How to Begin to Start Illustrating Books

How to Begin to Start Illustrating Books

Illustrated books have been with us from the very dawn of publishing, and although such books have declined in number over the years, illustrated books are certainly making a comeback. Children’s novels are the most popular books to illustrate in the current book market and we aim to provide great tips on how to start off as an illustrator.


To stand out from the competition as an illustrator you must find a unique identity for yourself. And to come up with your own particular brand or style you need to constantly draw. This may seem a trifle obvious, but by constantly drawing at every opportunity you will find that your personality starts to come out in your work.

Constantly take a sketchbook with you wherever you go and take the opportunity to draw just about anything that you fancy. The more diverse the subjects are that you choose the better your drawing will become. Good illustrators when they are designing a character will constantly sketch figures over and over again until they are satisfied with a definitive one.

Detail is Everything

Illustrated books of every kind are read over and over again, so to keep them fresh and interesting layers of detail must be added to the drawings. So kids or their parents can pick the book up several times and notice something that they had not seen before.

Detail is Everything
Detail is Everything

By illustrating a book in such a manner it provides a much more rewarding reader experience, and it gives an incentive to the illustrator to be as clever as he can with his drawings. There are new technologies that can assist in this including Wacom art pens and Cintiq tablets.

Faces Can Provide Detail

Your drawings need not be too complicated, but one area that you have to pay attention to is your characters faces. The expression on a face can carry a hundred descriptive words, and the raising of an eyebrow or the pursing of the lips can give character to your drawings.

And you will find that a slight positional change of a straight line can add so much to an illustration. It can change the expression from deep concern to total happiness. The most common mistake many illustrators make is to try and do too much, keep it simple and use layers.

Variety is King

Once the content is written and you have ironed out your characters then you must put the whole design together. Because most illustrated children’s books are less than fifty pages you will have to organize how you fit everything in.

Because of this a good technique is to change how busy each page is, break up the pages by adding the simple alongside the complex. You will find the complete book will flow better if you do this and it helps the reader focus on the more important areas. The final tip is to keep your color flow simple, only use drastically different colors when you want to surprise the reader.

If you follow these tips and suggestions you will find that your illustrations will become more interesting and challenging. And they will enhance the text far better so as to engage the reader and keep them captivated in your book.