How to Illustrate a Children's Book

One Methods:Sample Illustrations

Children's books are bland and boring without pictures. That's where an illustrator comes in. If you're new to illustrating children's books, you'll probably need to read this.

Steps

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    Draw some thumbnail sketches based on your story.
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    Get an idea of your characters' appearances with study sketches. You can use these as references throughout the whole illustration process.
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    Resize the sketches to your target size and add any extra details you want to put in the illustration.
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    Turn the sketch over and rub the entire back with charcoal.
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    Turn the sketch back over and place it into position on some watercolour paper. Tape it down and retrace all of the main lines.
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    Notice the "carbon copy" of the lines showing on the watercolour paper.
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    Get rid of any charcoal residue on the watercolour paper with a kneaded eraser, and make the lines as light as possible.
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    Paint a quick thumbnail study before painting, so you know what colours you want to paint your characters.
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    Keep the colours on your illustration as bright and cheerful as possible, because children tend to like it like that. Also, it might be an idea to make your characters more like a cartoon than real life.
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    Add pen outlines to everything, to define detail. Your illustration is now finished!

Sample Illustrations

Sample Children Illustrations

Tips

  • Don't draw too hard or dark - the design should always be laid out lightly first, then you can move in and accentuate later.
  • Take your time - don't rush.
  • Make sure to draw a few thumbnails to get the poses and composition laid out.
  • If you are working for an author or editor, take their ideas of characters into consideration.
  • If you're working with an editor or the author, you will need to give a couple of ideas that they can choose from (this gives them some positive input into the design).

Things You'll Need

  • Hard lead pencil (2H is usually good)
  • Sketching paper
  • Watercolour paper
  • Watercolour paints
  • Eraser
  • Charcoal

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