7 Tips on Choosing a Suitable Illustration Style for Your Children’s Book

Finding the perfect style of illustration for your children’s book can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before. Most people don’t even know where to begin, and what should be a fun and creative process turns into a dreaded and draining one. Below we’ve listed seven tips to help make this process easier and fun once again.

  1. Find books with similar stories and plots and look at the illustration styles used in those. Obviously you don’t want to publish a book exactly like somebody else’s but this should give you a general idea of where to start. Pick your favorite one, and use that as your primary example.
  2. Think about the age group your book is targeting. A seven year old has a better attention span than a three year old, meaning they might like less bright and hectic illustrations, among other things.
  3. Know the meaning and mood of your book inside and out. If it is goofy, a goofy illustration style can bring that out even more. If it is serious and teaches a very important lesson, choose an illustration style that will compliment that.
  4. Decide whether you want your children’s book to be very modern or more timeless and classic. Some illustration styles come and go, while others tend to be a favorite for the long haul. It’s important to decide if you want your book to have that timeless look or if you want it to be a representation of the styles and time you wrote it in.
  5. Look at similar real life situations. If your story takes place at a park, visit many different parks and see which is most appealing to you. You might love the way a park looks and have your illustration be pretty realistic to convey that, or you might not be fond of the way any of them really look, so you’ll decide you want something more abstract and different.
  6. Watch children’s television. Children’s shows are pretty much children’s books with movement and noise, so this is a great place to look to find illustration styles (except instead of illustrations, they’re called animations). There are so many different types of animations, and looking at these can spark your interest in one that would look good as a still illustration in your book.
  7. Be creative, and let others help you. If somebody suggests an illustration style, take it into consideration even if you don’t like it at first. You might grow to love it! If you have little kids, nieces, nephews, etc., you can even show them some illustrations (maybe two example pages of the illustration style and the pictures that would actually be in your book) and have them pick which one is their favorite! After all, the illustrations must be appealing to the children they’re meant for.