Every author and illustrator wants that perfect illustration of a character whose image perfectly embodies everything the author originally wanted it to. And why would they not? Illustrations, especially of the characters themselves, are incredibly crucial to the success and overall appeal of a children’s book. The better the illustrations fit the bill, the better the book will look and feel to read. Of course it’s not always easy, and like most every challenge out there, more than one attempt is necessary to really overcome the challenge and face the day.
So, how do illustrators create these perfect characters? Is it just the luck of the draw, or is it a sort of guessing game? Well… actually. What illustrators do is work on concept art. Concept art is the first few designs that sort of test out the drawings to find one that matches the character’s speech and emotions the best. Nobody gets the characters just perfect on the first try; it takes many stages of development and concept art to get it to the point of being acceptable for use in a children’s book.
Concept art is so crucial to great illustrations, and whether or not an illustrator does it can really make or break the book. Without concept art the characters usually just don’t seem to fit. The way they look just seems to be a little different than the way they act and speak, which can be very confusing for the reader. It’s necessary for the visual images of the characters to match those of the written and spoken ones, this way the reader mentally establishes a sort of unity in their image of the character. Without concept art it’s difficult to find this perfect visual that compliments the aspects of the character so well.
So, if you’re busy writing or illustrating a children’s book, always always always remember character concept art. This small detail, though sometimes seemingly tedious, will really separate your books from the rest, and give you an edge that others just can’t seem to grasp. Now, go get to work on your children’s book and create the greatest illustrations the world has ever seen!