7 Children’s Book Illustration Tips for Australian Authors

7 Illustration Tips Every Aspiring Children’s Book Author Needs to Know!

7 Children’s Book Illustration Tips for Australian Authors

Are you thinking of creating a children’s book and self-publishing it? Here are 7 children’s book illustration tips you must know!


We prepared these essential children’s book illustration tips to help you with self-publishing your kid’s book. Writing a children’s book and self-publishing it can be a lot of fun and excitement, but taking a few wrong or misdirected steps throughout the journey can turn it into an absolute nightmare.

Having written and self-published over a dozen of my own children’s books, as well as assisting a variety of authors to create and self-publish their kids’ books, I wanted to touch on some of the tips and tricks you need to know to make the process of illustrations much easier on your stress levels and your bank balance! Check out some of the amazing children’s books we’ve created here at Author Services Australia.

Good illustrations are never cheap, so having to go back and adjust them later can get pretty expensive, not to mention time-consuming. Getting illustrations correct right from the start will ultimately save you a lot of hassles and make the whole self-publishing journey smoother.

Hopefully, with these 7 Children’s Book Illustration Tips, your next or first children’s book will be a massive success. If you are looking for a children’s book illustrator, affordable children’s book illustration services, or children’s book formatting, don’t hesitate to contact us.

illustration with bleeds


7 Kid’s Book Illustration and Design Tips for Authors!

One. Illustrations Need to Be the Correct Size

For your trim size, including bleeds. The first thing you need to do before starting illustrations for your children’s book is choose your trim size. However, be careful as not all self-publishing sites, such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or IngramSpark Publishing, offer the same choice in trim sizes for paperback or hardcovers.

You can typically choose from square, landscape, or vertical, but all sites offer the same trim sizes for kid’s books. Once you know your trim size, have a look, and see how much bleed you need to allow for trim edges and internal gutters. Now, give your illustrator the correct size. Remember to include bleeds, but always keep key design elements away from the bleeds and gutters.


Two. Allow Space for Text

When it comes to text, you have two options.

You can add the text to the illustration directly or leave space for the text to be added during the formatting process.

Unfortunately, if you have text incorporated as a permanent part of the illustration, you won’t be able to take advantage of the live text component of the ebook, which allows children to highlight specific words or sentences when they are reading the ebook. This is a great feature for kids who are just learning to read and viewing your kid’s book in a digital format. Also, if you need to make any edits or adjustments, such as correcting a typo or grammar mistake, you’ll need to go back to your illustrator and have them adjust the whole image rather than your formatter simply correcting the word.


Three. Get Your Sketches Done Before Full Colour

It’ll make life easier if you start with simple line drawings or sketches first.

If your children’s book has a main character, then get your illustrator to develop it first. Get the main character of the story right before they try and do a bunch of sketches and ultimately end up having to alter them. Then, before you get your full-color illustrations done, get some concept sketches completed. It’ll allow you to get a basic idea of where the picture is going. Ultimately, it can save a lot of time if the illustrator has missed the mark from the design brief. This brings us to the next of our children’s book illustration tips.


Four. Create A Design Brief

Give your illustrator an illustration guide that mentions the whole scene and includes anything you specifically want to be included, such as a red bike or blue house if it’s crucial to the story.

An example of this could be: The main character sitting outside on a sunny day. Clear blue skies. Long green grass. Playing with building blocks. Typical Australian backyard. Fences, BBQ area, deck, or play equipment such as a sandbox.

Your illustration design brief doesn’t have to be an essay, but a simple guide will make your illustrator’s life a lot easier. Ultimately, it could end up speeding up the illustration process and cut down a lot of back and forth between yourself and your children’s book illustrator.


Five. Remember Illustration Quality

Illustration quality is vital!

Your paperback or hardcover children’s book must contain illustrations that are a minimum of 300 dpi for best printing results. This minimum DPI is also at your correct trim size. So, as we mentioned above, make sure your kid’s book illustrator is aware of both your trim size and the required bleed for that trim size.

That’s every illustration, photo, image, or logo. It’s important to remember that it has to be 300 dpi at the correct size. So, if your illustrations aren’t the correct size and need to be expanded to allow for bleeds, then the quality will drop. Your illustrations could end up blurry or pixelated.


Six. Number of Illustrations

A typical children’s book is normally a minimum of 24 pages or more.

All children’s books need a minimum number of pages to get printed.

You want to aim for about ten full-spread illustrations (imagine an open book with an illustration across both pages), or you can go with ten half-page illustrations with text on the corresponding page. Below are examples of a full-spread illustration and a half-page illustration.

Above is an example of a full-spread children’s book illustration. Here you’ll see that the text has been incorporated into the illustration.

Above is a half-page illustration with the text on the opposite page from the illustration.


Seven. Don’t Forget the Ebook

If you’re creating a children’s book, an ebook is a value-for-money investment. If you’re getting one of the other, it makes sense to get both done at the same time.

Most children’s book formatters will offer you a lower price if you’re getting an ebook and paperback format at the same time. This is because they typically start with paperback book formatting first, then use that design file as a foundation for the ebook format.

Also, the illustrations are the same, so that’ll be value-added. It’s also a great way to give people a look at your book for giveaways and reviews, if nothing else. However, not all self-publishing platforms support the same children’s book formats. For example, a fixed-format kid’s book on Amazon KDP must be done using the Mobi format. On IngramSpark Publishing only supports fixed-format children’s books in an ePub format.


Bonus Tip. Allow More Time than You Think!

Don’t cut it too fine. Creating a children’s book can take a lot of time. By the time you factor in the draft and sketch process of illustrations, you’d be surprised at how long it can take to create the perfect illustration.

You need to allow for that if you’re setting up launch parties or pre-sales along with all your children’s book marketing activities. So, speak to your editor, illustrator, and formatter first. Next, add a few weeks or a month just to be on the safe side. The last thing you want is to have to reschedule


7 Kid’s Book Illustration Tips for Aspiring Australian Authors! – Conclusion

If you’re planning on creating a children’s book, then speak with an expert first.

Doing your homework to avoid having to redo things later will save a lot of time and money. Give yourself more time than you need, and plan for it to take a little back and forth. Be understanding with your illustrator. Remember, it’s your book, and they can’t read minds!

Writing a children’s book can be a gratifying project. While it may seem daunting at first, we can assist you through each step of the process. This includes ghostwriting, editing, illustrations, formatting, and self-publishing.

If you have any questions about self-publishing or a book that requires editing, fiction formatting, ebook formatting, and paperback formatting, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us at Author Services Australia. We have an extraordinarily talented and experienced kid’s book creation team who would be happy to work with you.

The Adventures of Cargo the Army Truck - children's book illustration tips

Post a comment