After publishing Toffee The Fox (a children’s book about sharing and making friends), my wife, Julie, and I wanted to work on something more educational – a non-fiction book that would help parents to explain basic concepts to their beloved children. I’ve learnt a lot from the project, and I would like to share with you my children’s picture book idea and my 5 tips on how to create eye-catching illustrations for your book and what color combinations to choose. I hope they will be helpful in your creative process.
TIPS FOR CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOKS
1. ONE SIMPLE CONCEPT
The best place to look for concepts for an educational picture book is your everyday life: animals, professions, nature, city, cars, food. You get the idea.
Since eating healthy is one of the priorities in our lifestyles, we decided that a book on fruits would be perfect to start with. While I was working on other projects, Julie took care of polishing up the concept.
2. SIMPLE CONCEPT, RICH SELECTION
Just because you chose a simple concept doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to few basic objects. If you want to create a picture book about animals, remember that the world is much more diverse than cats, dogs and cows. Kids can remember much more than many adults think, especially something unusual and unique, and they would love to learn about a sloth and an anteater.
Picture books for children are often limited to 10-15 illustrations of common fruits like an apple, a pear and a banana. We, however, decided to go further and include more exotic ones as well, like a lychee and a persimmon. 33 in total.
3. REALISM OVER ABSTRACTION
The goal of a children’s picture book is to introduce kids to basic concepts of everyday life, which is why it is better to make the illustrations as closer to what they look in real life as possible so it is easier for kids to connect the dots. Keep a purple tomato on a bicycle for a different occasion.
Once Julie was ready with the concept, it was my turn to create the illustrations.
4. DON’T SKIMP ON COLORS
Majority of us – illustrators, designers and artists – have strong feelings about colors and their role. Children don’t. Creating a book for the little ones is the best time to set your artistic preferences aside and simply enjoy the ride.
Personally, I prefer black and white illustrations with one or two accent colors.
This time, though, the plan was to create a fun and engaging children’s picture book with big letters and a wide variety of delicious, mouth-watering fruits. It was an exciting opportunity to go wild with the palette, and I really couldn’t wait till I got to color the drawings.
5. MAKE IT INTERACTIVE
By the way, the pictures in Name the Fruit are in the very same order as the pictures in the book, so it’s easier for the little learners to look up for the right answer.
Okay, you’re all set. Now go grab a cup of coffee, brainstorm a little and start creating your own children’s picture book today!
Julie and I deeply enjoyed working on the book. Not only because every opportunity to work together is always a blessing, but we’ve also learnt quite a few interesting facts about fruits in the process.
I Learn Fruits was a true labor of love, and we hope our book will find a warm place in your home library.