Monday, July 13, 2009

How to find your illustrating style when writing and illustrating your first picture book.

For those of you visiting this blog for the first time this post is part of a series here about how to write and illustrate your first children's picture book. This is really meant to be a little course for amateurs who would love to write and illustrate a picture book for the children in their lives. I reccommend you have a look at my earlier posts here if this sounds like something for you.

In previous posts you can also read some of the books I have written and illustrated for my little ones.

So, here goes...

How to find your illustrating style when writing and illustrating your first picture book.

a) Now it is time to really have fun. This is where you get to go back to nursery and play. If you can remember just drawing/painting without any worry about the outcome, just to have fun, then that is the state of mind if would be great for you to have while you play with discovering your illustrating style!

b) You can start with having a look at drawings and paintings you and your child may have done together. When you look there you will see you already have a style! And your child probably thinks your illustrations are great!? If not great at least fun or funny.

Hint: The quality of the illustrations is not important, what is important is that you have fun. You can also go through this process while your child doing their art at the same time.

c) Now get out some of your children’s art supplies (whatever is close at hand), clear a space at your kitchen table and play around with drawing/painting/ cutting and pasting. Have fun, go for it. Don’t worry about end results, right now you are just playing to find the illustrating style that works the best for you!

Here is a list of examples of materials you may think about using to illustrate your book.
- Children’s water colour paints
- Children’s coloured pencils.
- Crayons.
- Paper (white and coloured) to draw, paint on.
- Plain copy paper to do sketches on.
- Pencils and erasers
- Newspapers and magazines for cutting out.
- Old wrapping paper for cutting out and sticking.
- Fabric
- Printed out photos of you and your kids.

Hint: If you find yourself stuck have a look at styles of illustrations in your children’s picture books for ideas- some of the illustrations you may be surprised to find are incredibly simple. And once again, if stuck the simpler the better! You can even draw in the style your child draws if you find it all too much.

d) Have a look at your artwork and decide which style you will use for your first book. In my opinion it should be the style you enjoy the most.

e) Now that you have decided on a way of illustrating it is time to play around with the look of your main character (if you have one). This character’s qualities will need to be relatively consistent so that the child recognises him or her in each picture. Once again, play around for a while. No need to rush a decision.

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