Guidelines for Artists

BWD is unique among birding periodicals for using illustrations, not photography, on the cover of each issue. The cover art, however, is the only art/illustration we use in the magazine. We do not commission new artwork and do not purchase art. We use existing images, or request creation of new art for our cover from artists we know and trust. We do not pay for rights to reproduce images on our cover, but do provide a half-page of text for an author bio and statement regarding the species or image, and a link to the artist’s website or gallery. We are deeply grateful that so many bird artists consider it to be an honor for their art to appear on the cover of Bird Watcher’s Digest.

Bringing Your Art to Our Attention

Media and Format

All media types are acceptable, including watercolor, pastel, pencil, ink, acrylic, oil, and digital art, including photo manipulation.

Our page size is 5¼ inches wide by 8 inches tall, for a vertical page orientation, and suitable artwork must scale to this proportion. Images should avoid live portions within ¼ inch of edges. Marginal areas of the image may be trimmed. The finished dimensions of the image should be 5¾ x 8¾ inches, accommodating a text banner and the Bird Watcher’s Digest logo in the top 1¾ inches of the image, however a small portion of the bird covering part of the logo is desirable. Space for content promos (short text blocks) must be available on the image, and room for a bar code must be available in the lower right corner of the image. We will not overlay text onto any portion of the bird.

Artists who wish their work to be considered for a cover of BWD should email a cover letter and link to low-resolution samples of their bird images to [email protected]. As an alternative to a web link, a sample of 10 low-resolution bird images may be emailed as attachments or via a digital contact sheet. Accuracy of the species in terms of relative proportions, number of primary feathers, colors, behavior, posture, and habitat will be considered. Interested artists would be wise to look at our past cover art, at redstartbirding.com/collections/bwd-back-issues, to see if their artistic style matches ours.

If an artist or image is selected for a cover, the artist will be asked to email a high-resolution scan or a printable-quality, high-resolution photograph of the work. Receiving and returning original art through the mail is possible, but not preferred.

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