How to Make Illustrations for Children's Books: 6 Steps
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Create a special memory as you write and illustrate your own children's book.

You and your little one have just completed your first book together. Whether the story highlights your child's birthday party, an adventure in the park or a silly story about your trip to the moon, no kids' book is complete without illustrations. According to Mary Renck Jalongo, author of "Young Children and Picture Books Second Edition," illustrations not only make stories more enjoyable, but also improve early literacy skills and help your youngster learn to read. You can easily illustrate your book in a way that might just have famous publishers begging for the rights to your new creation.


  1. 1
    Plan out your illustrations. Sit down with your little one and review the text you already wrote. Read a page of your book together and ask him how he "sees" the special land you wrote about in his head. Don't be surprised if your preschooler has some interesting ideas that might not appeal to adults. It's important to encourage those creative juices, so if he sees the grass as blue, just go with it.
  2. 2
    Draw a quick sketch of the page's illustration on sketch paper, using light strokes and building upon basic shapes. Utilize your trusty eraser as your child comes up with new and even better ideas as you draw out her vision.
  3. 3
    Repeat this process until you have rough sketches for all pages of your book, incorporating room for text to accompany your illustrations.
  4. 4
    Edit your rough sketches as needed, avoiding illustrations depicting stereotypes because you don't want to perpetuate these in a book you plan to frequently read with your child. Refer to Lisen C. Roberts and Heather T. Hill's list of books for examples of illustrated children's literature that don't assign specific gender rolls. Refer to these as good examples to follow when illustrating your own story. Ask yourself questions like, "Is the mommy in my illustration always the one doing chores?" or "Is the little boy in my pictures always playing with trucks and cars?" If so, tell your little one that fathers can help with chores and boys can play with dolls, too. Based on the answers to your questions, adjust the illustrations as necessary.
  5. 5
    Print out the text for your book on regular-sized computer paper, leaving enough room for your illustrations. The text doesn't need to be printed exclusively at the bottom or top of the page. It's perfectly acceptable to vary its location throughout your book.
  6. 6
    Finalize the illustrations on each page of the book, referring to your rough and edited sketches. Encourage your little artist to complete as much of the drawings as she is able, but lend a helping hand if she needs it. Color your drawings using a variety of art materials such as markers or colored pencils. Avoid crayons because they can often smear or stick to the previous page once the book is bound. Employ lots of color in your drawings because this will appeal to your youngster and encourage her to read and reread your book.


  • Take your newly written and illustrated book to your local printer and have it professionally bound. This way, you and your child can enjoy the book you created together for years to come.

Things You'll Need

  • Sketch paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Computer paper
  • Printer
  • Markers
  • Crayons

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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