Before you start creating illustrations there are a number of things you need to take into consideration. Children’s books and other image-based books have different specifications to standard novels. If these are done incorrectly they can seriously affect the appearance of your printed book.
Here are some tips and ideas of the best way to start setting up your illustrations.
- First you need to think about what size you want your book to be and whether you want it to be square, portrait or landscape. These will dictate the size and shape of the illustrations.
- Do you want illustrations to cover the whole spread (across two pages), if so some of the middle of the image will not be visible.
- If you want the illustrations to fill the page then the background will need to expand over an extra 3 mm area, known as the bleed. This area is a safety margin for when the book is cut.
- It is generally a good idea to keep any important detail in the illustrations about 9 mm from the edge. In fact Amazon’s Createspace won’t accept books with important detail in this area.
- Finally, you need to think about where the text will go on the page. This is really important as it can make a huge difference to how the book looks. You want your text to be easily readable and laid out in a way that children will enjoy. You can have a specific area on each page which has little detail where the text can go – this could be in clouds, the sky, grass, pavement etc – otherwise you could have something behind the text that covers or blurs the background. With this you run the risk of losing important details behind the text, but if the placement is thought out it can be avoided. Another option is to have the illustration on one page and the text on the opposite side.
By thinking about these points before you start creating the illustrations you can avoid having to make amendments, or even completely redoing some images, which can be costly.
So where to go from here
The best place to start is to look at how others have done it. Go through books that were your family favourites. Go to your local library and bookshops. See all the different ways of doing it and work out what you think works and what doesn’t. See what clever extras the illustrators have added in. Find your style, collate your ideas and see where they take you.
Have you written a Children’s book? What would your top tips be? Let us know in the comment section.