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  • Joëlle Barg

4 tips for creating your first children's book

After illustrating four children's books, including 'The adventures of Epke(NL)' for Talevision Entertainment, I decided it was time to create my very own. Writing and illustrating my first children's book has brought on new unique and exciting challenges. Join me in this blog as I share 4 insightful and unique tips that i've learned and will help you start creating your first children's book.

Concept Children's book cover
Concept cover: Mama, I want to be with the Stars
The story

From the start, I envisioned that my main character, Fien, would reach her dream in spite of the trials and tribulations. With the guidance of her parents and friends she wouldn't give up.

Creating an engaging story for young children requires you to relate to them. I devised amusing yet misguided ways for Fien to reach her goals, such as standing on the highest step on her dad's ladder, to ensure young readers stay hooked. Try to find your own way of stepping into their world and thinking like they do.

Young girl on a ladder reaching for the stars
Illustration Children's book

Define your characters

When I was younger, my dream was to become an Animation character designer, driven by my passion for drawing people. Earlier, I aspired to be a fashion designer, influenced by Top-Model by Depesche. Because of that I often overlooked the essence of character design – it's about portraying personality, not just aesthetics.

When I was getting acquainted with Fien, the main character, it revealed a determined, imaginative, and entrepreneurial young girl to me. I incorporated these traits into her design, realizing that true character design goes beyond mere visual appeal. So when you design you're main character try to work from the inside out.

Make an Illustration map

A valuable tip I discovered while scrolling on TikTok is to create an illustration map for your story. By planning your illustrations in advance, you save time and sketch initial designs for your pages. This not only streamlines the process but also helps you visualize the bigger picture. Have fun mapping out your storytelling journey!

Sketches and thumbnails of Children's book
Illustration map
lay-out and composition

Once you begin illustrating your pages, it's crucial to consider the placement of text. While I usually kept this in mind, it's easy to forget, leading to details that may make your text unreadable. I encountered this issue many times, but in the second illustration of my book it became really evident, prompting me to revise and remove a cabinet and window for better text readability in the second iteration. Be sure to keep this in mind when illustrating

You can do it

When you start creating your children's book, you'll unearth numerous more lessons, just as I did. It will reveal new facets of the medium. I wish you the best of luck! Feel free to reach out with any specific questions in the comments.

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