Choosing the Right Path to Picture Book Illustration: 8 Essential Tips for Success

Dreaming of becoming a picture book illustrator? Let's make that dream a reality. We all know that time is a valuable resource, and your passion fuels your desire to learn and create illustrations regularly. In order to achieve the success you deserve, it's essential to carefully select subjects that will propel you forward. With your ultimate goal of becoming a children's picture book illustrator in mind, I've shared eight tips to help guide you on your illustration journey. 

Tip 1. Understand Your Target Audience 

Children's picture books cater to specific age groups. Consider the interests and milestones of your potential readers, whether they are preschoolers or slightly older children. Align your subject matter with their milestones, preferences, and needs. 

Tip 2. Research Popular Picture Book Themes and Genres 

Head to your local library or bookstore and immerse yourself in the world of picture books. Take notes on your favorite books, publishers, and illustrators. Analyze market trends, best-selling books, and recurring subjects that resonate with young readers (and with you).

Tip 3. Identify Personal Interests and Strengths 

Discover what ignites your passion and aligns with your unique artistic style. Don't be afraid to incorporate your personal interests into your illustrations. Remember, finding the right balance between personal interests and market demand is crucial.

Tip 4. Showcase Versatility in Subject Matters

Flex your artistic muscles by illustrating various subject matters while keeping your target audience in mind. Explore settings, characters, and narrative elements that demonstrate your adaptability to different storylines and genres.

Tip 5. Continue Developing Your Signature Style

Experiment with different art styles and techniques, including watercolor, acrylic, gouache, colored pencil, or digital art. Find your niche while building a recognizable and distinct artistic identity.

Tip 6. Seek Inspiration from Other Picture Book Illustrators

Study the works of successful picture book illustrators. Draw inspiration from their color palettes, linework, subject choices, layouts, and visual storytelling techniques. Infuse their brilliance with your unique style to maintain originality.

Tip 7. Seek Feedback

Seek feedback from peers, mentors, and professionals who understand the world of picture books. Don't hesitate to show your work to children and observe their honest reactions. Utilize feedback to continuously improve your illustrations.

Tip 8. Continual Growth and Learning 

Remember, progress comes from having a regular practice, not just goals. Embrace a growth mindset and continuously seek improvement. Explore new techniques, subjects, and opportunities for learning. Join classes, courses, and online communities and groups to stay connected and inspired.

Becoming a successful picture book illustrator is all about finding the perfect subject matter that speaks to your heart. Take the time to understand your audience, delve into popular themes, and let your personal interests shine. Show off your versatility, develop a signature style, and soak up inspiration from fellow illustrators. Don't forget to seek feedback and keep growing. Your incredible journey to creating captivating illustrations is already in motion!

Pick up your pencil and get ready to bring your picture book illustration dream to life!

PS – To join the waiting list for my Picture book Illustration e-Course, PBIC LIVE, an 8-week program starting February 2, 2024, CLICK HERE.


PSS – Join me on Instagram! I'll meet you there. I'm so excited to get to know you! 

The best place to dive right in is by visiting my website


Join my free mini-course

As my gift to you, here is my character design mini-course. All I need to know is where to send it. Valued at $20, it is 100% free. No credit card is required. You will also receive Nina news – I love to share, but not too often, not too much, and always in support of your creative journey. And you can unsubscribe at any time.