How To Illustrate A ChildrenÔÇÖs Book: The Ultimate Guide

The book creation process is intense, time-consuming and demands a lot of efforts with a highly professional approach. You cannot just sit one day and pen down the entire book story and its design thinking to become the bestseller in a few minutes. You need to delve deeper into the market, ponder on the many aspects that revolve around engaging your target audience and need to evaluate comprehensively. By the time you get on to composing or designing your book, you should have a clear path to follow.

The Basic Elements of a Best-Selling Book

How to get make your book the best-seller locally and internationally? ItÔÇÖs something which every other author or novelist is dreaming and digging about. So, here is a curated list of elements and aspects that altogether can define the success of your book.

  • The Book Cover
  • Clarity
  • Appeal
  • Storyline
  • Uniqueness
  • Well-versed Writing Style
  • Characterization

A Peek To The History Of Book Illustration

Dating back to 15th-century, illustration existed in literature in a unique style. Biblia Pauperum (ÔÇťPauperÔÇÖs BibleÔÇŁ) is one of the renowned example showing a medieval graphic style illustration.

Among other names Bleak House,ÔÇŁ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,ÔÇŁ ÔÇťAliceÔÇÖs Adventures in Wonderland,ÔÇŁ and ÔÇťVanity Fair,ÔÇŁ are some of the names that appear in the book illustration literature. These books with their attention-grabbing features have ruled the world of literature for centuries.

Charles Dickens, a renowned novelist had a deep fondness with illustration. Melanie McDonagh at the bicentennial recalled the deep inclination of Charles Dickens with illustration, in The Independent stating that,

ÔÇťÔÇŽhe gave them an outline of the plot before he wrote the text and he monitored the drawings to ensure that they matched precisely with his own conceptions.ÔÇŁ

The Significance of Digital Illustration In Books

Do you know over a million books are published every year? How are you going to make your one reach to the top- are you stressed about it?

Even though the love for traditional books has been blurred from the heart of readers, who got more inclined towards downloading an eBook, one cannot overlook the fact that books still have a prominent place in the industry. If you plan to publish one you have to pay attention to a lot of hurdles. You might even get connected to professional children's book illustration services.

Nevertheless, you have to focus on areas that can be enhanced a bit to generate unique and promising outcomes. Now when talking about adding appeal to your illustration steps in. With the help of illustrated images, graphics and the crisp of color it carries, you can make double folds on investments. Not only this, according to the statistics, some old books were redesigned through illustration and have found a huge increment in click through rates. For instance:

Miles of Files was redesigned by adding more colors and intense look in the book due to which it received 122% more clicks.

Why To Illustrate ChildrenÔÇÖs Book?

Reading books, on the whole, is a healthy activity for kids and if those books are created with a bash of colors, appealing graphics and illustrated characters, the positive outcomes can reach to an entirely next level. Children's love to interact with coloful and lively objects and by filling their pictures with captivating illustration you tend to stir their imagination and enhance their cognitive abilities. They get more indulged and engrossed into reading the stories.

Different Types Of Illustrations For ChildrenÔÇÖs Books

If you are planning to turn the bunch of words into a nicely presented pictorial book for a kid, here are certain aspects that you must ponder upon before you start designing your book.

Learn About Your Target Audience

Not every children's book is designed in the same way. You need to go through the age groups of your target audience and see which kind of illustration suits them. For instance: if you target the toddlers, the book will have almost 80% of illustration with big bold fonts and graphics. Now if the same book is to composed for children between the age of 4- 7 years the font style, graphics and color selection will all be changed.

Here the pictures should not be too jumbo but there should be space to incorporate l=one-liner content. Now moving on towards the older kids between the ages of 8 years to 13 years, here you have to maintain a ratio of 3:2 of content and illustration respectively. As these kids have the eagerness to read the story as well.

So, here is the graphical representation to understanding the need for illustration with respect to age groups.

Types Of Illustrations For ChildrenÔÇÖs Books

Four basic types of illustration are followed to illustrate children's book.

