Illustration Must-Haves for Picture Books 

We all remember our favourite picture books from our childhoods, and while we remember the stories within them, I’ll bet you can still imagine the illustrations too. Illustrations play a pivotal role in bringing picture books to life, helping young readers absorb the story. In this blog, you’ll discover the illustration must-haves to keep readers engaged.

Illustration Must-Haves for Children’s Picture Books

Incorporate Different Types of Illustrations

Including a variety of illustration types can breathe life into a picture book and keep readers interested. Consider asking your illustrator to incorporate a mix of full-page, half-page, split spreads, and spot illustrations.

To learn more about the various types of illustrations and how to incorporate them in your book, read THIS blog.

Variety Within the Illustrations

Even with variety in the types of illustrations, you’ll also want to ensure there’s variability in composition, colours, moods, angles, and settings. A mix of close-ups, wide shots, and mid-range views keeps the visual storytelling interesting, making this one of the non-negotiable illustration must-haves.

Space for Text

While illustrations are a huge part of picture books, leaving space for text is just as important. With no text, your story doesn’t get told, which is why this is on the list of illustration must-haves. Ensure that the illustrations leave enough room for text placement without getting in the drawing’s way. Make sure each page has some blank space where the text can fit nicely.

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?

Main Character Is the Focal Point

The main character is the heart of any picture book, and they should also be the star of the illustrations. The more your illustrator emphasizes the main character's appearance and emotions, the more your reader will connect with that character. As you review your book, pay attention to details, expressions, and body language to convey the character's personality effectively.

Space for the Gutter and Bleeds

As you work with an illustrator and book designer, you’ll want to keep in mind that every book has a gutter and bleed margins. 

➡️ The gutter is in the middle of the book, where the pages slope in towards the binding. It’s very hard to see anything in this area, so you’ll want to ensure all focal points are outside of this space.

➡️ The bleeds are spaces around the edges of the page that allow for small errors in printing and page cutting. We have bleeds so that, if the printer is off by a few millimeters, it won’t ruin the book. Make sure none of the important illustrations fall into the bleeds.

You can learn more about book design in THIS blog.

With children’s picture books, illustrations are just as much part of the story as the text. By exploring different illustration types, maintaining variety, leaving space for text, focusing on the main character, and strategically placing focal points, illustrators can ensure your book will keep readers visually interested. Keep these illustration must-haves in mind as you work with an illustrator and book designer, and you’ll be sure to impress.

Related Posts

When You’re an Illustrator Who Wants to Write
Can You Illustrate Your Own Picture Book?
Photographs vs. Illustrations in Children’s Picture Books
Should Authors Put AI Art in Picture Books?