Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Friends: Here… There… Everywhere, a children’s picture book by Calauti, shows how important illustrations are to catch children’s interest. But did you know? With the proper attempt and determination, authors can draw their picture book.

Truth be told, illustrations might be the top priority in children’s books. Others say the story is the most significant feature. Authors only need to worry and focus on creating a fascinating story to seize children’s interests, and illustrations only come second.

But when people are asked what catches children’s attention first between the two, most answers would definitely be illustrations.

Typically produced for an audience of children aged four to eight, storylines in children’s books might not be as critical as people say it is after all. Don’t get this wrong. Authors still need to create a captivating story, but children will most likely be more interested in looking at the drawings.

Illustrations vs. Narrations

Children aged four to eight are still familiarizing and practicing their reading skills. Hence, they’re likely to be more interested in how the illustrations are presented than what the story conveys. The drawings are responsible for bringing the story to life. It’s only logical that authors also pay equal, if not greater, attention to the drawings’ details.

While authors independently work on their storylines, they don’t have to carry all the burden regarding their illustrations. Illustrating is generally fun, but they can’t be careless about it with their books. Authors still need to consider their goal of appealing to the younger audience.

To relieve them from this burden, numerous artists can offer their expertise. But this can be costly and may take away the author’s personalization.

Fortunately, the truth is that children’s book illustrations don’t need to be intimidating. These drawings don’t have to be extraordinarily artistic or significant that only professional artists can do them.

For instance, in the book Friends Here… There… Everywhere, a children’s picture book by Calauti, the drawings didn’t look too professionally made. Other authors may think it’s going to impact the book negatively. But instead, this factor even added personality to Calauti’s story.

If authors wish to draw for their book, they can.

After all, they know their stories best.

Illustrating as a Non-Artist

Authors might find it tough to find a starting point in this venture because they’re writers, not artists. However, drawing for children’s books isn’t about making the best piece to impress children. These illustrations only need to be fascinating and, well, decent. And sometimes, weird colorful globs can do the trick.

But if authors wish to draw more than just globs, they can learn how by following these steps:

Find and Decide a Stylistic Inspiration

Find a collection of children’s books and look at how they’re illustrated. Does the book use watercolors? Or perhaps, does it aim for realism?

These are only some of the art styles authors can choose from. All they need to do is maximize their strengths. Do they know how to use watercolors? Maybe, do a little graphic designing? If neither, they don’t have to worry. They can stick with drawing stick figures.

Search for a Reference

For starters, they need to find inspiration on what to draw. A reference isn’t only found on the internet. They can spring from anywhere, including the nearby park and the zoo. Sometimes, it may even be in their homes’ comfort.

They can try and replicate these references without aiming for perfection. Again, even crooked lines can look creative from the children’s perspective if played well. Google can help provide a reference if this can’t be achieved.

Character Development

The great thing about children’s book is it mainly centers on one character. Authors don’t need to worry about creating and sketching multiple characters. Instead, they can focus on developing this character, drawing them in different situations and with other facial expressions.

Storyboard and Go!

Once their main character is built, they can then outline what part of their story would need illustrations. In choosing so, they must ensure continuity across the scenes and that they will be able to convey the whole story smoothly.

Afterward, authors can make drafts of each part before finalizing everything with the appropriate coloring materials. An essential thing to remember during this process is continuity.