What Should You Not Do When Illustrating A Children’s Book?

Illustrating a children’s book is a wonderful opportunity to create something magical. There are many things that an illustrator should do to create a book that will capture the imagination of its young readers.

However, there are also a few important things that an illustrator should avoid to create something that is age-appropriate and engaging for children. In this article, we will discuss important tips for what not to do when illustrating a children’s book.

1. Don’t Over-Complicate the Illustrations

Children’s books are often short stories with simple plots and language. The illustrations should be kept simple too. Using too many complicated elements or overly detailed images can be confusing and overwhelming for young readers. Instead, try to keep the illustrations straightforward and easy to understand.

2. Don’t Use Too Many Fonts or Colors

Using too many different fonts or colors can make the book look cluttered and busy. When illustrating a children’s book, it’s best to use one or two fonts and stick with basic colors like black and white, red, blue, green, yellow, etc. This will help keep the page visually appealing and organized.

3. Don’t Forget to Have Fun!

The most important thing when illustrating a children’s book is to have fun! Try not to take yourself too seriously – be creative and add your own style and flair to the illustrations. Children’s books are meant to be entertaining and enjoyable – so make sure you have fun while you’re creating them!

4. Don’t Make the Characters Too Realistic

Children’s books typically feature characters that look more cartoonish than realistic. This is because young readers are more likely to identify with characters that look like cartoons rather than real people. So, when illustrating a children’s book, try to make the characters more abstract and less detailed, so they appeal more to kids’ imaginations.

5. Don’t Use Too Much Detail in Backgrounds

Just like with characters, backgrounds should also be kept relatively simple in children’s books. Too much detail can be distracting for young readers, who may get lost in all the tiny details instead of focusing on the story itself.

Stick with basic elements like landscapes or abstract shapes that won’t overwhelm kids’ eyes or take away from the main storyline of the book.

6. Don’t Choose Inappropriate Themes

When it comes to how to illustrate a children’s book, one should always stay away from dark or mature topics like death, war, or violence, as these may be disturbing for some young readers.

Instead, focus on themes that are lighthearted and positive such as friendship, adventure, family life, etc., as these tend to be more appropriate for kids’ stories.

7. Don’t Include Violence

As mentioned above, violence should be avoided in children’s books as it can be disturbing for some readers (especially younger ones).

Even if the story features a violent event (such as a battle between two characters), try to depict it without showing any graphic images or gore so as not to traumatize any readers who might come across your work in the future.

8. Don’t Rely on Stereotypes

When creating characters for your children’s book, it is important not to rely on stereotypes, as these can portray certain groups of people in an inaccurate or even offensive way.

Instead of relying on stereotypes, try creating unique characters with individual personalities so each reader can identify with them no matter their background or experience level with reading stories written for children.

9. Don’t Use Complex Language

 Children’s books should use language that is easy enough for kids of all ages (even those who are just beginning to learn how to read) can understand without difficulty.

Choosing words that are too complex may discourage young readers from continuing with your story, so try using simple language whenever possible.

10. Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment with Different Techniques

Illustrating a children’s book doesn’t mean you need to stick with traditional mediums like pencils, pens, paint, etc.

Feel free to experiment with different mediums, such as digital drawing programs, 3D modeling, clay sculpture, etc. This will give your work an interesting look and add texture and depth, which is sure to capture kids ‘ attention! 

11. Don’t Overuse Digital Effects

 While digital effects such as shading, lighting, color changing, etc. can add an interesting touch of realism or surrealism – if overused, these effects can become distracting or simply look plain unrealistic. Try using digital effects sparingly, so they enhance rather than overwhelm your artwork. 

12. Don’t Neglect Composition

Composition is key when illustrating a children’s s book since it helps guide readers through each page without confusion.

Think carefully about where each element should go on each page in order for it to tell the story naturally and clearly – this will help keep kids engaged throughout your entire story! 

13. Don t Forget About Body Language

One of the most important things when depicting characters in a children’s s book is body language! Make sure you include subtle clues such as facial expressions, posture, gestures, etc., which indicates how each character, feels – this adds personality and emotion, which helps bring your illustrations alive! 

14. Don’t Be Afraid To Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

Even though illustration styles may differ from artist to artist, it’s always important not to forget about pushing boundaries when working on a project like this one!

Trying something new can lead to unexpected results, which can help you break out of creative ruts and improve your skills in general! So don’t hesitate – go ahead and give something new a try! 

15. Don’t Neglect Storytelling Elements

Last but not least – storytelling elements such as setting, dialogue, action sequences, etc., should never be neglected when illustrating a children’s s book! After all – these are what bring your entire world together into one cohesive package!

So take time to think about how you want each element represented visually before getting started on any artwork! 


Creating illustrations for a children’s book requires careful consideration of many different aspects – from choosing appropriate themes to making sure the illustrations are age-appropriate and engaging for young readers alike!

Following these 15 tips can help ensure that you create something magical that will capture kids’ imaginations while avoiding anything inappropriate or confusing! With these guidelines in mind – have fun while

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