  • Spot illustration
  • Half-page illustration
  • Single (full) page illustration
  • Spread illustration

Spot illustrations

Spot illustration involves little piece of illustration having minimal to no background. This type is covered keeping the color tone in black and white. In a sketchy style the illustration is added into the book just to make it look more professional and appealing. The illustration can be on the top of the text or in the start of the book.

Half-page illustrations

Half Page illustration is mostly suitable for kids above 10 years of age. As the books need to have a proper portion to add content, with half-page illustration you can still make it look appealing and captivating. The illustration can have immense detailing with characterization and proper background. You can play around with colors as well without experiencing any restriction.

Single (Full) Page Illustrations

Single page illustration is most suitable for the age group between 4- 7 years. In this type, a complete single page is left to illustrate the story. Here as well, there are no restrictions or boundaries. You can carry on with realistic imagery or fil your page with a complete black and white, sketchy illustration style. No matter which style you choose you to have ample space to unleash your creativity.

Spread Illustrations

Spread illustration is chosen to illustrate books for toddlers. In this type, the entire two pages of a book are illustrated. The characters are designed with the background depicting the story in the imagery. A well comprehensive scene is sketched for the understanding of readers. In such books, almost the entire story is presented through illustration.

8 Key Steps To Illustrating A Children's Book

Are you planning to illustrate a book for your kids? Thinking to publish your first children's book? Well, before anything else, there are certain aspects that you need to ensure. Of you think you will not be able to create professional style illustration, it's better to look for children's book illustrator for hire. As quality matters above everything, you need to be careful about that.

Once you are sure about the quality of artwork you must head to learning about the 8 steps involved to create an illustration for children's book. Read on!

  • Get an Inspiration
  • Carry Out Market Analyses
  • Compose A Compelling Story Brief
  • Story Writing
  • Finalize The Trim Size of Your Book
  • Illustrate The Book
  • Choose The Right Colors and Font Style
  • Design The Book Cover

Step #1- Get an Inspiration

When handed with creative projects its always god to seek inspirations. You must read books, hunt for authentic references and take a look at the bestselling books to have an idea as to how the books are presented and what are the aspects that can inspire the readers.

Same of the renowned books include

  • The Tiger Who Came To Tea - Judith Kerr
  • Our World: A First Book of Geography- Sue Lowell Gallion
  • Clean Up!- Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola

These books have their own captivating traits and most eye pleasing imagery with attractive color combinations to engage the young readers.

Step #2- Carry Out The Market Analyses

To create a stable foundation for your book, you need to carry out a comprehensive market analysis. You need to know what things can engage a five-year-old or how to illustrate a book for a toddler. Children under the age of ten have a different level of perception and capabilities to grasp knowledge. The way one child does might not look similar to that of the other. Therefore, you need to dig deeper to understand the cognitive intelligence and preferences of young kids. Along with that, it's equally important to learn about other author's work. You must know where the market stands and how fast things are progressing.

Step #3- Compose A Compelling Story Brief

The next step to illustrating childrenÔÇÖs book involves writing the story briefly. Now here you have to create a plot considering all the variables that can help you engage your target audience. You need to ponder on aspects that can increase the reach of your book and multiply the outcomes. Your story brief should be interactive and engaging. It should have different characters where each one of them has some role to play.

Apart from making your story compelling do think twice as to what you plot is going to be. The story must be useful in one way or the other. It should have some rich content to captivate the target audience.

Source: Publishers Weekly

On the whole, when you plan to compose the brief you need to make sure that it gives away a lesson to the audience.

Step #4- Story Writing

When you sit to write the story for your book you have to first plan out the number of scenes or pages you want to keep in it. You have to divide the story in terms of pages to be clear as to how thick or huge your book is going to be. You need to create a captivating storyline where your readers get to learn about some easy life lessons. One thing you must follow is to use professional and compelling writing style.

