Dames Handsome Interview on Illustrating his Gamelit Series Fairy Knights

Tell us about the art and collaborating with your illustrator.

Warwick Wilson is a friend of mine and also a brilliant creator of children’s content. He draws, he makes videos, he creates music, and is even a voice actor in a number of children’s productions, as well as a professor of early childhood development. So after I wrote my book after I sat on it for months with no real plans for it and shared it with people here and there, almost always getting great feedback, I decided to publish and I went to him to see about getting him to make a cover. He read it, he loved it, and he responded by asking if he could make illustrations for it as well. I was flabbergasted and it’s been an adventure ever since. He reads the stories, tells me where it works and where it needs more work, and he draws pictures of the most tremendous scenes then turns over to the cover, banging out prize after prize every time. It is a great partnership and a lot of fun.

What should other illustrators know about working on book projects?

One of the unique problems (and pleasures) of creating children’s books is that drawings are required for specific age groups.

The Best Can Teach You

You may either hire a professional artist or produce the pictures yourself if you’re self-publishing a children’s book. If hiring a children’s book artist is not in your budget, bear in mind that illustrating a children’s book takes a long time. Here’s how to draw your first picture book, whether you’re working on your own or someone else’s:

Look for inspiration in terms of style. If this is your first time drawing a children’s book, take inspiration from your favorite artists and award-winning picture books as a starting point. Also, keep an eye out for new literature to keep up with current events. Whether you’re good with watercolors, graphic design, line drawings, or stick figures, play to your strengths. Keep the reading level and age range in mind while thinking.
Place a premium on character development. In most children’s books, there is a primary character who appears in all of the illustrations. Practice sketching this figure in many circumstances and with various emotions, keeping in mind that consistency is particularly crucial for young readers. Our character development guide might help you learn more about it.

Begin by creating a storyboard. You may get a brief from an editor, art director, or the book’s author if you’re working with a publishing business. This brief specifies the message that each graphic should convey. Because children’s books feature less text, images are often essential in relaying the tale. Go through the whole book with a pen and paper, making notes or drawings as you go. Make thumbnail drawings for each page or scene of the book, as well as a few more detailed illustrations and a color sample that demonstrates how the final result will appear, after you’ve figured out how to best portray the tale.

Obtain feedback. Give yourself adequate time to recreate images based on criticism, whether it’s from an editor, author, art director, friends and family, or other children’s artists. You’ll have more freedom if you’re illustrating your own book, but if you’re drawing for someone else, you may need to go through numerous rounds of changes.
After you’ve accepted the artwork, you’ll need to arrange it out with the text. If you’re dealing with a publishing house, they may employ a book designer who will put your text and drawings together. You’ll have to handle your own picture editing, including layout, resizing, and book cover design, if you’re working alone.

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