Picture books are probably the most underappreciated works of art in the world. And probably the most important as well. Book illustrations in children’s books are the first interaction most children have with drawings and paintings. And what children see and love at that age clings to them for life. So while books develop a passion for the written word, picture books can also lay the foundation for art appreciation.
Illustrations for Children’s Books
For a young reader, a large part of a book’s appeal lies in the pictures. Children have a lively visual awareness and they often spend as much time lingering over the visuals as they do over the text. This skill of “looking” and immersion in the visuals has a big lesson for all children’s writers. Illustrations in children’s books cannot be just a bunch of pretty pictures put together for the book.
The children’s writers have to work in sync with the illustrators to ensure that the visuals are not just appealing but also appropriate. They have to add to the story and retain the pace of narration. And the illustration style has to complement the storytelling style. Stark sketches or vivid folk style – it depends entirely on the sensibility of the book and on the skill and commitment of the illustrator.
In the world of children’s books, illustrators are artists in their own right. There are the superstar illustrators like Quentin Blake, whose quirky sketches breathed life into some of the most popular characters (Matilda, Willy Wonka) in children’s literature. Or Raymond Briggs whose famous story “The Snowman” is considered a visual masterpiece. These are illustrators whose distinctive styles are easily recognized by even lay readers.
But even apart from these distinguished artists, there are as many illustration styles as there are illustrators. Just pick up a couple of children’s books off the shelf and you will find a completely different illustration style in each. Colorful and cute, abstract and cool, dark and macabre ……….. the possibilities are endless.
Choosing an Illustrator
In a children’s book, the illustration style, the font, the colors – all have to be carefully chosen and laid out, keeping the story and the young audience in mind. Given how critical the illustrations are to success of the book and the variety of illustration styles available, it becomes difficult for a first time writer to choose right.
To choose the right illustration style, choose the right illustrator. Look for an illustrator who is not just creative and reliable but also flexible enough to accept your inputs. Even better would be to zero in on a firm that will give you access to a wide range of illustration and designing services. That way you will not only have access to illustration services but will also be guided through the entire process of transforming your manuscript into a published book.
Try to tap into an illustration firm which outsources their illustration projects to India. This maintains the artistic integrity of the work without burning a hole in your pocket!
Believe in your story and choose an illustrator wisely for a happy ending to your publishing dreams!!