Children's publishing Art Style



  • Hello everyone, thanks to Will Terry and 100 of Youtube inspiration tutorials I'm keep on going on art, recently I made it to children's publishing world, witch is awesome experience the problem I have right now and i think I'm lack of information in SVS what style you should draw?

    I have taken so many classes and my art was looking naive and all that, now Im taking more advance classes and my art became more polished and maybe realistic i would say, i would be really happy if will actually could answer this question but probably he is too busy with work but even himself on podcast admitted that he was overdoing and simple pencil sketch style he have chosen was a way in? I'm asking all those questions because I'm just starting out and i wonder am i digging a hole to myself by becoming better on my artwork.

    Here's two examples of work I have with 2 different approach. The pirate is more line work pencil work with texture, the cow is less of all.

    p11.jpg a4.150.jpg


  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @VitoPetra I like both of these styles. Like you said I was on the same path making my art very polished and trying hard and spending hours over rendering things that really didn't need it. I was told from someone in the industry that my style was to much of a cross between cartoon and realism. Anyway I found a style that doesn't really fit childrens illustration, but it fits me and makes me happy. I have a full time job that I don't plan on leaving doing web/graphic design so trying to get into the kidlit arena is not as big of a deal for me.

    My advice is to look at some childrens books and see what the trend is and head that way.



  • @Chip-Valecek Thank you for response, it does mean a lot to me since it's not really easy to fight towards your goals sometimes. What about being starving artist? maybe things that makes me happy they are my personal projects and the work i'm looking for is different but as Will Terry said once you have to make art unique but i believe it has to have a style of commercial look but because i'm not established enough i would like to know the limits how much you can actually push, going out and looking for books and styles it creates you the same as everybody else no?


  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @VitoPetra Yeah, I hear ya. I look at it like when I was in a band. We started doing covers of bands we liked and we would add one of our own songs into the set list. Once we started to get a following, we would add more of our own songs and less covers. I guess what I am trying to say is once you get your foot in you can start to use your own style. But I am sure there people that will give you different advice.

    I think you have a great style on your site. I am surprised you are not already in the game.



  • @Chip-Valecek well.. actually i loved the idea of doing something else and add your own art slowly that really make sense. Thanks for appreciation but I think i'm not gifted enough with my social status in this society and affording a conference or a trip to bolognia book fair is way too far for me. I have to take different approach and work my way out in buy just literally trying to email people i guess? There are a bunch of talks with @Will-Terry how to do it and how to generate a mailing list but it seems it's a long run or maybe I do something wrong with my style and it's not good enough


  • Moderator

    @VitoPetra These are both great pieces and I like both styles. I don’t think you can go terribly wrong with either one, but if I had to guess I would say that there is a larger market for the second style. Again, that is a guess based on what I see the most of online and in bookstores. While it is important to be aware of style trends and preference in the industry, I think it would be a mistake to over think it and be rigid about applying a particular style.

    I would think style preference would be on a per project basis - different projects work best in different styles. I think the answer to your question in nearly impossible to pin down, which might be why most people avoid talking about it.


  • SVS OG

    @VitoPetra That is a great question that I wrestle with too. I LOVE the second piece. Partly that is the rendering, and partly just the motion and energy in the composition. It is hard to compare standing in the vertical field of cactus to hanging on in a rolling sea. 🙂 That being said, I think there is a charm in illustrations showing the hand of the creator. I feel that way about painting too. There is little draw for me in a painting with photo-realism because there are so many amazing photographers out there. If a client wants that kind of realism, they can just take a photo, if they ask for a painting, they want it to look, well, painterly. That is my little soap box, but that is a long way to say, keep the charm of your original sketch, whatever layers you add to it. People love art because of what each illustrator can bring to the table. Add the skills that you learn, and then apply them to help your personality shine through!



  • @inkandspatter Yes, but different projects different styles means inconsistent portfolio, and so far by SVS we know that we should have a consistent portfolio right? How's that comes into play?


  • Moderator

    @VitoPetra What I meant by different projects require different styles, is that art directors/publishers choose illustration styles on a per project basis. With so many different styles and genres of books, predicting what illustration style will be the most in demand or marketable is very difficult. As long as your style is suitable to the field you want to work in, I don’t think you need to be overly rigid.

    But in reference to consistency in a portfolio, I don’t think it needs to be overly rigid either. For example, I would not avoid experimenting for the sake of consistency. Again, I don’t think there is an easy answer. I think it is good to have some consistency in a portfolio, but I don’t think it is good to have a portfolio that lacks any variety where you feel like you are looking at the same image over and over.

    Maybe the important thing to note is that consistency can be achieved in many ways - linework, colour, texture, storytelling, etc.



  • Vito, I love the second piece. Simply because it looks more traditional. I don't like the lighting effects in the first illustration. I think the second illustration looks more unique in terms of style and rendering. You have a great style and attention to detail.


  • SVS OG

    Hi @VitoPetra you might think that both styles are very different, however, they seem very similar to me. I can still see that one illustrator made both. Though the second one is more dynamic, I can still see your style coming through. I’m getting the feeling that you’re beating yourself too much about this. Rest assured that your work shows a lot of consistency. Personally I think the second illustration is far more “professional” looking. If your work has gotten you into the industry, then I’d say whatever your doing is working. Keep it up. Embrace it. Don’t be afraid to learn and improve your art even to a point that it might seem too complex. By that point you’d be fairly skilled that it will be easy for you to tone down. Don’t worry. You’re not ovredoing your pieces. Your pieces still look sweet and naive. I hope this helps.



  • Hi @VitoPetra congrats that you made it to children's publishing world. Really cool to see your work. Regarding to the 2 styles you presented, I am curious which piece do you enjoy the process more? I have seen children's book in all sorts of styles - in the end of the day, the story and the design of the illustration are what really capture the readers, weather it is rendered with pencil or oil, weather it is textured or not. It matters a great deal for us artists, but it matters very little to the readers.

    I think both of your art styles can work as children's book. If you enjoy making them in any of these styles, keep doing it. They are wonderful. But if you do not enjoy the process, then try something else. It is important that you like the process, not just the results. Because you will need to do it again, again, and again.



  • @nyrrylcadiz @xin-li Guys thank you a lot, it's very inspiring actually to hear all that. I just think i had one of those bad days when you are just lost in your progress and also once you have that 1 or 2 jobs from a publisher and after it stops you get paranoid is it your art or they just ran out of work haha

    anyway it makes me calm when i read comments that my style haven't even changed is just the way i render maybe i just need to work all this thought time or something.

    Thanks once again : )



  • @VitoPetra If you are a current subscriber on SVS now. Be sure to check out @Lee-White 's class on how to develop your own style. I found both the lecture and the excise (dream portfolio excise) are very helpful guide regarding to the topic of style.
    Love your work by the way.



  • Fantastic work! The second style really intrigues me. Both are great though.



  • @xin-li Thanks for you reply Xin! Yes I went through Lee white's class was really helpful to calm myself down haha! Great


Log in to reply