The list should be fairly specific but not overly so.

For instance:

  • "Picture of plane" — too general. A passenger jet? Small prop plane? A plane in flight?
  • Lufthansa jet taking off from O'Hare Airport at dusk"- too specific, too time-consuming or impossible to find.
  • "Passenger jet in flight" — perfect, researcher will be able to find several high-quality photos to choose from.


Or you can indicate the concept being illustrated- for example, "speed of modern aircraft"- and leave it to the researcher to find an appropriate photo.

Let the captions tie the photo to the text discussion. That way, if we can't obtain the exact photo you want, you won't have to rewrite text to accommodate a substitution.

Researching and obtaining photos and clearing their permissions often take longer than processing the corresponding text chapters. To obtain photos in time for production, we need to start the research process during the second draft of a new text or about three months prior to completion of final manuscript for a revision. This should give you ample time to select photos and us ample time to obtain and reproduce them.


When you submit your illustration program (line art and photos) with your text manuscript you will receive art proofs in time to review them with proofs of your text. We check and proofread your illustrations carefully, and we ask that you do so too.

Once your manuscript has been set into type, revisions are costly and time-consuming; the same applies to illustrations once they have been rendered. We will certainly correct errors, but we cannot allow cosmetic changes or heavy revision without incurring excessive additional costs and jeopardizing your bound book date. You can help avoid such problems by supplying accurate, readable, and production-ready illustration manuscript.