Authors who set out to write a children’s book often envision how their book will impact their young readers. Whether the goal is to fascinate, teach, or trigger imaginations, the mission is accomplished through the clever use of both storytelling and visual elements.

The role illustration plays in carrying out the vision of the author is paramount. The illustration style used for the children’s book not only sets the tone of the book but also shapes the child’s reading experience. To learn more about children’s book illustration styles and how to select the best style for your book, read on.

Children’s Book Illustration Styles

When you peruse an array of children’s books, you’ll notice that authors use different ways to format illustrations on the pages and employ various children’s book illustration styles. Illustrators for children’s books may use simple pencil drawings, full-color watercolor, or digitized artwork. In addition, they select from various drawing styles, such as fantasy, cartoonish, or realistic, to fit their book and its audience.

So, what type of illustration formatting is the best choice for your book? Consider the following children’s book illustration styles: 

Spot Illustrations

Spot illustrations are small, simple drawings that provide minimal artistic touches to a page. Spot illustrations are used in various ways, such as adding visual appeal to the chapter heading, providing a corner decoration, or integrating a visual element into the body of text.

Half-Page Illustrations

The half-page illustrations are exactly what the term implies, drawings that fill half the page, with the remainder of the page providing the text. Due to their small size, these drawings tend to have less detail but usually do have backgrounds.

Full-Page Illustrations

A full-page illustration takes up the entire page, providing the opportunity to create visuals with lots of detail. Children’s book illustrators can work text blocks into the design if desired.

Spread Illustrations

Spread illustrations are drawings that utilize two full adjacent pages. This classic children’s book illustration style is popular in books designed for very young children and features text blocks embedded into the illustrations.

Digital vs. Traditional Illustrations

Gone are the days when all book illustrations were produced by hand. These days, illustrators for children’s books utilize traditional and/or digital formats to create the visuals:

Traditional: The illustrator uses select media, such as paint, pen, pencil, or charcoal, to create the image on paper.

Digital: The illustrator creates the images on a computer or tablet using software programs.

Hand-drawn illustrations are more time-consuming and costly to produce, which has led to the popularity of digitally-created artwork for today’s children’s book authors.

How To Choose a Children’s Book Illustration Style

Children’s book authors seek to enthrall their young readers, and through the use of impactful illustrations, they are able to accomplish this. Before embarking on the project, however, the author must consider which illustration style best suits the story.

Considerations may include:

  • Digital vs. Traditional. Which style do you prefer? Do you have budget or time constraints?
  • Age Group. Whether your book is a picture book for young children or a middle-grade chapter book, the age of the audience will affect your choice of style.
  • Number of Illustrations You Want. Do you have a certain number of illustrations in mind for your book? For example, do you envision a book filled with double-page spreads?
  • Length of Book. The number of pages, and the illustration style you select (half-page, full-page, etc.), will impact the number of illustrations needed for the project.
  • Drawing style. The drawing style used for a children’s book should reflect the subject matter, the reader’s age, and the story itself. Here are some drawing styles to consider:
    • Whimsical
    • Cartoonish
    • Fantasy
    • Line drawings
    • Realistic
    • Black and white

Publish Your Children’s Book With Gatekeeper Press

Aspiring authors of children’s books may be surprised to learn that the undertaking is more complex than it appears. Because children are very visual beings, the artistic aspects of the book are key to its success. Gatekeeper Press not only guides you through the writing and publishing process, but it also offers a team of professional illustrators for children’s books who can bring your story to life. Call Gatekeeper Press today!

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