What Makes a Good Children’s Book Illustration?

Children’s book illustrations remain ageless in the always-evolving publishing world. No matter the setting or time, such illustrations give authors and publishers a way to pique the interest of readers who are still young enough to read independently.

If you have a strong sense of creativity and enjoy using your imagination as well as pen freely around youngsters, you could potentially choose to pursue a career as a children’s book illustrator.

Of course, just like every other component of publishing, illustrating children’s books involves a lot of effort, patience, as well as devotion. However, the good thing is that it’s not impossible. Continue reading to learn the easy steps to becoming a successful children’s book illustrator.

Illustrations in children’s books: What are they?

Books for kids In children’s books, illustrations are the pictures that go with the narrative. These typically illustrate significant moments in the narrative where the plot of the book advances, frequently through the adventures of the lead character.

Children’s book images bring the story to life, enhancing the written word as well as assisting readers in seeing the story in their thoughts. They can enhance young readers’ literary abilities but also encourage visual thinking.

What does an illustrator of children’s books do?

Children’s book artists provide illustrations as well as artwork that not just enhance a story’s visual appeal but also aid young readers in comprehending what they are reading. While most artists are freelancers, others may negotiate agreements with publishing houses and perhaps even forge connections with certain authors.

The goal of a children’s book illustrator, irrespective of their method of employment, is to produce compelling illustrations that create a child’s book to life. Any illustrator should have a deep sense of inventiveness and a vivid imagination, though, regardless of the style they employ. Illustrators of children’s books, in particular, are free to let their imaginations wander.

What defines a successful children’s book illustration?

A good children’s book illustration should be appealing to the eye, memorable, as well as pertinent—those are its three major qualities. To grab the reader’s attention and keep them interested, they should be visually appealing.

Additionally, the illustrations must be memorable to be quickly recalled (think Dr. Seuss). Finally, excellent children’s book drawings should be pertinent to the book itself as well as the current cultural setting. The graphics need to shift consistently and in time with the story as the book continues.

A guide to children’s book illustration

A child’s book illustration is an easy method that adheres to a pattern common to many types of artwork. Finding the right inspiration is the first step, followed by selecting a style and medium, doing preliminary sketches, getting input, and finally generating the final photos as well as the layout of your book.

Here is how to illustrate a children’s book:

1.    Get motivated

Decide on the style, tone, as well as type of illustrations you want to include in your book by looking for inspiration in plenty of other children’s books or perhaps the creations of other artists.

2.    Determine the style and medium

Decide which media will best help you realize your vision and stick to a particular illustration style. Check to see whether both of these fit the concept of your story and therefore are ideas you could accomplish.

3.    Make the characters perfect

The protagonist, who is typically the focus of children’s novels, must be consistently shown in your pictures, even if the plot changes. You should practice drawing your characters so you can capture all of their details and use them even when the scene or an attitude changes.

4.    Establish a storyboard

Your book’s drawings will follow a basic direction that is outlined in a storyboard. Making one might help you gain a better understanding of your story’s overall flow and, if necessary, the visuals you’ll require for each scene.

5.    Get feedback

After creating rough draughts or finalizing your characters, get feedback to determine if there is anything else you may need to improve on. Finding some kids to look at your drawings and give their opinions is a good way to gather feedback from your potential readers.

Styles of children’s book illustration

When referring to art, style is a wide concept that is frequently used interchangeably with both the medium and technique utilized to make the illustrations. But style mostly relates to the aesthetic and even tone of the pictures, which should be produced following the book’s plot as well as theme.

You must choose the style in which you want your pictures to be made before you even start to sketch them. By making this choice, you can guarantee that your illustrations are unified and that your aesthetic approach is clear.

Having said that, don’t feel limited to a single style. Based on your book, it could be a good idea to combine different writing styles with improving the content. These may consist of:

•      Cartoons

Cartoons are more exaggerated than reality yet nonetheless have many similarities. They are common in children’s novels, particularly those written for younger children, and can be adorable, silly, or perhaps even over-the-top. Cartoons frequently use a variety of strong colors to create a dramatic impact.

•      Realistic

Children’s novels rarely portray realistic visuals, but some of their characterizations are more accurate. These are frequently found in literature with realistic settings or “real” characters. They are frequently employed in children’s books with more somber, instructive, especially educational themes.

•      Whimsical

Readers’ imaginations may become more active while reading illustrations with whimsical as well as fantasy themes because they have more playful and dreamlike effects; they are frequently almost humorous.

•      Lines

Forms and figures are depicted in line drawings rather than with colors. Typically, they are drawn in a single color—usually black, with no shading at all—in a straight line. In children’s books that also serve as coloring books, line illustration techniques are particularly popular.

•      Sketches

Sketches are unfinished drawings that are done quickly. They are often black and white as well as hand-drawn, just like rough sketches of an artwork. However, some may appear more “finished” than others. Despite their simplicity, drawings are frequently emotive and are a good way to show movement.


On the outside, children’s book illustrations may appear uncomplicated, but success requires hard work, perseverance, as well as a ton of experience. However, if you are passionate about wanting to work as an illustrator and are willing to put in the necessary daily hours as well as trial-and-error, you can surely succeed in the field.

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