Can You Illustrate Your Own Picture Book? 

It’s no secret that illustrators are just as interested in children’s books as writers are. But what do you do if you’re an illustrator who also wants to write for young readers? Or what if you’re a writer who has the skills to illustrate? In this blog, you’ll discover whether you can illustrate your own picture book and the best ways to get started.

Can You Illustrate Your Own Picture Book?

Writers Turned Illustrators

To put it simply, yes. If you have experience illustrating, working with graphic design software, and are a capable artist, then you absolutely can illustrate your own picture book.

However, if your drawing experience amounts to high school art class, you haven’t drawn in years, and software like InDesign, Procreate, and Photoshop are mysteries to you, then I would recommend outsourcing to a professional (if you’re planning to publish a book sooner rather than later).

That’s not to say you can’t ever illustrate a picture book. You CAN do anything you set your mind to so long as you practise, have clarity on your goals, and keep going.

Illustrators Turned Writers

If you’re a professional illustrator who wants to dabble in storytelling through words, you absolutely can do that.

The nice thing about writing is that, if you read a lot and are willing to accept feedback, you can pick it up rather quickly. But before you start submitting to publishers, you’ll want to hone your writing skills.

Whether you’re a writer turned illustrator or you’re an illustrator turned writer, it begs the question: how do you start?

Find Your Illustrator & Protect Your Children's Book

FREE Guide for Aspiring Authors

You will discover:

How to find the perfect illustrator for your picture book

7 MUSTS for your illustrator contract

 Bonus Tips for working with an illustrator

Where should we send the free guide?

How to Get Started on Your Picture Book

The creative process is subjective. No two people do things the same way, and we all have different preferences, perspectives, and methods of thought. This means that you might have to try a few different approaches to write or illustrate your own picture book.

Here are some ideas to try out as you start crafting your own picture book.

Start with Art

This might seem counterintuitive to anyone who is more familiar with writing, but if your skill set lies in visual art, you might find it helpful to start with art.

Give yourself some time to draw and create mockups of characters, scenes, settings, and so on. As you create, you might start to come up with stories for these characters, scenes, and settings. You might envision an adventure happening in their midst.

NOTE: I don’t suggest illustrating the entire book before your story is written and edited. This is because, as your story gets edited, you might have to make changes to the illustrations. 

As these ideas start popping up, consider moving towards writing. Note those ideas and develop them into plots, stories, and eventually manuscripts.

Start with Writing

If starting with art doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, do the opposite! Start writing down your ideas for a character, a problem they’ll face, and the adventure they’ll experience as they solve it.

Then, once you’ve gotten a few drafts into the writing process, you can start working on the art that will eventually accompany it.

NOTE: I always recommend starting with the writing, but you do what feels best for your creative process.

Interested in Writing a Children's Book?

From First Draft to First Publication

It’s much easier said than done to turn a first draft into a published book (whether you illustrate your own picture book or not). To be supported and informed as you work on your book, consider the following step-by-step process and resources.

Outline Your Picture Book

Start your planning with…

Craft Your First Draft

Kickstart your writing with…

Edit to Perfection

Perfect your story with…

Illustrate Your Own Picture Book

Design a beautiful book with…

Publish Your Book

Get your book into children’s hands with…

Launch a Successful Picture Book

Generate sales and inspire readers with…

If you keep at it and pursue help when needed, you CAN become an incredible author (who also illustrated your own picture book).

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When to Hire an Illustrator for Your Children’s Book