Concept artist trying children's book illustration - style feedback

  • Hi all,

    I've been doing client work since I graduated from art school 5 years ago. So I'm pretty comfortable adapting to different art styles based on what's needed. But if you ask me what MY style is, and how I might approach illustrating a children's book, I have trouble answering.

    I started illustrating a children's book a few years ago, but didn't get very far before the author asked for a style change and we ended up switching to just a few simple pen-and-ink spot illustrations. A different artist did the cover. The book is self-published by the author on Amazon:

    Amazon link

    Here's my WIP illustration:

    And here's an excerpt from the book describing the scene:

    Screen Shot 2020-04-02 at 10.52.45 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2020-04-02 at 10.52.53 AM.png

    Any feedback at all is totally welcome and appreciated!

    I thought I'd also post some of my other work and see what your thoughts are - do you think any of the styles below could work in the children's book publishing industry? (Maybe if the subject matter were different) Why or why not?


    Thanks for your time!!

  • SVS OG

    @RobinsonWood iā€™m from the Philippines. I love that jeepney in your inspiration images. šŸ˜€

  • @RobinsonWood

    Hi šŸ™‚

    It's good you said children's book and not picture books because I think you could work yourself in the older readers category (with fewer pictures) that and graphic novels for older readers. I say this because for me your audience looks more mature (also with the book you provided -more text) and older characters. Favourites are 1, 6, 9. 6 being a start towards older readers graphic novels or books. I hope that helps a bit.

  • Hello! Your work is really skillful!

    I also came from a concept artist type background, and when I transitioned to kidlit and had to figure out what my own style is, I had the exact same feeling. I started trying to figure out what my style is in October and I am just now starting to feel like I might be on to something.

    I agree with others, that your work would go better to an older age range so middle grade or graphic novels could be a good fit. I think the pen and ink feels more organic and in line with more "book" rather than games or animation.

    The images that I feel are pulling you in a different direction are 5,8,9,11,12,13 because they are don't use the loose line work drawing you have in the other ones.

    There is a class here on finding your style. It has you put together a "dream portfolio" I found it super helpful to help me sort out what I am missing in my own work and along with researching books in the age and style that I am interested in help me have a clearer direction to go towards.

    Hope that helps!

  • Thanks Nyrryl, Heather, and Carlianne! I really appreciate you taking the time to give me feedback.

    Your points about older kids are really helpful. I'm currently exploring my subject matter as well as my style, and it seems the two are closely related.
    Seems I have more work to do - externally through market research and the dream portfolio assignment, and internally through further experiments to potentially merge the line art and painted styles into a happy medium.

    thanks again!

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