Illustrations are usually an important part of a book. In children’s books, particularly, illustrations are widely used because of their visual appeal and ability to help children understand a text better. In general, book illustrations are pictures drawn to represent a specific scene, chapter, or text in a book. Oftentimes, they are more than just aesthetically pleasing images. They usually play a crucial role in enhancing the story or content of a book. It is through these illustrations that the readers can better comprehend or picture what the authors are trying to say.
If you are a fiction author, particularly, putting illustrations in your book can greatly improve its quality and readability. If you are self-publishing, then you can either hire a professional illustrator or do the illustrations yourself. Even though the former is the most recommended thing to do, you can still opt to create your own illustrations, provided that you have the skills or at least the necessary knowledge when it comes to illustrating. To help you, this article lists down below some useful tips on creating wonderful illustrations for books.
Search for inspiration
When it comes to creating something, it is always a good starting point to get some inspiration. Especially if you are still new to illustration, getting inspiration from other established illustrators and award-winning picture books might be a great help to you. Look for illustrations that can spark your imagination. Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr are some of the most common sites where you can find good illustrations to inspire you. Doing this can also intensify your drive to create wonderful illustrations yourself. In essence, inspiration is everywhere. You just need to open yourself up to it.
Find your specific style
Inspiration is important in keeping yourself motivated and constantly learning. However, getting inspired does not mean that you should imitate the works of others. As an illustrator, it is very important for you to find your specific style. Your style is basically your unique manner in portraying your subject matter or expressing your artistic vision. To put it simply, your style is what makes your illustrations distinct from the others. Finding your specific style will greatly help you establish your brand as an illustrator. More importantly, having a specific style will also make your illustrations more unique, recognizable, and captivating.
Let your creativity flow
The beginning of your artistic process can be intimidating, especially if you are still a budding illustrator. Oftentimes, you might feel a sense of pressure that comes from your desire to create impeccable illustrations right away. Perhaps, you want to be the best illustrator that you can be, so you do not want make mistakes when illustrating. This is not a good habit for an illustrator, however. More often than not, it only makes you stress yourself out. If you want to create wonderful illustrations, then allow yourself to navigate through your imagination. Let your creativity flow naturally, do not force it. Once you stop putting a heavy pressure on yourself, you will soon find yourself able to create illustrations that are naturally good.
Make as many revisions as necessary
In line with letting your creativity flow naturally, you should also allow yourself to make mistakes. Always leave a room for improvement and revisions. Every time you illustrate, you need to keep in mind that the first draft will not be perfect. Oftentimes, your first draft might not look like something you pictured in your head. This should not fluster you right away. Instead, it should encourage you to do better and improve your illustration until you reach your desired output. Do not be too rigid, make as many revisions as necessary.
Ask for feedback
More often than not, when you are creating a book illustration, you tend to be so involved in it that you might overlook or miss errors that others might see. This is common, especially among artists. To avoid this, ask for feedback from an editor, author, or art director. Let them critique your work. If you are quite shy about it, you can even just have your family or friends look at your illustration. They might help you identify if a color is not working or if some shapes are not in proportion. In essence, asking for feedback gives you the opportunity to enhance your work. As an illustrator, it is important for you to always remain open to feedback and criticism no matter how good you become.
In conclusion, you can certainly create your own illustrations even if you are not a professional illustrator yourself. Illustrating your book might seem like an intimidating thing to do at first, but with enough learning and practice, you will eventually get the hang of it. Inspiration, creative freedom, and an open mind – these are the only important things that you need to have in order to come up with wonderful illustrations for your book. When you have these things, no amount of criticisms or mistakes can ever discourage you from becoming your own illustrator!