Children's Book Authors/Illustrators discussion


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message 1: by Ms Kathleen (new)

Ms Kathleen (mskathleen) | 13 comments I am doing the art work for my children's book. I draw cartoon like characters. I was wondering if there is a preferred medium to use - a certain type of paper, ink, paint, watercolor, pencil, etc... What do publishers look for? I have the sketch's done but don't want to finish them and then have to start over.

This is my first children's book (I have published only poetry and photographs in the past) so I know I have a lot to learn. Is there a site I can go to that tells you what publishers are looking for in illustrations?

Thank you for any help.

message 2: by Emmeline (last edited Jun 01, 2012 01:40AM) (new)

Emmeline Pidgen (emmelineillustration) Hey Kathleen,

I'm a freelance illustrator and currently working on my fourth published book.
There's not really a preferred medium in general, usually it's down to the publisher. Send them a few samples in different styles (or using different mediums) and see what they like.
Personally I use ink on paper then colour digitally (I used to paint in gouache a lot but it takes so much time).
Generally publishers look for a sense of character and engagement in a book rather than any specific visual style. As I said before, just talk to the publisher and see what they're after (do you have a specific publisher who's agreed to go for it? If not, take a look at the styles the publishers you have in mind go for, and see if your work is appropriate).

I've just written a big article about illustrator portfolios on Ten Paces and Draw, which has lots of tips from industry professionals about what they look for in a portfolio if that might help? I'm going to be writing one in coming months about children's books too.

I hope that helped! You can see my work at and if you want any more advice you can email me :)

All the best,


message 3: by Jodi (new)

Jodi Stone (jodistone) | 224 comments Mod
Hello Kathleen,

I would agree with Emmeline. There isn't really a preferred style, yet I have found that several forms work best for me. I start with pencil, and then after the drawings look exactly as I like, I use colored pencil, and then to finish, I use black fine point sharpies to outline. To give depth, colored sharpies work well also, or a deeper shade of colored pencil. As far as paper, I have always been keen on using cardstock. It seems to handle the different mediums very well, and I have tried other forms but this one has worked best for me. It becomes all about a personal style I believe to be totally successful. Download them onto your computer and you can play with the color saturation that way also. If the illustrations go well with the story or poem, typically that is the most important...that, and hone your craft before submitting. If you have any other questions, I am also happy to help. You can contact me here or at facebook at

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