5 Ways To Illustrate A Childrens Book When You Cant Draw! (REVISED! 2023) – Selfpublished Whiz

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This beautiful book celebrates the special bond between mother and child. Choose the name and appearance of both characters for a truly unique gift.

Illustrations are an essential part of children’s books, making the text more enjoyable to read while bringing the story to life. This article will discuss how to illustrate a children’s book, even if you don’t think of yourself as an excellent artist!

You have five options when it comes down to illustrations for your children’s book. The most common two are to either hire a professional illustrator or do it yourself.

But, if you do not have a budget for paying an illustrator, you will have to learn how to do it yourself..

I have done both, and since I started illustrating my own books, these three tools have been invaluable to me!

  • Canva – Canva turns ANYBODY into a professional graphic designer.
  • Vecteezy – Royalty-free illustrations for commercial use.
  • Procreate – Illustration app for iPad Pro.

But now, I am having to revise this post – as over the past few weeks, I have been KILLING it with option 5

Table Of Contents
  1. 7 Reasons Why Children’s Book Illustrations Matter
  2. How do i illustrate my own book? Your Options:
  3. Option 1 – How to illustrate a children’s book by hand.
  4. Options 2 & 3 – How to illustrate a children’s book Digitally
  5. Option 4 – Hiring a professional illustrator
  6. Option 5 – AI Generated Book Illustrations 👀
  7. Simple Children’s Book Illustrations That Everybody Loves
  8. Tips to help you illustrate your first children’s picture book 
  9. Children’s Book Illustration FAQs

In this post, I will discuss why it is crucial to illustrate children’s books and the best way to go about getting the illustration

7 Reasons Why Children’s Book Illustrations Matter

Children find illustrated books to be more engaging than text-only books, as they appear to be more interesting. Consequently, illustrations in children’s books are of great importance. In the following section, I will discuss the significance of artwork in children’s books and its role.

Watch more videos on the same topic : A Love Like Ours – the new Librio book is available now!

Video Description

This beautiful book celebrates the special bond between mother and child. Choose the name and appearance of both characters for a truly unique gift.

1. It motivates children to read

Illustrations in children’s books can be a great motivator for them to read. The bright, vivid images can draw their attention and encourage them to explore the pages, even if they don’t understand the narrative.

Reading can be a great source of motivation for kids, encouraging them to create positive reading habits.

2. Illustrations strengthen visual thinking.

Illustrations in children’s booksPeople can form an emotional bond with the visuals they view, allowing them to feel a connection to the images.

Images can also help people to think more clearly and to better comprehend how different concepts relate to each other in the text.

3. Improves listening

Reading books with pictures is a great way to help kids hone their listening skills. When reading aloud, children can focus on the story while paying attention to the illustrations, which can help them become better listeners.

4. Boosts engagement

The inclusion of images in children’s books can increase the connection between the students and the adults who are teaching or caring for them.

The illustrations provide an opportunity for young readers to engage in meaningful dialogue about the visuals, the actions of the characters, and the events taking place in the story.

The construction of the children’s self-assurance and enhancement of their communication abilities are positively impacted.

5. Engagement

Many kids find that picture books are more than just a narrative; they also provide a fun and educational experience. The vivid artwork and engaging characters help to make the story come alive, making it more accessible and pleasurable for young readers.

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6. Build language skills

Children can benefit from reading picture books that contain straightforward language and phrases that are repeated. This can help them to become more comfortable and confident in their reading abilities.

Furthermore, the pictures can offer helpful insights on the definition of unknown words, aiding kids to cultivate significant abilities in vocabulary and understanding.

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7. Illustrations refine children’s skills.

Images can aid in fostering the ability to conceptualize, as well as encouraging imaginative thinking. Picture books can assist children in connecting items to related pictures and accompanying text.

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How do i illustrate my own book?Your Options:

  1. Drawing and coloring or painting the illustrations yourself by hand.
  2. Drawing using an iPad/Tablet.
  3. Drawing using a USB drawing tablet and computer.
  4. Hiring a professional illustrator

If you need to create illustrations for a book, you have various possibilities to choose from, depending on your abilities. You can hand-draw or paint the images and take high-quality photos or scans of them; or alternatively, you could use an iPad or tablet.

You could opt for a USB drawing tablet and computer as an alternative. If you want a more professional approach, you could consider engaging a professional illustrator.

It is essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option when deciding what will be the best choice for your book. If you feel confident in your drawing skills, you may want to consider doing the artwork yourself.

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If you are uncertain about your artistic capabilities or if you do not have much time to spare, you may want to consider employing a professional illustrator.

Here I will provide a more thorough explanation of the various approaches that can be taken.

