Apply These Creative Techniques on Illustrating Children’s Book

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Savvy Tips to Make Lovable and Well-Illustrated Story Books for Kids

childrens book

Sketching ideas

Anytime you have a bright idea that sprouts, put it automatically on paper. By drawing it on paper, it’s easier to develop the idea’s details. This works well for creating story book characters. And by imagining them in certain scenes and situations, whether it’s a bear in the woods, a prince in a castle, or a bird above a treehouse, you’re a step closer to illustrating a great children’s book. When you’ve imagined a character in its appropriate setting, draw the character alongside it. Bring out that vividness.

Color sample

As an enthusiast of the arts, you should already have knowledge of the wide range of shades that can be used to illustrate a piece of drawing or children’s book. Keep experimenting on various colors that work most in favor of the book until you finally get the pick that publishers agree with. Knowing how to make a picture book for kids means knowing the appropriate colors to fill them in with.

Read: What Makes a Good Picture Book for Children?

illustration of a childrens book


Lay out paper works best when creating test sketches. Another tip to illustrating children’s book is to trace it using layout paper and constantly refining these sketches. Flipping them over then tweaking them allows you to see the mistakes and helps you enhance an area or two. You may also scan the sketches in your computer. Each will come alive and familiar to you.


As the suggestions are put out, you can begin redrawing certain layouts. This is also a good opportunity to review your characters. A character’s progression is made up of aspects such as proportions and features. These aspects should coincide with one another, no lapses, all accuracy. A slight miss could affect the entire illustration. Keep in mind excellent detailing.

Final touches

Once the revision stage is through, insert the text. Around this point, alterations are few. So photocopy your sketches to the required size for the children’s book and do the final tracing.

Final traces are drawn on layout paper and you can start by marking out a keyline. Keyline corresponds to the cutter’s size, where the book will be trimmed during its printing stage. Follow with a second keyline (around 10mm in the outer part) to make way for those unavoidable mistakes as you’re cutting. Once this is done, create full-size copies of your traces.

childrens book illustration

Color it up

By the time the approval is made, you can now color up your artwork. Use watercolor paper stretched onto boards, then transfer these traces to paper with the help of a tracing paper (good brand recommendation: Tracedown), a quick and painless way to transfer images onto paper, canvas or board. Now lightly press. Start with a small piece then move on to the bigger scenes. Build up the illustration with watercolor then add on to the sharpness of the lines using colored pencil.

illustrating childrens bookThe finishing stage

If your artwork is happily approved, it will be sent with mock-ups for sales. Before the book is published, color proofs should be sent to you for your comments. Finally, you will receive a copy of the printed books, usually a couple of months before it hits the shelves.

If you have an idea of a character in mind, but feel the extra kick to make it really come alive, try to think of your characters as children. Mimic their actions and facial expressions. Children will be able to relate and admire these lovable characters because for a good reason and in some way, it resembles them!


Learn more: Why Are Children’s Books Illustrations Important for Young Readers


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