If you’ve written a children’s book, you may be wondering about illustrations. Children’s book illustrations are a crucial part of a picture book, adding more dimension than you may even think from a purely aesthetic purpose to the beginnings of critical thinking. Here you can read about the benefits that strong illustrations can bring to your book, and even how to find the best children’s book illustrators.  Let’s go!

Why are children’s book illustrations so important to children’s books?

We all can think back to that children’s book we loved as a kid. We probably still love it. What was it about that particular book? Was it the words, the way they flowed like a stream murmuring and babbling through your mind? Maybe it was the characters, fun and adventurous, mischievous or grounded? Probably one of the top things we all remember when it comes to our favorite books are the children’s book illustrations.

Children’s book illustrations bring a book to life. They create vision and setting and character development. They put faces to names and allow the reader to step into another world. Good children’s book illustrations don’t overtake the text, they enhance it. Picture books are crucial tools in the development of reading and literacy. When a child reaches for a book, he’s reaching to open his world. This can have a powerful, positive, long-lasting effect.

If you’ve written a children’s book, it’s an amazing accomplishment. Just think, your story could be that next reached for book, a bedtime story, a sweet part of childhood or parenting. And if you get just the right illustrations, it will that much more impactful, memorable, and reached for.

A book’s aesthetics

Let’s start with aesthetics. As much as the deeper aspects of literacy are important, we can’t deny that we love a beautiful book. Illustrations can make this happen.  A strong illustrator can create designs to match the aesthetics and the message of the book. It’s kind of true, you can sometimes tell a  book by its cover.

Different books will demand different illustrations. For instance, an early picture book may have bold, simple graphics that are easy for toddlers to appreciate. An older child’s picture book can have more detailed artwork depicting whole scenes and ideas, even new worlds.

The aesthetics can also speak to the message of the book and the vibe you’re going for. Is it a gentle, sweet story or an action-packed adventure? Depending on your story, the illustrations you want can be pretty specific. The right illustrations will work with the story. They’ll bring it to life.

children's book illustrations

Illustrations can capture attention

We mentioned telling a book by its cover. We think it’s a thing and that a  strong cover will entrance readers to your book. Great children’s book illustrations will flow from the pages to the cover, and they’ll be the first thing your reader sees. Kids know what they like, and when a book speaks to them, they’ll reach for it again and again. Part of this is capturing attention, and that’s one thing that illustrations do.

Strong children’s book illustrations can lead to valuable discussion

Increase vocabulary

Part of the beauty of picture books is the interaction between the reader and the child. It goes far beyond the pages of a book and can lead to great discussion, even with a three-year-old.  When children’s book illustrations complement the story, we are able to go far beyond the words. We can talk about colors, settings, what the character is doing and help our children learn new words.

Here’s a scenario – you’ve written a book where the characters are animals. Perhaps the main characters are dogs, but your illustrations include cats, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, different birds, you get the idea. When the reader points to the animal illustrations, they immediately open up opportunities for the child to learn new words and new vocabulary. Kids can ask about unknown things in the pictures and add to the experience beyond the story.

Lead to critical thinking

Believe it or not, children’s book illustrations can lead to critical thinking. Ebsco.com shares that picture books can increase engagement and analyze a story. When children can discuss pictures, they can think deeper about the story. For instance, they can think about what may be beyond that mountain or perhaps what the woman down the street is doing.  They can learn there is no wrong answer, but they can reason based on the material they have, and that material includes the illustrations.

Increase comprehension

For young readers or those struggling a bit, children’s book illustrations can help increase comprehension. With pictures along with the pages as a guide and a visual tool, young learners can decipher meaning better and use context clues to not only read the words but also understand them more clearly. This is where the illustrator comes into play and can create illustrations to complement and enhance the text.

Illustrations open the world

As much as we want to be able to read and create images in our heads, illustrations can help. And when children are reading, they may not have the experience to conjure up the images on their own. Think about the beautiful book, Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison. This is a story about a Black dad lovingly working on his daughter’s hair. Not only does it visually show their relationship, but it also shows natural hair that people of other races may not be familiar with. These illustrations share cultures and can open awareness. 

Illustrations are the enhancement to your words. They guide the reader and give visual information. We are a visual society and illustrations enhance the written word, opening up things our little readers may have never known existed. Illustrations also allow those readers to use their own imagination to create their own beautiful images in their minds.

Illustrations can create a brand

When you hear Arthur the Aardvark, who do you picture? Arthur, of course, in his yellow sweater, glasses, and red bow tie. Anytime you see an image of Arthur, you can relate him to the books and their illustrations. These illustrations gave birth to not only a book series and a long-running tv show but also toys and paraphernalia. When the illustrations are that good, they lead to opening a universe of the character and story.

When your illustrations are spot on, the characters can go far beyond the boundaries of the cover of your book. With the right illustrator, who knows where your story can go!

children's book illustrations

Finding the best designer for children’s book illustrations

It’s pretty clear why children’s book illustrations are so crucial to making a great book, now let’s look at how to go about finding and hiring that illustrator who is going to make your vision come to life. With so many illustrators out there, how do you begin?

There is some great information in our article, Hire an Illustrator for a Children’s Book. Here you can find some information on the types of illustrations, which is all-important to your book’s aesthetics. This is one of the things to think about when looking to hire a designer.

We’ve got our first thing to think about – types of illustrations. You also need to think about how you want to hire an illustrator and what your budget is. Often, you do get what you pay for so this may be a place to set aside some of your budget. Ask yourself questions like this to help refine that budget:

  • How many illustrations will you want and where do you want them?
  • Do you have a  website or other marketing platform where you may want to add these illustrations?
  • Are you good with a skilled illustrator with less experience?

Next, think about some parameters and specifications you have in mind. This goes back to the book’s aesthetics. Consider things like color palette, illustration medium, character specifications. All of this will help the illustrator give you just what you are looking for. Consider the age you are targeting. Different illustrations appeal to different age groups so your pictures should speak to your target audience.

Be wary of working with just anyone. An artist can be quite skilled but often cannot produce just what a client wants. It’s important to go to someone who can read your vision or even help you define it. Your end result should be just what you want, not what the artist wants to give you.

Bunny Studio Pros for children’s book illustrations

At Bunny Studio, we have top professionals ready to design your children’s book illustrations. Our pros know how to design the pictures you’re looking for and work tightly in line with your specifications. You’ll submit your details, and our team will find the best pro for your job. All of our prices are personally developed with your plan and budget in mind, and this price always includes your satisfaction guaranteed. This means we will revise until you’re happy. We work as a team and your illustrations and happiness are our goal.

The bottom line on children’s book illustrations

Children’s book illustrations are going to be a huge part of your book. Along with the storyline and text, they will bring the story to life. Your illustrations represent your story, improve comprehension, guide learning, and evoke deeper, critical thinking, even in the youngest of readers. Your illustrations can create a brand and a recognizable character. When you’re looking to hire a designer for your book illustrators, give us a chat! We’d love to be part of your story, and you’ll love what we do – we guarantee it!