Want to Create Stunning Illustrations for Children’s Books? These Tips Will Help You Get Started

Illustrations are an important part of any children’s book. Those provide the child with a visual, which improves comprehension. As a result, you will be hard-pressed to find a children’s book with no illustrations. What if you want to create the illustrations yourself for your child? No worries!

In this guide, we will look into some effective tips to help you start creating awesome illustrations yourself. Even if you are just starting out, these tips will set you on the right path.


Illustrations for Children's Books?


X Tips To Help You Get Started With Illustrating Children’s Books

After learning the basics of illustrations, the following tips will help you produce some of your best illustrations. These tips will help you do your best work.

Do Rough Drawings

First off, do not fear creating a bad initial illustration. Remember, your illustration is not done till you say so. So, it does not have to be perfect the first time.

When you have an idea, grab your tools and create a rough drawing. The more comfortable you become with creating a bad first draft, the better you will get over time.

You can learn to use powerful apps like Procreate to hash out an idea quickly.

Take Inspiration

The first step of any creative endeavor is to look at other inspiring work. This will be especially helpful if it is your first time illustrating a children’s book. 

You might love the art style of a particular artist. Check those out, and analyze them. See what makes them unique.

We recommend checking out timeless classics like Goodnight Moon, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Charlotte’s Web. Also, read some of the recent ones. Looking at recent children’s illustrated books will help you understand current trends.

Create a Portfolio Site

Whether or not you have already published some work, having them on a portfolio site is always a good idea. You do not have to create the website yourself. It can be any good portfolio site. Additionally, you can also join a professional community like SCBWI.

When creating your portfolio of work, including some children’s book staple illustrations like spacemen, dinosaurs, pirates, and monsters.

Understand the Age Range of the Book

If you randomly start illustrating, you will be getting good practice. However, for your illustrations to be impactful, you need to understand your audience.

Check what age range the book you want to illustrate for is targeting. It can be very helpful for knowing what kind of illustrations will work.

Find a Workflow That Works For You

Illustrating is a creative endeavor, obviously. And all creatives tend to have their own way of working. You need to find your creative process. Once you find it and work that way, you can create some of your best work.

There is no right or wrong answer here. Something might work for you, while something might not. At the end of the way, it is about finding that perfect workflow that aligns with your personality and working style.

Sweat the Details

Children’s books are often read many times over. So, it is important to pay attention to the details. Adding subtle easter eggs or small things a kid or their parent reading to them might notice on their second or third read is great.

It will make your audience appreciate the book even more. Not to mention it is very rewarding for them as well. Good details in the illustrations in a children’s book also show that the artist cares.

Define Your Style

It is important to find a style and stick to it. Your style is what makes your illustrations memorable and unique to you – think of it like a brand. If you have not developed your style yet, do not worry.

One thing you can do is to draw as much as you can. You will naturally know what you enjoy drawing and your style. A style can be so many things like crayon illustrations, airbrushing, watercolor, photo-realistic images, and more.

Select a Color Palette

As you develop your style, you will notice that having a consistent color palette is also important. A consistent color palette can make your illustrations look cheap.

We are not saying you should only use a certain number of colors for the rest of your career. Rather, there should be a set color palette for each book. It gives the whole thing cohesiveness. 

Although, you can use a dramatic color shift to surprise your readers. Remember, as a creative, it is also important for you to know when to break the “rules.”

Character Development

Character development is very important, especially for children’s books. If you have a main character, practice drawing the main character in different ways.

You could try drawing them with different expressions or putting them in various situations. However, do not make the faces too complicated. Simple faces in illustrations for children are the way to go.

Add Variety

Lack of variety will make your illustrations and, by extension, the book monotonous. A typical children’s book is only 32 pages. So, do not make all the pages too heavy.

If some illustrations are very detailed, add a little laid-back couple. This will give the book and your illustrations breathing space.

Do Not Forget to Ask For Feedback

Feedbacks are a shortcut to getting better. Always remember to seek out feedback. It could be from your friends, family, other illustrators, or even children. Constructive criticism and feedback will help you polish your artwork.

Wrapping Up

As long as you keep these tips and mind, practice as much as possible, and stay true to your style, you will be able to create beautiful illustrations for children’s books.

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