Writing your story and choosing an illustration style for it are two different journeys that eventually intertwine into something extraordinary. Once you've done your magic and have put your ideas into words, the next step would be deciding what type of illustrations you need for your children's book. After that, you get to choose the right freelance illustrator to bring your words to life-- or maybe you can create the illustrations yourself.
Regardless if you go for a freelance illustrator or draw the visuals yourself, you will still need to figure out what type of illustration best fits your story.
Important Things to Consider for Choosing the Type of Illustration for Your Story
Some authors do a lot of research before choosing a style and some have a vision even before they start writing their story. Of course, your opinion as the author carries the most weight when it comes to the final output of it all. But here are some things you may want to consider before you set your decisions in stone:
The age group you are writing your story for
The type of illustrations best suited for your story
Your personal preference
Let's do a quick dive into why these things are important to consider when choosing the type of illustration for your storybook.
The Age Group
The age group is not only a crucial detail for the illustrations, but it is also an important detail when writing a children's book story. Keep in mind that children grow and they do so at a rapid speed. The things they enjoy change.
Since reading children's books is a great way to help kids develop their basic language skills and expand their vocabularies-- the story and illustrations must be something that will keep their attention. They should allow the kids to think and encourage them to interact.
A book that a one-year-old enjoys is different from a book a five-year-old or a 10-year-old would enjoy. A one-year-old may enjoy illustrations consisting of simple shapes, while a 10-year-old may appreciate more details that can stimulate their imagination.
So the age group is definitely a defining factor when it comes to choosing the type of illustrations you want your freelance illustrator to create for your book.
The Best Type of Illustration for Your Story
The next thing to consider is the type of illustration best suited for your story. Once you know who you are creating your book for-- you'd have a pretty wide range of options for art styles from traditional mediums to digital ones. Surely, you'd find a long list of talented freelance illustrators that would gladly bring your story to life.
How can you narrow down your options?
First, you need to consider which illustration styles can express your story best. Do you envision your story with cute animal characters or with realistic illustrations? Will a minimalistic approach communicate the message of your story or do you need more details to emphasize your message?
Then, take a look at the styles that you think are great matches for your story and consider if the kids in your target age group will appreciate or understand the illustrations. For instance, surreal illustrations might be too complex for toddlers, and shapes with faces might bore older kids.
To help you decide, you can look at other books that target the same age group as your stories and see which ones feel right for your book in the making.
Your Personal Preferences
As mentioned previously, your opinion as the author carries the most weight. Your book is your creation-- the finished output should spark some joy within you. Of course, you need to consider how children will react to your book, but do not disregard your preferences on this matter.
Ask yourself if you have any inspiration for your story. Did you have a style in mind before writing your children's book? You can always list down the illustration styles that you enjoy and check if any of your preferred styles can effectively express your message.
Finally, Choosing the Right Freelance Illustrator
There are many talented children's book illustrators that would LOVE to help you bring your project to completion. Before finally choosing THE ONE, check if the illustrator has the experience in the style that you want-- you can ask about their past experiences or ask to see their portfolios.
You also want to make sure that you feel comfortable working with the illustrator for your book. Communication is important to any successful collaboration, but that is a topic for another time.