Children’s books are all-time best-sellers. Whether they are picture books, alphabet books, fables, fairy tales or modern children stories, illustrations play a large part in making these books interesting to read. ReadersMagnet Self-Publishing prepared some basic tips on how to produce quality drawings and illustrations for your future children’s book.

  1. Pick an idea. Everything begins with an idea. It could be an inspiration from a song you’ve heard, an old movie, a line from a scene or even drawn from real experiences whether your own or from persons known to you. Some ideas begin with the title, some from characters, and others form situations or settings. Whatever idea that pops up in your mind, you best put it into writing.
  2. Choose a book size. Book size and page size are important considerations for your illustrations. You need to have an idea of how big or small your working space will be. Book size and page size will help you determine whether you will be working with a portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) or even a square format.  Measurements are important in deciding what or how will you place your drawings as well as their respective size, proportions, etc.
  3. Come up with a storyboard. Once you have your idea and the page measurements, it’s time to create the storyboard for your children’s book. A storyboard is the first step the artist and the author will work on in creating drawings and illustrations. Usually, the author divides the story into a segment or scene and the artists then create the corresponding images for each scene. The trick lies in breaking down the story into frames without compromising the storytelling aspect. Each image must be able to narrate each scene in the story.
  4. Make sure the texts complement with the drawings. This is similar to the advice with an emphasis on the image as being able to enhance the text and not confuse the readers.  As work progresses, images play the important role of guiding the readers into deeper into the story. An effective illustration should make the viewer understand more about the characters and the story and not be distracted by their discrepancy in details. On the other hand, illustrations should not simply repeat what the text is saying. Images should complement and not cause redundancies in the story.
  5. Render illustrations using the appropriate tools. There is a tool for every task and a task for every tool. Today, there are children’s books whose illustrations are hand-drawn and then scanned in high-resolution scanners and then edited. For more digital illustrators, there are various tools like Wacom tablets, Adobe Illustrator CC, Corel Painter, CorelDraw, ArtRage, and Inkscape.
  6. Save soft copies of your illustrations. If you are doing manual sketches for your illustrations, make sure to scan them in high-resolution scanners such as Epson Perfection V600 Photo scanner with 1200 dpi and save them as a tiff image. If you are digitally producing your images, still best keep soft copies of your illustrations. The purpose is not only for archiving but for future editions and revisions as well.
  7. Choose only digital coloring. This is the most important aspect in creating illustrations for a children’s book aside from producing the illustrations itself. Children’s interests in your book depend largely on the quality of your drawings and in choosing the right colors for them. In coloring your illustration, I suggest that you do them digitally. Coloring them using Illustrator and other software ensures quality output. Plus digital coloring offers you plenty more colors, hues, and shades to choose from. Others choose to color their works by hand. However, this method takes time and careful execution. We don’t strongly recommend this method.
  8. Create a dummy. Creating a dummy or an actual size model of your work helps you get the actual feel of the product in its near-final form. It allows you to get a three-dimensional feel of your storyboard. You get to see the turn of the pages and see if the breaks are divided well. Dummies also allow you to demonstrate your product to publishers and potential clients
  9. Check for revisions. Somewhere along the process of making your illustrations, you will encounter changes. It might be a better idea or something that you might have missed out. There is always room for improvement. Also, if you are going to present your output to your author or editor, there might be suggestions from them and you might find yourself doing revisions. The idea is to be open to criticisms and inputs from these people.
  10. Try various scale models. One way to check your work is to view it in various sizes. For most illustrators, viewing their work in the large-scale model helps them evaluate the images and see if there are things they still need to work on. Blowing-up you storyboard also helps illustrations check on proportions, colors, and other details of their images.
  11. Set a standard and stick to what works. Each artist has his or her own way of doing things. For some authors, it’s easier to first write the story and then come up with the images themselves or work closely with an artist. Others prefer to write the storyboard themselves and allow the artist to have total creative control of the illustrations and drawings. And there are also authors who are artist themselves who do both the story and the illustrations.  Whatever category you are in, the most important thing is to produce illustrations that tell a story and will complement your narrative as well.
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