If you’re ready to write picture books for children, start with a Write Your Own Book Kit. It is fun to get started to see what you can do.
Are you ready to write stories for children? You could start by writing your story manuscript on the computer, then print it out and divide it into segments you’d like to see on each page. Yes, take a pair of scissors, and cut it all up. Place each snippet on a page in your new sketchbook.
There are many choices for sketchbooks, and some are very pretty. Be sure you get one without any lines. This sketchbook will be for experimenting with illustration of your children’s book. It won’t be a finished product. This sketchbook will be for planning and experimentation with your children’s book manuscript.
Even if you’re not an artist, see what you can do. You might surprise yourself with unexpected creative impulses. If you do a good job on this mock-up project, you could save the book as a keepsake for your children, and your children’s children.
The blank books above were made on Amazon’s CreateSpace. You could buy one of these, or go use CreateSpace to create something similar with your own photograph or drawing on the cover. If you haven’t used CreateSpace before, don’t worry – it is fun and easy to use. I used CreateSpace to publish my first book, River Girl.
Picture book illustration ideas for your Write Your Own Book Kit
Once you’ve cut up your manuscript and decided how the words will be placed on each page, you’re ready to start experimenting with illustrations.
Will you use colored pens? Or do you have some better idea for how you’d like to illustrate your book?
Photographs for children’s book illustrations
Great picture book illustration idea for the non-artists among us.
I have a friend who uses photographs to illustrate her children’s picture books. Sometimes she takes her own photographs, and at other times she downloads them from Pixabay – which is where I got the photographs you see on this page. There are a lot of great photos there, and they are all marked “CC0 Public Domain” which means they are free to use anywhere, even commercially.
Sometimes I take a Pixabay image and decorate it a bit using PicMonkey, which I love so much, I subscribe to the pro version every year. (The cost is reasonably low enough even for me.)
Here’s an example of an image I decorated in PicMonkey. You saw this photo at the top of the page. It was a plain Pixabay image, but PicMonkey did amazing things to it with lighting effects and stars. They also have features like Victorian labels, grunge labels, cute hearts and stars and funny animals, and text.
I used PicMonkey to make this cute cat image for an affiliate marketing group I belong to.
My friend, Christine, likes to photograph her stuffed animal collection for some of her books. They are very cute. She publishes her illustrated children’s story books as Kindle books. What a great idea for getting your story from idea, to computer text, to illustrations, to completion. Her stories are available to the public now, and I think that’s pretty cool.
Here are some of her books. You might like to see how she’s finished her story writing projects.
Picture book illustration ideas for the artists among us
If you’re an artist, I’m going to guess that you already know what kinds of tools and medium you’ll need to create the children’s book illustrations your story needs and deserves.
For those who aren’t sure what medium to use, I suggest this beautiful, colorful book as inspiration and basic art information, for many styles and types of art. It won’t tell you everything about how to watercolor, or how to use acrylics or draw, but it does cover dozens of techniques and gives many ideas for things you might like to try out. I have never regretted buying this book. It is my #1 favorite art book.
In your sketchbook, experiment with illustration ideas. My favorite pens to do this with are Sakura Pigma Micron pens. I buy this 16-Piece set of Sakura Pigma Micron Pens. There are a variety of colors in the 05 size (not .05, the skinny ones).
These 05 sized waterproof pens are perfect for sketchbook experimentation for illustrations I might want to paint later. A lot of my best painting ideas come from sketchbooks, by the way. I think this 16-pen set is such a great per-pen deal, I’ve bought it more than once. I love my pens! Colorful pens stimulate creativity.
What you’ll be doing is creating a mock-up book that later you could share with a publisher, keep for your children, or use as a blueprint for a self-publishing effort.
If you get a watercolor sketchbook like the one below, made by Moleskine, you’ll be able to use watercolors to illustrate your book’s mock-up. Here’s what I’d consider a great Write Your Own Book Kit – including a cute little blue Baggallini to carry everything in. Add some black Sakura Pigma Micron pens and a bottle of water, and you’re good to go. I have something very similar to this setup, which I carry with me on hikes and bike rides for those resting moments when I want to sketch and then watercolor over my black ink drawings.
Anyhow, collect your artist supplies, and your sketchbooks. Add snippets of your manuscript on each page so the story reads in the way you think best, for child comprehension and enjoyment. Add your art, and voila… you have an amazing little mock-up you can use as you finish producing your children’s picture book project.
Storage for your Write Your Own Book Kit
You’re going to need something to keep your Write Your Own Book Kit in. Stay organized! Here’s my suggestion. I bought one of these Sterilite storage units last year, and am so glad I did. The cost is low, and the storage space is, well, plenty for the kind of project we’re looking at.
This Sterilite storage unit measures 15-1/4 inches long by 21-3/4 wide by 24 inches high without the wheels. I bought it online from Amazon and it was delivered to me in a box within a few days, clean as could be. I got door service – and how I love that. I don’t even have to leave my home to have things brought to me when I buy from Amazon.
There are three wide drawers. Use one for sketchbooks and writing journals. Use another for art supplies. The third drawer could be for your camera and equipment… or whatever else you need in your Write Your Own Book Kit.
Make this kit unique to you and your craft. It will be a lot of fun.