Captivating Young Readers—The Perfect Pictures! – The Urban Writers

The Role of Illustrations in Children’s Books: Tips and Techniques for Illustrators

by The Urban Writers

The illustrations in children’s books need to be the perfect mixture of captivating, visually stimulating, and pretty to look at. This is why illustrators use the right colors and dedicate a good bit of text to a page of imagery, marrying the two together.

Illustrations are definitely not just pleasing to the eye; they allow us to facilitate the emotional growth and cognitive development of children across the world. Illustrations tailored to the perfect text can help develop empathy, allow children to understand vocabulary better, and even enable them to start becoming critical thinkers.

However, there are more than a good few tips and reasons that you can factor in to not only take your artistry as an illustrator to the next level, but to ensure your illustrations are loved and enjoyed by children around the world. 

Captivating Young Readers—The Perfect Pictures

A child's mind is malleable. This is why you have the ability to use your illustrations to teach and educate them about specific topics through literature. But, as we all know, children get distracted easily. This is why your illustrations need to be to the point, vibrant, and enjoyable.

And, with the development in the technological landscape, children are more likely to use electronic devices than ever before. This means that as an illustrator you may need to make a switch to digital illustrating. This could be quite a time-consuming process.

But if you’re new to the illustrating skillset, or you haven’t dabbled in creating illustrations for children’s books, you can feel a bit like a fish out of water. Well, that's about to change!

The Ideal Tips for Illustrators

It goes without saying that you need to know the audience you are illustrating for. Children get older, and their interests change with that. Children younger than 10 years old may prefer more pictures than words.

However, as they get older, you can think about making your images more intricate and detailed. But why is this necessary? Well, simply put, different age groups have varying levels of cognitive development and visual preferences.

Over and above considering the comprehension abilities of your target audience, you’ll need to tailor any characters to that as well. Develop characters who are both relatable and visually appealing to children.

Children absolutely love robust and expressive facial expressions, as well as body language that assists in conveying emotions effectively. Add some bright and bold colors to the mix; you'll not only capture their attention, but you'll also get them to fall in love with your characters.

You probably know this already, but for those who don’t, we advise that you go ahead and make sure the selected colors match the tone of the story. If there is a sad moment in the story, opt for blues instead of bright yellows and oranges.

Another factor that many tend to forget is that you need to design your work with the page layout in mind. Ask yourself:

  • Where will the text be placed?
  • Will the text be placed over the imagery?
  • Do I need a full-page illustration, or will the page be split into different parts of the story?

Focusing on these questions will allow you to design your illustrations in a way that ensures a cohesive relationship between the content of the story and the illustrations you are creating.

Do you remember as a kid you used to want to explore absolutely everything? Well, this is exactly what you can do as you create your illustrations. Include details that encourage children to explore the illustrations more closely. You can even add hidden elements or surprises within the illustrations to spark curiosity!

With all of this in mind, you want to think about “page turns.” What this means is that you should consider the pacing of the story and the impact of page turns on the reader’s experience. To create excitement with page turns, use illustrations to build anticipation for what comes next!

Now, this all sounds beautiful and perfect, but an important aspect that you need to consider is the cultural sensitivity of your illustrations. If you are going to be creating illustrations for a story based on culture, then by all means, use the culture as inspirations for your work.

The problem comes when a book doesn’t focus around culture, but the illustrations negatively portray a specific culture either as part of the story or accidentally. This is why you should always get a fresh pair of eyes to look at your work before submitting it for printing.

As an illustrator, the power of your skillset is what will set you apart from others. Follow the above tips and you will already be a good few steps ahead of other illustrators. After all, we want to develop ourselves as far as we possibly can, right?



The Unspoken Benefit to Children

We want our work to be beneficial to those who look at it and read it. But sometimes we need a little bit of inspiration to really get the creative juices flowing. So, what better way to do that than to realize the benefit your illustrations will have on children?

Children love visual imagery. Whether it be in the classroom looking at physical books or at home watching their favorite show on YouTube, it is clear that children are starting to engage with illustrations a lot more than in the past.

This is the perfect opportunity to ride the wave and become a well-known illustrator in the field. But, to do this, you will need to know a bit about the benefits that your illustrations can have on children, as they can do a lot for enhancing story impact.

Your illustrations, coupled with the text, will enhance their cognitive development. Visual literacy skills become more integrated as the children start to interpret and understand visual storytelling. Not to mention that text with the imagery will allow them to understand concepts with more ease.

Your illustrations will also assist in their language development. Now, this may seem bizarre because you’d think that text would do that, right? Well, illustrations introduce a visual association to words and concepts. This helps children create a connection between both written and spoken language.

Emotionally, illustrations that have a multitude of expressions will allow them to understand and empathize with the motions and feelings of the characters in the story. This is how you can start to develop emotional intelligence from a young age.

Do you remember when you used to daydream as a kid? Well, you wouldn’t want to dampen a kid’s imagination, would you? Illustrations stimulate out-of-the-box thinking, allowing them to create their own versions of characters, stories, and environments.

Children usually thrive in cultural awareness and diversity. Which is exactly what your work can help them achieve. If it is a culture that the targeted children are a part of, you'll be able to help them understand their roots and foster the development of their own cultural identity.

Illustrations are more than just some pretty colors and diagrams that are thrown together. They have meaning and do more than just make a page look pretty. Illustrations, your illustrations, have the ability to shape the minds of the future. Using the children's book illustration techniques that we discussed above will allow you to do that and so much more.

The Role of The Urban Writers

Granted, not everyone is a veteran in creating the perfect illustrations. Yes, you can do it, but it takes a lot more time than you would like. While you hone your skills as an illustrator, let us go ahead and take the working brunt off of your shoulders.

The Urban Writers (TUW) has a wide variety of illustrators who are not only creative, original, and detail-oriented, but they have a service-delivery mindset that will always ensure what you envision is brought to light.

Ever thought of even creating your own storybook? Even if you want to make your own illustrations, we have vetted freelancers who are more than willing to work with you to produce a story that children will remember for years to come.

Head on over to our website and look at the fantastic offerings that we have.

In Summary

Creating illustrations for children’s books is a new skill that all illustrators should strive to add to their repertoire. With the development of technology, children are more likely to spend time on screens, which is the perfect way to slip in some educational and interactive illustrations and stories.

Creating the right illustrations means you are contributing to the development of a child's cognitive skills without them even being aware of it. What a way to change the world, right?

But we do understand that creating illustrations is a time-consuming task. And, especially if you haven't created illustrations for children's books before, it can feel as if you are a bit out of your depth.

Thankfully, that’s where TUW comes in. While you develop your own skill set, we will happily assist you in creating the perfect illustrations that you need. Still not convinced? Take a look at some of the reviews from customers around the globe!

If you are already a well-versed illustrator and want to join our team at TUW to grow your craft, head on over and apply on our website!

You can become an even better illustrator. Your journey starts here!



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