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Option 1 – How to illustrate a children’s book by hand.

Step 1.Outline the plot of your book and create a visual representation of it. Think about where the story will take place, who the characters are, and what each page will look like. Draw sketches that will help bring the narrative to life and match the text you have planned for each page.

Step 2.Create a sketch of your desired image in the book. Use a marker or sharpie to ensure the lines are solid and easy to scan. Make sure the scaled image is accurately depicted.

Step 4.Using a high-quality camera or phone, take pictures of your finished drawings or outlines. If you find the drawings are ready to be featured in your manuscript, you could make some minor adjustments, such as increasing the vibrancy or saturation.

If you know how to use software like Adobe Photoshop or LightroomYou can quickly and easily create a unified look and feel for all of your illustrations by batch processing them.

However, this is not necessary, and if you do not wish to use any additional software you can put these images straight into your chosen formatting program.

If you have just scanned the outlines, you will need to fill the color in – you can do this in Photoshop

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Options 2 & 3 – How to illustrate a children’s book Digitally

a) Ipad Pro (any) + Apple Pencil + Procreate App
b) Drawing Tablet (similar to an iPad but usually cheaper)
c) USB Graphic Drawing Pad

I have examined three different options in terms of cost, with ‘a’ being the priciest and ‘c’ being the least costly.

They will offer different levels of design capability but essentially you will accomplish the same thing;

A) iPad Pro 10.5″ + Apple Pencil

The 10.5″ iPad Pro is the cheapest iPad Pro on the market at around $300. This is what I have used from the start, along with the 1st Generation Apple Pencil and the drawing app, Procreate.

The ease of being able to draw and edit on the fly without having to connect to a PC won me over. Procreate is an AMAZING piece of software

Procreate is available in the app store for a one-time fee of $9.99The creators of Brushes, a highly praised and widely used application, have also developed this wonderful product. I have personally been utilizing Brushes for many years, and I’m now pleased to have access to this amazing app as well.

The Apple Pencil is pretty much one of a kind at this point. There are other styluses out there that mimic its use in apps like Procreate and Photoshop

Apple iPad Pro 10.5in -64GB Wifi – 2017 Model -…
Apple Pencil (1st Generation)

The Apple Pencil is the easiest to use and most precise stylus on the market. You can get it directly from Apple or Amazon for $99

With that being said, to get started with the iPad Pro and Procreate, you are looking at an upfront investment of $300-$400.

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B) XP-PEN Artist12 11.6″ Graphics Drawing Tablet Monitor Pen Display

XP-PEN Artist12 11.6 Inch FHD Drawing Monitor…

The XP-PEN is the next best thing if you do not want to spend $400 on an iPad Pro and pencil. You still benefit from the display screen feature but also have the ability to connect to your laptop

This tablet offers a great balance of affordability and quality. It has a visible drawing screen, is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, and provides a convenient mobile drawing experience.

The XP-PEN Artist12 is a great tool for burgeoning designers and animators. I had the opportunity to use it once and was amazed by the high resolution it offered. This tablet is an ideal choice for those creating artwork for a book, as it provides all the features necessary to craft beautiful, captivating visuals.

This pen has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, enabling you to produce impressive gradations of color when utilizing it with a preferred design program.

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C) Huion H420 USB Graphics Drawing Pad

HUION H420 USB Graphics Drawing Tablet Board Kit

The Huion H420 Drawing PadThe most inexpensive choice are these drawing tablets. Despite their low cost, they are highly compatible and can accomplish the task. Unlike the other two options, they do not have a display screen.

But, just connect to your laptop and PhotoshopWith a design software like Adobe Illustrator, you can easily create stunning designs. All you need is the right software, and you’re ready to start designing!

They are only around $3If you are just starting out with illustration and not yet ready to purchase an iPad Pro, this is an ideal option to test the waters.

I have combined Options b and c since the procedure is quite alike, though the hardware used is distinct, but the result is still the same.

All of these products are top-rated in their fieldI have a preference for the iPad Pro, but all of these devices can help you create high-quality digital illustrations to use in your children’s book manuscript. No matter what you choose, you can be sure it will do the job.

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Step 1.

Step 2. Take a picture of it on your iPad/tablet or

Step 3.Create a storyboard by tracing each frame in sequence. Setting the document dimensions to match the size of the book will be beneficial.

If you are designing a book with a size of 8.5″ by 8.5″ including bleed, then you should set the dimensions to 2550px by 2550px. This will guarantee that your illustration will perfectly fit the text.

Step 4.The tablets with screens have a distinct advantage over the USB interface when it comes to color and shade. Drawing on Procreate is made so much easier with its range of brushes and features, making the process appear effortless.

If you are using the USB interface you will be doing the same thing but via Photoshop.

