Ever wonder how to make a children’s picture book without hiring an expensive illustrator?
In the past year, my first picture book, Sunbelievable, earned 6 top awards for story and illustrations. No one is more surprised than I am! Why? Because I have no formal art instruction/training. None! So how did this happen? And can it happen for you? Absolutely!
I learned – and always am learning – how to create digital art using Photoshop. It started as a hobby. Like a typical grandma, I took thousands of photos of the new kids. Then I started making little picture books for them using online photo book company software. I wrote short stories to accompany the photos. To adorn the books, I discovered online scrapbook tools – purchasable decorative items for digital collages. Then I was totally hooked.
It took me 3 years to create the images in Sunbelievable. Now I’m working on my next book, “I Want Cake!” The key illustrations – 10 full story pages plus the extra info pages – will take less than 3 months. I’ve more than quadrupled my speed, but most importantly, I’ve learned to work more efficiently AND creatively. Many authors now ask me how to replicate the process. Truth is, with today’s amazing digital software, anyone can make beautiful picture books.
But if you search the children’s book sections, you most likely won’t find illustrations created solely with digital art. If you’re wondering how to create your own illustrations, read on.
Children’s Book Illustrating – Killer Simple Award-Winning Ideas for Authors
- Download a free trial of digital art software. I started with Photoshop Elements and graduated to full Photoshop (now using Photoshop CS6). Play around with it. See if it’s something that might spark your creativity. There are countless free tutorials to help get you started.
- Do an Internet search for “digital scrapbook elements.” You’ll readily find dozens of websites offering artistic images to incorporate into your illustrations. Read the terms and license note to avoid copyright infringement. Some sites offer free “elements” with no restrictions on usage. Some offer commercial usage for an additional fee.
- Take lots of photos. I use real photos of my grandchildren along with photos of places and just about anything to transform with digital art. You own your photos. Simple! But again, take care that any image you use for your own artwork is copyright free. Unlikely that anyone might recognize an oak tree in a field or a particular cloud.