Step #5- Finalize The Trim Size of Your Book

Wonder what is the trim size of a book and why would it matter? Trim size refers to the book size. When the book is written it goes through a machine that trims it down making all of its copies in the same size. Everything counts when it comes to making the book a success including the shape its been trimmed to.

Step #6 - Illustrate Your Book

ÔÇťPicture books for young readers are building blocks that promote literacy, vocabulary skills, sentence structure and story analysisÔÇŁ, stated by EBSCO

Illustration in children's book help readers defines the world around them with realistic pictures and bright colors to liven up their imaginative little world. So, when thinking about which illustration to go with, here are some prominent styles to choose from:

├ś┬á Crayon

in Crayon illustration the imagery is simpler and more captivating. Its artwork is presented in a crisp manner where the paint shown in the images have crayon lines to give a realistic hand-drawn feel to the aesthetics. This style of illustration is suitable for children of all ages.

├ś┬á Traditional Storybook

Have you seen the artwork in old children's storybooks like Winnie the Pooh or Peter Rabbit? You can follow that style to illustrate your book where the stories were sketched scene by scene using subtle colors and graphics. Soft muted shades were added to the picture to make the book look more appealing.

├ś┬á Photo-Realistic

A photo-realistic illustration is the closest to reality. The imagery gives the illusion of reality. The color selection, background and depiction of every scene is vivid and appealing. With the finest drawing skills, the photo-realistic illustration is designed and that adds an unmatched thrill to the book.

PETER PAN the book Alejandro Mesa is the rightful depiction of photo realistic illustration. You can see how bright and attention grabbing colors are involved with well-defined artwork. You can see the use of conceptual character designs, flat illustrations and patterns with enchanting colors and appealing graphics.

├ś┬á Vector Art

Vector art is based on geometric shapes created using advanced technology. This is the type which swiftly garner attention and captivates the children. Its described as a vivid, clean and impressive form of illustration. Vector art is mostly seen in video games and adventurous tales. Each style is created with its own imagery aspects. Among all the others vector is one of the easiest to make style.

├ś┬á Portrait

Portrait is one of the most commonly preferred children's book illustration styles. It helps in giving characters an enhancing personality. With the help of this style, you can add thoughtful expressions, physical characteristic, gesture and mannerism. The best aspect of a portrait style is the art of adding colors and pretty combinations. In portrait style, the highlights, use of negative spaces and the vivid characterization add to the overall charm of the image. This is the style most commonly used in a children book.

├ś┬á Watercolor

The watercolor illustration is one of the most eye-pleasing styles because of its translucent feel. This type of style is mostly used for a book recommended to children under 3 years as the colors are soft and amusing. The pictures are blended into each other leaving behind a tale of watercolors. These books are not only fun to read but they are so immersive that you would hardly look away after having the first glance.

Step #7- Choose The Right Colors and Font Style

Most common font styles used for children's book include Serif and Sans- Serif. These two styles showcase the content in a clear and engaging manner.

Step #8- Design The Book Cover

Have you heard that saying, ÔÇťdonÔÇÖt judge a book by its coverÔÇŁ but the sad reality is that everybody judges the book cover and then make the decision of whether to read it or not. Therefore, you need to design your book cover adding the pleasant graphics to engage the viewers and readers in a blink.

How many illustrations should a childrenÔÇÖs book have?

The minimum page count a children book should have been around 32. You must not exceed this limit as you have to take note of the attention span of young readers. Now when itÔÇÖs come to adding illustration based on the type you selected you can worm accordingly. You can even ad 32 illustration - one on each page or go for an alternate page option.

What is the cost to create a children book illustration?

The cost to create a children book illustration can be around $1000 to $10.000, the price depends upon the style you have chosen and the number of illustration you want to include in your book. If you consult a professional agency to get the illustration your price would go up to $12,000 or maybe even more.

What are the advanced tools to create an illustration?

Some of the advanced options and software to help you create a perfect illustration include:

  • The Blend Tool
  • The Clipping Mask
  • The Artboards Panel

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