* This is how the USB drawing tablet works with Photoshop.

Step 5. Construct your manuscript in your chosen formatting program.

Even though you may feel uncertain about your drawing skills, I will provide advice in the following section that will assist you in creating your first children’s picture book.

Option 4 – Hiring a professional illustrator

In this segment, you will be guided on the process of obtaining illustrations for a children’s book. Contrary to what one might assume, it is actually quite straightforward and economical!

Step 1.

Step 2. Write descriptive text for each frame and save it in a word document. This is what you will send to your illustrator once you hire them. You will not be sending the entire book

Step 3. Sign up for Fiverr. This platform is particularly user-friendly and provides a wide selection of professionals. Additionally, it is one of the most popular sites for hiring illustrators.

Step 4. Browse illustrators and discuss.FiverrThere are thousands of illustration services available, each with their own prices and styles. It can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you. It is important to find one that matches your desired style and to communicate openly with them.

The team is eager to view your storyboard and are curious to discover the details of your characters, such as their clothing, skin tone, setting, and size of the images.

Step 5If you decide to hire someone for a project, they will let you know how many days or weeks it will take. They will keep you informed by periodically sending you updates. For instance, after they have completed the digital line art for your sketch, they will notify you to ensure that it meets your approval.

At this juncture, if you are unsatisfied with the look of the character’s hair, face, or any other aspect, you can make adjustments as desired.

The individuals involved need to make alterations before they start to fill in with colors and other details. One can request various revisions until satisfied, and finally, will have a professional collection of images for the book!

The final product from the professionals

If you are looking for a good illustration or character drawing course, check out my Recommended Products and Services pageThis post outlines the best resources for self-published authors, as well as providing beginner-friendly illustration and marketing courses. Here, you can find helpful advice for getting started in the publishing world.

What would be the first illustration that you would have Artificial Intelligence create for you in a matter of seconds?

Maybe you could use it to make illustrations for your most recent book. It could also be used to create impressive visuals for a presentation in a timely manner.

With Jasper ArtWith the help of your AI creative assistant, you can now transform your ideas into unique visuals and stunning artwork quickly and effortlessly.

Whether you need a quick picture to match your message or a more complex piece of artwork, Jasper can help. And best of all, you won’t have to wait weeks to get it back and request revisions – Jasper Art can generate new images in seconds.

For just $20 per month, they offer an innumerable amount of image generation. This is an amazing price and, due to the unlimited nature of the offer, you can continue to generate pictures until you find the ideal image.

Creating illustrations using Jasper Art and then refining them with Pro Create and an Apple pen is a technique anyone can utilize. I have personally used this formula with success.

Simple Children’s Book Illustrations That Everybody Loves


Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, David Williams

It is no secret that simple illustrationsIllustrations are often an excellent addition to children’s books, particularly when it comes to delivering the story in an interesting and engaging way.

It is easier for young readers to focus on the story when there is less clutter on the page, which may be why many of the most beloved children’s books feature uncomplicated illustrations.

Famous authors such as Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, and David Williams have gained recognition for their ability to create captivating visuals with minimalist designs.

It has been said that the success of a children’s book is due to a combination of the story and the illustrations.

So you see, you can keep reading for tips on how to turn your not-so-perfect drawings into illustrations or you can skip right on ahead to Option 4 and be done with it!

Tips to help you illustrate your first children’s picture book 

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#1 Learn from others

If you are just starting out illustrating a children’s picture book, it can be helpful to draw inspiration from other people’s work. Fortunately, we are fortunate enough to live in an age where we have access to the most incredible innovation of our time – the Internet.

The internet has made it possible to learn all sorts of skills, for free! This includes cartooning and illustrating. You can get many educational online tutorials that can provide detailed step-by-step guidesCreating artwork using various methods can be a fun and rewarding endeavor. Sketching, drawing, painting, and digitally illustrating are all viable options for producing beautiful art. For those who wish to learn more about these processes, there are many affordable courses available on Udemy which have been highly praised by many people.

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If traditional learning isn’t your thing, there are also books out there to help you. To maximize your learning experience, it’s best to consult multiple books and tutorials rather than sticking to just one. This way, you’ll have access to the most up-to-date advice and trends.

#2. Be keen on the drawings that inspire you

Drawing inspiration from picture books can be a great way to develop your artistic skills. Take a close look at the illustrations and identify what elements draw you in. Incorporate some of these features into your own artwork, while still maintaining your own unique style.

Using illustrations from other books can be beneficial in creating and refining your own unique style.

Gaining creative ideas from other people’s work is an essential part of the creative process. To stay up to date on what is popular, it is recommended to check out the latest illustrated children’s books. Doing so will give an understanding of the popular techniques used by illustrators to make their books humorous, interesting, and visually appealing.

