Picture illustration books are full of colourful images which are essential elements for the child to comprehend the story and for its enjoyment. Illustrations are the distinguishing feature of a children’s picture book and occupies a prominent position in the life of a child with its words and pictures. People of today have realized the significance of childhood intellectual development and further improvement in printing technology has led to a spurt in good quality picture illustration books. In spite of the picture illustrations being very popular, the connection between picture illustration and child’s learning is little understood. The relation that pictures play in a story and the characteristic of the child’s interaction with it is the important feature of literacy. There are different types of picture illustration books that are available on the market, e.g., wordless books, story books, alphabet books, counting books etc.
If you are illustrating a picture book you should establish the setting of the story well. Like in all literature, the setting is utilized to create a mood and establish the location, time and place of the story. Illustration books completely depend upon illustration to establish the setting. Illustrations are also extremely effective in determining the mood of a picture book. Picture books assist in developing the characters by showing circumstances and feelings that are familiar and easy for the child to comprehend. Especially in wordless illustrative books the display and development of characters fully depend upon illustrations. In illustrative storybooks, illustrations can complement characterization in text by presenting the characters’ actions and reactions to each other and provide characters an extra depth. The colourful illustrations in the picture books are also useful in reinforcing the storyline.
Colourful illustration and the child
Illustrations are essential to the text in illustration books and they are important to the reader in numerous ways. Some educators are of the opinion that illustrative pictures might distract the child’s attention from print and would impede word identification and gaining of written language skills. On the contrary, illustration picture books have contributed enormously to the all-round intellectual development of the child and have proved to be greater than the potential negative points.
The reason why illustration books are useful is that they entice the children to read the book and interact with the words. They encourage young children to discover hidden things/characters and guess what is about to happen next. Children like to seek hidden things in the pictures and are curious to know more. The rhythm of illustrative books is very different from the steady escalating current of stories related to words. Picture illustration books permit the young reader to look inside the book and see the colourful pictures throughout the book. Young readers can tell what they comprehend the picture to be and turn the page to see if their guess is true. Picture books stimulate and encourage creativity in children. Children learn to utilize their lively imagination to imagine and make a mental image in their mind in relation to the story that they are reading.
Mostly it is observed that young readers associates' images with their everyday events and familiar images and try to comprehend the meaning by their current schemata. When children become familiar with picture books, they usually come up with their own ideas and have their own unique understanding of plot, character and setting when they read picture books. The child’s interpretation of the story will be quite different from that of an adult.
Illustration books provides a mental framework for the children
Illustration plays a significant role in creating a mental framework for the young reader, it makes it easier for the child to understand the written word. The young child has a short attention span along with limited vocabulary, grammar and knowledge. So, more emphasis is placed on illustrations to provide characters and develop plots and situations with few words and simple grammar. Reading comprehension has been long associated as productive way in which the child utilizes its existing knowledge to deduce the meaning from the text. Symbols, designs and pictures signify relatively tangible and familiar experiences that young readers can very easily recognize. But relatively words are further abstract and are detached from instant experience.
The images of an illustrative picture book prompt a vigorous elaboration of printed words, this facilitates learning by persuading the child to form mental pictures of the story that he is reading. Younger children require pictures in books for the sole reason that children find them much easier to comprehend than words. They require pictorial information to direct their response to verbal information.
The colourful illustrations in picture books help the child to appreciate art
Illustrative picture books help the child in a big way to appreciate beauty and art. Appreciation of art should be developed by continuous exposure to a variety of colourful illustrations along with good moral stories. Beautifully illustrated picture books serve as a tool to open the eyes of the child to the world of beauty and art. Picture books make the child aware of diverse artistic styles and help them to develop a sense of judging the quality and appreciate beauty too. Parents and teachers can play their role in sharing their comments about art in the storybook with the children. They can explain to the children why they like that particular art and show them several different styles and which styles they prefer. This will help the child to appreciate art and beauty and cultivate appreciation and taste in the child for art and beauty.
Illustrative books help in improving vocabulary and language skills
Colour illustration books with the right combination of beauty, art, colour and fascinating words help in fostering the intellectual development in a child. It helps stimulate the child’s imagination and curiosity. It gives them the skill to develop a rich vocabulary that the child can use in various life situations or in the class room. By reading the books and responding to the teacher’s questions the child can improve their reading and writing skills.
The purpose of illustrative picture books is to fascinate and delight the child, to stimulate its curiosity and imagination. Illustration books play an important role in the intellectual development of the child and honing its language skills and vocabulary. Illustrators and publishers should publish better quality books to contribute to the child’s overall development.