How you can become a successful illustrator for a children’s book


No doubt, illustrating children’s books can be a suitable job for those who like drawing and storytelling. While it sounds fun to do this, it’s not that easy. Children’s book illustrator jobs require someone who has some skills. You also need to put a lot of effort into illustrating children’s books, especially for beginners. 

But if you are already an illustrator but you have never illustrated a children’s book, then you are in a good position. In this case, you may already know what it takes to illustrate a book. Remember that a great illustrator for a children’s book can create illustrations that work well with context to assist readers to understand the reading. This post discusses how you can become a successful illustrator for a children’s book.   

A children’s book illustrator

A children’s book illustrator means that you can draw for children’s books. You should note that it’s usually more than simply drawing based on your ideas. This is because you need to work and communicate with the writer to convert text into visuals.

Simply put a children’s book illustrator is a person who works alongside a writer to create imagery for kid’s books. And, this illustration or imagery should help children easily understand the book. There are a couple of steps you have to follow to become a good children’s book illustrator, and this includes the following:

Practice drawing

Before you decide to become a successful children’s book illustrator, you need to be a great illustrator first. This means you should practice your drawing skills so that you can become any type of illustrator.

You should note that it’s hard to have an illustration without an idea, and many times you can get inspired by looking at random drawings. Therefore, you need to improve your drawing skills so that you can explore your creativity. You can even practice your drawing skills in the early stage by sketching what you see like scenery, objects, and portraits. Then you can attempt to utilize your imagination and draw. 

For instance, you can choose to create an image for a page telling any story of a person lost in a forest. While drawing a person in a forest can seem easy, it can be hard to interpret lost in the drawing. 

Find your style

People can draw for the same story, but the outcomes can be different. This is because each person tends to have a unique style, and this is what most publishers usually look for. After all, if you have the same style as other people, then there is no point for a publisher to choose you. 

Illustrations for children are often more colorful, fun, bright, and lively. Most of them are exaggerated illustrations with many imaginations. For instance, colored pencil and pastel style drawings are common for children’s books. Therefore, you need to figure out your drawing style utilizing these tools. 

Create a good portfolio

Just because you are a good children’s book illustrator cannot help you to secure a job. You need to show your work. This means that you should have a good portfolio that shows your storytelling skills by using illustrations and original drawing style.

Also, it’s crucial to include various projects, such as different animals, characters, nature, and many more. Alternatively, you can demonstrate how you illustrate with color pencils, brushes, and digital work. This can prove that you are flexible and may adapt to various mediums so that the publisher cannot think that you are only focused on creating specific illustrations. You should remember that a good-looking illustration that fails to tell a story may not work because you must show your skills when it comes to conveying context to visuals.


You should also connect with other professionals who are in the industry, especially for new illustrators. This is because it can be quite hard to find a chance on your own. Therefore, you can make use of social media platforms. Post some of your projects online so that you can connect with publishers, book authors, children’s book agencies, and other children’s book illustrators. 

Also, you can find out about events that you should attend, get some tips from professional children’s book illustrators, and job postings. All these can help you secure a job. It can be great if you can meet writers face to face. 

Tops tips to help you illustrate a children’s book

Aside from the above steps that you need to take to become an excellent children’s book illustrator, there are also some things that can help you. Firstly, you should use storyboards when you illustrate. This means that you have to break down your story on several storyboards just similar to a comic book. This can help because while you are drawing, it can organize your thinking and creates the drawing flow with the text. 

Another good thing is that you can decide to get back to the storyboard so that you may select the scene that matches most on the page. As explained earlier, random sketches can give you ideas. Therefore, you can choose to combine various elements you sketch in various scenes. You don’t need to make the storyboard look great as it’s just a quick sketch that you use to write down your ideas. 

There is also a chance that you may not have lots of books to read, but you still need to have a good idea of the types of children’s books you like. As an illustrator of children’s books, it’s necessary to think about what children like and the kind of illustrations that can catch their attention. Hence, you should research and check what is included in the most popular children’s books. 

Lastly, you need to promote yourself. As mentioned above, networking is crucial, so you can post your projects online. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are a good way you can promote yourself and connect with other people. It may take a long time to reach your audience, but you can eventually do. You should use this opportunity to expose your work.

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