How to illustrate a children’s book

Firsts things first. Be sure to have a good story to tell. Illustrating a children’s book is a hard demanding work, and we, as mere human beings can get discouraged on the middle of the road. It’s almost certain that this time will come to you while working on the book. So if you are not very happy and motivated at the beginning, chances are high that you can end up with an unfinished piece.

After you firmly decided to go on with the project it’s time to plan.

Telling a story is like building a house. It has to be well structured. Things need to be in the right place accomplishing the right function. For the illustrations of a book it’s the same.

You have to plan what goes on each page, how, where and why.

Take your time now to not waste time redoing thigs after.

Once the planning is done, you can start the fun part. Actually illustrating.

Knowing how to illustrate a book is fundamental in the production of children’s literary works. Illustration has the power to delight children. Every professional who works with children’s books knows the importance of visual resources and how important the application of illustration techniques is for the success of the works.

Children do not show interest in books that do not have pictures, photos or drawings. They are sensory beings, so the stimulation of senses are the key for the initial interest on kids. That’s why we generally use vibrant, loud colors when children are the target audience.

The success of children’s works depends on the combination of narrative with illustrations that awaken the desire to continue reading. For this, there are illustration techniques that, much more than complement the story, contribute to its understanding. In this post we are going to present techniques on how to illustrate a book. Check it out and learn more about it! How to illustrate a book?

To know how to illustrate a book, it is necessary to bear in mind that children’s audiences need visual and playful stimuli to be interested in a work. The illustrations in a children’s book should make it possible to understand the story without the need for reading.

There are several illustration techniques for children’s books. However, to achieve the desired effect, it is necessary that the work has print quality and is produced with the appropriate paper. The success of a work depends on a set of essential elements and the absence of one of them can compromise sales and recognition by readers.

Check out some techniques and learn how to illustrate a children’s book: graphics Drawing is the beginning of the process and serves as the basis for developing the illustration. The illustrator should discuss the sketches and define the page designs together with the narrative writer.


Watercolors are widely used in children’s book illustrations, as they do not require many elements and allow for ease in coloring larger surfaces, using soft, solid and opaque tones.

Pastel chalk

Pastel chalk usually uses brightly colored bars, which mixed with watercolor or acrylic produce excellent results. There are two types of chalk: dry, used for hundreds of years and that cannot be erased, and oily, which has the presence of oil in its composition and allows corrections without leaving any traces.


The use of collage mixes surfaces of the most diverse colors, shapes, sizes and densities, resulting in a strong visual impact. It can also be combined with other techniques, where photos and drawings have a different style.

Acrylic painting

Acrylic painting is one of the most modern illustration techniques. It has intense colors and its effects give originality to the work.

Colored pencils

Colored pencils are the fastest and easiest technique to use. It usually takes more work and takes time.

Oil painting

The oil painting technique is rarely used in children’s books. They are usually aimed at the most sophisticated works, with high artistic level creations. However, nothing prevents them from taking part in works aimed at children.

As it was possible to observe throughout this post, there are countless techniques to illustrate children’s books. This time of coronavirus epidemic and social isolation can be favorable for you to take your projects out of the drawer and finally put them into practice. If you are a self-employed illustrator, take the opportunity to produce your materials!

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