How to illustrate a children's book: 6 tips to get started

An illustration of a frog sitting on a log from children's book illustrator Jim Field's book Oi Frog!
(Image credit: Jim Field)

Learning how to illustrate a children's book entails the development of unique skills and artistic approaches to capturing the energy of children's stories and appeal to young imaginations. Of course, children's books cover a wide array of genres and allow for a huge variation in styles of illustration. Creating artwork for children's books can take you in all kinds of directions, making it a fantastic specialism for artists who like to play with their creativity. 

There are many things to consider, however. Children's book illustrations need to be accessible and easy to interpret. They also need to grab the attention of the particular age range that you're creating them for and must communicate the emotion of the story. And for very young children who cannot yet read, the illustrations in a children's book are everything and need to tell the story.

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Jim Field is an award-winning illustrator, character designer and animation director, who has worked on a variety of projects, from music videos and title sequences to advertising and picture books. His first illustrated picture book won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2011; since then he has illustrated over 40 children’s books.