How important is the role of a children’s book illustrator?
Think “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or “Matilda” and what comes to mind are the quirky, cartoonish illustrations that brought the book’s characters to life. The magic of these books lies in the perfect collaboration between author Roald Dahl and illustrator Quentin Blake. In fact, as the illustrator of over 250 books, Blake was equally beloved by readers.
When it comes to iconic literary characters, it’s hard to overemphasize the illustrators’ contribution to the book’s success. Winnie the Pooh, Cat in the Hat, Franklin the Turtle – these are all figments of the illustrator’s imagination and these book visuals have helped immeasurably to immortalize these characters in the hearts of young readers. Creating memorable characters is important to the success of children’s books, and professional illustrators are key to getting it right.
Whether it’s the cover of the book or the illustrations inside, eye-catching designs are important for catching the attention of young readers. This is even truer of the very young reader, who has not yet learned to read. It’s the colorful illustrations that will hold their interest and help them visualize the story being read to them. Very young readers are also more likely to spend time with books that have engaging illustrations, speeding up the learning process for their reading ability. Since it’s the illustrations that grab the attention of readers browsing the bookstore, a good illustrator has a huge impact on book sales.
In a children’s book, the illustrations are not just pretty images that animate the pages. Illustrations are visual aids that bring the story to life and help move the narrative forward. Well-conceptualized pictures help children understand written text and relate to characters in the story. It has been rightly said that “a picture is worth a thousand words”.
In today’s publishing circles, the role of a professional book illustrator has become so important that it is almost impossible to find a children’s book without an illustration. Since illustrations are so important in a children’s book, neither the publisher nor the author is willing to compromise when it comes to the book’s illustrator. Publishers usually have their own professional illustrators, and authors who don’t want to work with them often look for other ways to publish their manuscript. Many authors take on the burden of self-publishing since they will only work with the illustrators of their choice.