I am not a natural science illustrator (although I hope to collaborate with one for my PhD work), but am hoping for feedback from this professional community. I think I may have seen previous posts that relate to my question, so searched the archives, but didn't see the answer. However, my apologies if I overlooked it!
My question...I wrote a children's book that relates to my PhD work, which was published last year, and worked with a local illustrator in Maine. I paid the illustrator for his work, but he unfortunately passed away shortly before the book was published.
I am interested in obtaining at least 1 or 2 of the original illustrations, but have not received a response from his surviving partner or the small publisher I used. As illustrators, can you please tell me if you would own the rights to these illustrations, or would I have access to them since I commissioned them for my own project?
Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!