Children’s Book Illustrations: 3 Steps to Illustrate a Children’s Book

Coming up with an idea and jotting it down on the paper as a children’s story is only half of the battle. It may require some solid skillset and expertise in language, but it won’t be as engaging as a picture book. Plain text and words on paper may work on adults, but it can appeal to young scholars when combining it with the best illustrations.  

There are three basic steps to create children’s books illustrations. 

Step #1: brainstorming ideas and conceptualizing

  • Study the story

Being hired to illustrate a children’s book, you need a complete brief having the list of suggestions and actions taken in the book. Make sure that you get free EBooks and leave no part out for later examination everything before starting the process. However, if you have authored your book, you have complete control over what you want in the book. 

  • Take the reading level under consideration

There are different stages of readers that require different styles of illustrations. If you are illustrating for toddlers, you need to make sure that the images truly portray the actions in the book. It must be able to portray the different themes in the book. However, if you illustrate for slightly older age, they likely understand the words are written on the page, and only illustrations of the central theme would do. 

  • Gain inspiration

You can look at different children’s book, which is rich in creative images. You can work with varying styles of art to get an idea for the general appeal of your illustrations. For example, if you illustrate for a younger audience, Dr. Seuss would be a great place to start for inspiration. It is an original style that has paved the way for many creative minds of the time. Try to look for a relatable setting for the story. For example, if you are writing or illustrating princes and knights, you can look up to the art of medieval times. 

Step #2: start with sketches of basic images

  • Start with thumbnails

Thumbnails are basic, small, undetailed sketches that allow you to trace the flow of the book. You don’t have to be precise with it, nor do you have to revise or erase them, because you are planning the basic layout of the story. 

  • Draw the main characters

Character development can be one of the most challenging aspects of developing the visuals for the story. You need your characters to be visually appealing and something relatable for the readers. Try mimicking their emotions and expressions. 

  • Create templates of your sketches

Each illustration is going to cover two pages of your book, which means you need to create a template that can cover those dimensions of the book. Make sure that you mark the spine of the book on the template and don’t place anything important on the part of the sketch. You also need to position the text in the image, so you need to mark the area before you place your characters and the primary setting of the image.  

  • Work according to the text

The illustrations in the book should be able to define the plot in visual form. Try to capture the details in the images to foreshadow the events going to happen in the future. 

  • Make it identifiable

Make sure that your characters have the same appeal throughout the story. Check for colors, consistency in emotions, and expressions, which must be according to the plot of the book. 

  • Share your work with the client

Being the author of the book, it might be easier for you to produce illustrations as you like. However, being hired means you need to take the client’s wishes under consideration. Make sure that you create what your clients require.

  • Give the final details

Detail the rough sketches and resize the images according to the target size. Add the setting and textures of the image to make it visually appealing. 

Step #3: finish with painting

  • Use watercolor paper to avoid smudging

Before you bring your sketches to life, make sure you use a smudge-proof paper to avoid messy edges and images of the illustrations. You can use the charcoal printing method to copy the images on the paper, so it gets easier to trace. 

  • Choose the right colors

Before starting with paints, make sure you choose a suitable color to add an artistic flair to the imagery. You need to consult the author to make sure it provides the best look. Choose colors that best describes the emotions of the text. 

  • Paint

Painting with watercolors provides a lighter touch to the image than other forms of painting. So if you are new to painting with watercolors, make sure you have extra images so you can perfectly paint the illustrations and develop your skills. 

  • Outline your images

To define the images and add details, you need to outline the illustrations. You can use smudge-proof ink to define your images.

Author Bio: Susan Penson is a great writer and loves to write novels on true events. She loves to travel and puts her inspirations into his work. She is currently employed at Eden-Bancrofts as a writer and base her work on realism. Besides this, she is an amazing cook.

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Salman Ansari

Salman Ansari is a digital marketing pro with hands-on experience in the field. His passion is to explore new ideas of content creation to get the brands to have a digital presence in the time of digital mediums.