A children’s book illustrator is a vital task to the creation of the book. Without them there’s no art that jumps from the pages to enchant the reader. Illustration is a competitive field with many hoping to be successful. In order to do this, one must create compelling picture art that clients want. Having a portfolio of your work, one centered around your style, is a must-have in this industry. In addition to that, having a presence greatly helps chances. This can be a website, active social media, email platform, a blog and networking (with authors, publishers and fellow illustrators) are just some of the ways to get your name out there.
There is so much that goes into creating illustrations for a book that it can be tough and we know that. We also know how important illustrators are and that there are many great ones out there. Here are some tips on creating compelling picture book art;
- Providing context clues and helping readers understand what they are reading is one of the main tasks of the illustrator. This includes evoking themes, emotions and other important parts of the story.
- Many illustrators are known for a particular art style which sets them apart from other illustrators and makes them memorable.
- Try something new and be flexible. Art is constantly changing so trying a new form of art is never bad. There’s no need to make it your schtick but it can help keep the creative juices flowing! Digital art is becoming extremely popular so traditional artists may want to try it. However, if it’s not their thing then there’s no need to stick with it as there are publishers and clients who want traditional art. Some only care about the completed art and not how it is created.
- Know the demographic. Illustrations are intended to capture and enchant the reader. To do this, matching the demographic is a must. For instance, creating highly complex illustrations with different things going on for a book geared towards babies might just end up losing those babies. More focused illustrations on a certain event or aspect would be the way to go.
- Know the field and industry. Being familiar with what is popular helps you know what clients are looking for. Knowing what current trends there are in the industry is key to staying on top of the game. Gather inspiration, ideas and information from all different places; illustrators and books are a great start but museums and other places can also be amazing treasure troves!
- Ask for feedback from everyone you can. While asking friends and family can be helpful to see a consumer point of view, professionals such as illustrators, agents, authors and others involved in the industry are extremely valuable! Don’t pass up on a chance to get feedback from these professionals. There are even illustrator groups where sharing and getting feedback is the entire point of their group.
- Lastly, be imaginative and creative! Don’t be afraid to try something new or think outside the box. Staying connected to your inner child can help a lot with all different aspects of illustration.
Sovann Hyde is an intern at Cardinal Rule Press and studying at Michigan State University. She enjoys writing and reading in her free time as well as gaming with friends. Jetta, Gryffin, and Bella, her family’s dogs and cat, keep her energetic and curious.