Guidelines for Artists

Bird Watcher’s Digest is a bimonthly (six issues a year), digest-sized magazine. Each issue of BWD reaches more than 125,000 people worldwide. We use spot art several times per year, although not in every issue. Based on samples we have on file, we contact artists to create illustrations for specific stories.


  • Scratchboard art, watercolor, pencil, ink, and pastels are all acceptable media.
  • Artwork should be on bendable paper stock (300 lb. or lighter). If the art is on heavier paper stock or on board or canvas, we will need more time for its reproduction.


  • Our page size is 5 1/4″ wide x 8″ high. If you are commissioned to do a full page, full-bleed illustration, allow a full 1/8″ to 1/4″ of extra color around the edges. This will prevent a white line around the illustration after trimming.
  • Please plan your illustration to avoid placing live portions within 1/4″ of the page edges. Portions may be trimmed off on bindery.
  • For a one page, non-bleed illustration, the dimensions should be 4 1/4″ x 6 3/4″.
  • For a full-spread (across two pages) illustration, please avoid placing important parts of the illustration in the center, or gutter area (about 3/4″ in the center of the spread). Please follow the above trim and bleed guidelines as well.


  • Please package your artwork carefully. Do not use staples, paper clips, or any other sharp objects when packaging your artwork.

Other Information

Our pay rate for color artwork is from $150, depending on the size and complexity of the illustration. Our pay rate for original black-and-white illustration is from $75. Payment is for one-time print usage. Payment is upon publication and includes two complimentary copies of the appropriate issue.

Please call us if you have any questions.

William H. Thompson, III

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