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#3. Different Children’s Book Illustration Styles

Gaining the skills necessary to illustrate a book starts with researching the many styles of children’s book illustration. This could involve exploring the artwork of different illustrators, enrolling in workshops or classes, or simply practicing on one’s own.

Once an illustrator has acquired knowledge of the different existing illustration styles, they can begin to explore and experiment to identify a style that is the most compatible with their artwork.

Studying various illustration styles can help you to not only create your own designs, but also to gain an overall comprehension of the field. With this understanding, you can begin to make illustrations that are distinctively your own.

#4. Draw as much as possible

Consistently practicing drawing is the key to mastering the skill. When you continually draw, you will naturally build your proficiency and eventually become an expert. Although it can be challenging to find the necessary time, it is essential to make room for it in your schedule.

As you continue to practice drawing, you will start to become more connected to it and have an increased desire to do it frequently. Consequently, you will find yourself making time for it.

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#5. Focus on character development

When creating a children’s picture book, the first step is to create the primary character. This character is likely to be featured in all of the illustrations and should be someone that the readers can bond with.

Drawing the protagonist of a story in various expressions and settings is essential to creating a sense of continuity for younger audiences. As you practice, make sure to keep the details of each depiction consistent.

Gaining a mastery of techniques to accurately depict facial expressions can be incredibly helpful. This will enable you to reproduce these expressions with ease, making them a signature part of your artistic style and something that readers can expect to encounter in your books.

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#6. Start with a storyboard.

When creating an illustration for a children’s picture book, but lacking drawing skills, it is helpful to first make a brief outline of what each illustration should depict.

Peruse the book page-by-page, keeping track of your thoughts and ideas with notes or drawings. This will help you develop a better understanding of how to illustrate your story effectively.

Creating thumbnail sketches for each page of your project, adding detailed illustrations and color samples will be an essential part of constructing your masterpiece. This step will not only help you, but can also be used to hire a freelancer for the job.

#7. Seek Feedback

Prior to creating your finished piece, it is essential to receive input and comments on your proposed artwork. This can be achieved by connecting with other children’s illustrators, relatives, acquaintances, instructors, writers, or editors.

Pay attention to the feedback you receive and revise your drawings to make them even better.

Children’s Book Illustration FAQs

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How Long Does It Take to Illustrate a Children’s Book?

The length of time to create an illustration for a children’s book can differ significantly depending on the illustrator’s technique, the amount of drawings necessary, and the level of detail included in every picture.

Children’s books often have 32 pages, with one or two illustrations on each page. An illustrator can usually finish one illustration in an hour or less, although more elaborate artwork can take days to complete.

Typically, it will take several hours to finish a single illustration.

Hiring an illustrator can help you create an accurate timeline based off of the storyboard that you have provided.

How to illustrate a children’s book for Free

You can illustrate it yourself, though it may not be completely free as you might have to buy a drawing tablet if you do not already have one, or some basic materials like pens, pencils, markers, etc.

If you plan on taking this path, it is essential to have a thorough comprehension of the art style you wish to establish for your book. After obtaining this knowledge, illustrating should become much simpler.

Many people wonder if they can use clipart

As of September 4th, 2022, this page includes affiliate links and images sourced from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Frequently asked questions

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How many illustrations should I include in a children’s book?

The number of illustrations in a children’s book depends on the size of the book and the type of story being told. Generally, it is recommended to include at least one illustration per page. This can range from a single full-page illustration to several smaller illustrations throughout the book.

What materials should I use to illustrate a children’s book?

The type of materials used to illustrate a children’s book will depend on the style and look you are aiming for. Popular materials include watercolors, acrylics, oil paints, colored pencils, markers, and digital media. It is also possible to combine multiple techniques to create a more unique look.

How much detail should I include in the illustrations?

The amount of detail you include in your illustrations will depend on the style and look of the book. If you are creating a realistic style, then the illustrations should include lots of detail. If you are creating a more abstract style, then the illustrations should include less detail. It is important to make sure that the illustrations are clear and easy to understand.

How much time should I spend on each illustration?

The amount of time you spend on each illustration will depend on the size of the illustration and the level of detail you wish to include. Generally, it is best to spend around 10-20 hours on each illustration to ensure the best possible quality. This means that it can take anywhere from 30-50 hours to illustrate an entire book.

What is the best way to create illustrations for a children’s book?

The best way to create illustrations for a children’s book is to start with a plan. Sketch out thumbnails of each page and decide what elements should be included. Once you have a clear plan, you can then start to create the illustrations in more detail. It is also important to take regular breaks to ensure your creative ideas remain fresh.

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