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How to Illustrate a Children's Book: Behind the Scenes of 'Nosey Nancy Nose Picker'

ook cover of 'Nosey Nancy Nose Picker,' featuring a whimsical illustration of a little girl with blond hair facing a blue dragon. The background is decorated with vibrant flowers and greenery. The title is written in playful yellow font, with the subtitle 'Learn Why Picking Your Nose is a Dragon-Sized Mistake!

Hey friends! I'm super excited to share the journey of illustrating "Nosey Nancy Nose Picker," a delightful project I had the pleasure of working on with Joseph Balady . A huge thank you to everyone who supported and ordered the book. Today, I want to take you behind the scenes and share my favorite spread, along with the process that brought it to life.

The Role of an Illustrator:

As an illustrator, one of my biggest challenges is understanding an author's visual goals. Let me tell you about my first children’s book project. I was so eager to get started that I didn’t even ask the author about their vision. I jumped straight into creating illustrations based on my own ideas. When I turned in the finished sketches, the author had comments on every spread. It felt like I had to redraw the whole thing. It was stressful, and I almost gave up on the project.

Back then, I thought about blaming the author for not sharing their vision. But now, looking back, I realize no one was to blame. It was our first time working on a book, and I never asked about their vision. We both learned from that experience. For me, it led to developing a process where I ask the author to fill in a mood board. It’s a bit of work for the author, but it becomes the guiding light for the entire process.

Step-by-Step Illustration Process: 1. Creating the Mood Board: First up, I create a mood board. This step is essential for getting everyone on the same page about the book's look and feel. It’s like a visual roadmap that guides the entire project. Combining images, colors, and themes, the mood board helps us share the same vision and sets the tone for everything that follows.

A general mood board for 'Nosey Nancy Nose Picker,' featuring various inspirational images. These include a cover of 'Dragon Girls,' a young girl with blue eyes, a child picking her nose, a statue of a girl standing confidently, and a colorful illustration of a baby dragon surrounded by flowers.

2. Sketching: Next, I dive into sketching. This is where the magic begins to unfold. Using the mood board and the manuscript as my guide, I create rough sketches that lay out the scene. These sketches aren’t super detailed yet but provide a solid framework. It’s like planting a seed and nurturing it to grow into something beautiful.

A sketch illustration from 'Nosey Nancy Nose Picker' showing a girl standing next to a multi-tiered fountain surrounded by foliage. The drawing is in black and white, highlighting the outlines of the scene with detailed plants and water flows.

3. Color Blocking: Once the sketch gets the author’s approval, I move on to color blocking. This phase involves adding the main colors to the illustration. It’s an important step to see how everything will blend together and to ensure the colors evoke the right emotions. Think of it as laying the groundwork for the final masterpiece.

A color block illustration from 'Nosey Nancy Nose Picker.' The scene depicts a girl with blond hair standing by a fountain. The illustration is in its early stages, with basic color blocks indicating the placement of elements like water, plants, and the character.

4. Rendering: Finally, we arrive at the rendering stage. This is where the illustration truly comes to life. Adding all the details, textures, and shadows, I transform the initial sketch into a vibrant and engaging picture. It’s the moment when all the hard work pays off and the story leaps off the page.

A finished illustration from 'Nosey Nancy Nose Picker,' showing a girl with blond hair and blue eyes standing next to a beautifully decorated fountain. The scene is set at dusk, with vibrant flowers and trees surrounding the fountain, creating a magical atmosphere.

I hope sharing my process inspires and supports you in your own creative journey. If you’re curious about the finished product, I’m thrilled to announce that the hardcover of "Nosey Nancy Nose Picker" is now on sale! You can grab your copy from the link in my bio.

Promotional image for the hardcover sale of 'Nosey Nancy Nose Picker.' A hand is holding the book, which is placed among other children's books on a shelf. The sale details are highlighted in red and pink text, stating 'HARDCOVER SALE! Get Your Copy for Just $18.99' and 'Give Your Child the Gift of Adventure for Less!




What is a mood board, and why is it important?

A mood board is a visual tool that combines images, colors, and themes to set the tone for a project. It's essential for aligning the vision between the illustrator and the author.

How long does the illustration process take?

The time can vary depending on the project's complexity and the illustrator's schedule. On average, it can take a few weeks to a few months.

Can I illustrate my own children's book without professional help?

Yes, you can! However, having a professional illustrator can enhance the book's visual appeal and help convey the story more effectively.

What tools do illustrators use?

Illustrators use a variety of tools, including sketchpads, digital tablets, and software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

How can I learn to illustrate children's books?

You can start by taking art classes, studying children's book illustrations, and practicing regularly. Online tutorials and courses can also be very helpful.


Thank you so much for your support. Remember, every illustration starts with a single line, and with patience and passion, you can bring any story to life. Keep creating, stay optimistic, and happy illustrating!

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