Illustrating Children’s Books for Dummies: a guide to write, illustrate, and publish your book

Children's Books

Everyone loves a good children’s story—be it written or spoken—and many dreams to write one. However, having a great idea for a book is not enough for a children’s book. It’s just half of the entire journey of publishing a great book, while the other half of the journey is creating illustrations for the book. Without the visual representation, even the most engaging stories won’t be able to communicate the message to the readers. Here are some simple guides that can provide directions to your ultimate destination.

Start with the Manuscript

This is the first step that can help in achieving the target. If you are not an experienced writer, you can practice your skills and get feedback from experienced writers to get better. You must remember that your first draft is never perfect, and you need to work your way through it. You can make use of the internet and learn ways to improve your skills and practice to write a children’s book.

Children’s books contain up to 500 words and are interesting enough to engage young readers with the story. Once you are done with the process, you can get feedback from the professionals to eliminate any possible mistake present in the book before you send it for publication.

Get Started with Illustrations!

The next step is to create a visual representation of the story. Begin by illustrating the characters. Make rough sketches of your characters and refine them to fit the personality of the character described in the book. You can find inspiration for your characters from people around you. If not that, you can find pictures of kids, or better, illustrated images of characters on the internet for reference. 

Draw Storyboard

This is the most important step in making children books illustration. Once you are finished with the characters, you can start with the storyboard. You need to draw out a series of blocks to represent the pages of the book. Begin by marking the places where you want your text and characters to stand and arrange them to make it interesting. View alternate angles of the characters and the background and place them carefully in the boxes. You need to make sure that each box is a continuation of the next to maintain the flow of the book.

Create a Dummy

Now that you are ready with children books illustration and formatting, it is time to create a dummy book. A dummy book is an imitation of the children’s book containing the text, and illustrations with the cover page and the end page bound as a proper book. Your dummy book is the foundation of your pitch that you provide to the publishers as a sample of your work. It is a display of your complete work while providing the flexibility to change or tweak the idea and layout. Being a newbie, you must understand not to illustrate the entire book before pitching the idea to the publisher. This is because they are likely to make changes in the idea as well as the design and all your work and effort will be a waste of time.

Find a Publisher

Once you have compiled your work, it is time to find a publisher who may be interested in your work. You can join pages and groups of writers and illustrators which can provide you with some insight on publishing houses and publisher’s websites. You can pitch your work to several publishers before you get a response. Read the submission guidelines of the publishers before choosing them to get started.

submit your work and wait

Each publisher present in the market has different guidelines, but most of them would like to see a query letter and our dummy book. A query letter is something that sells your book to the publisher. It is like grabbing the attention of the publisher without giving the story away. Others might want to see your portfolio along with your dummy book instead of a query. You must remember to send in copies instead of the original document. Once you have submitted your work to the publishers, it is time to wait for their response. They take a long time to respond, so be patient!

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