Authors must always remember to answer the common questions when they illustrate a children’s book: who, what, why, and how. Who is my audience? What are my illustrations trying to convey? Why illustrate this part of the story over another part? How should I illustrate it?
- As an illustrator, what will be your medium? Do you prefer a soft look? You might want to try watercolors. On the other hand, acrylic paints are more appropriate when you need something sharper. You should also consider art markers, as they’re both easy to use and very adaptable.
- Be familiar with the material. Read the book several times, taking note of any character descriptions the author used. Do any images come to your mind? Make sure to jot them down too.
- Divide the book into sections. The frequency of illustrations will depend on the age group of the target audience. Books for very young children might require an illustration for every sentence; older children might only require an illustration for a few important parts of each chapter.
- How do you illustrate the story’s main characters? Identify the characters who are important to the story, keeping in mind the author’s descriptions of them. Try to find ways to make them distinct and easily identifiable.
- If you’re not an artist, how do you find one to illustrate your book? Look at other children’s books and see if any particular artist’s style catches your eye, or seems appropriate for your story. And don’t be afraid to look outside the literary world; you might see advertisements or artwork that have a perfect look for your book!
These are just a few tips from authors and artists who have written illustrated books for children. Now it’s your turn! Do you have a story that you’d like to tell to children? Don’t leave your manuscript in a drawer or on your hard drive!