How To Create The Perfect Illustrations For Your Upcoming
Bestseller Book

Illustrating your book and choosing the right pictures that fit your story is possibly one of the most complex tasks when creating your own project. Illustrations, as well as your way of writing, provide a distinction to your work and make it different from the rest of the books on the market.

It is true that including illustrations in your book can be a much more laborious job and, unless you are an illustrator yourself, you depend on someone else's work to be able to launch your own work. But this does not mean that it will take longer to meet your goal and publish your book, in fact it can be a much more enriching job for you and your career as a writer, so if you really want to do it from this post you We are going to propose a series of tips so that you can launch your own illustrated book on the market.

What is graphic illustration?

The graphic illustration is a visual form of communication that is used to convey a message through a drawing, stamping or engraving. In this way, we achieve that the message we want to convey reaches the readers in a clearer way and above all it manages to penetrate it. For this reason, many children's books or young people's literature use this type of graphic information to ensure that the academic concepts of a textbook as well as a story or literary history are retained in their memory.

Originally, the illustration served to accompany texts that were enriched and allowed to be understood more easily, especially since many readers during the time when the first books appeared were illiterate. Nowadays, graphic illustration is commonly used in advertising to create posters to achieve a greater impact among the public and clearly attract their attention.

Although, currently illustration is still used in books, magazines or advertising, but thanks to new technologies we can find true works of art in the form of drawings that allow you not only to accompany your story but to transmit much more than words.

How to create the perfect illustration?

In the same way that to shape our literary work, especially when it is a work of fiction, we have to resort to our creativity to make our story credible and impactful. When we talk about illustration, the creativity has to be our great ally to be able to give a different vision and to complement what we are telling in the pages of our book.

However, not only does an illustrator live on creativity and we also have to take a series of elements into account in order to create the perfect illustration. Experts and a custom illustration style agency suggested a few points that you can use to create illustration:

The composition

When creating the illustrations for your book, it is essential to take into account the composition of our drawing, fundamental aspects, such as shape, space, composition, framing, point of view or perspective are keys to creating an illustration that get it squared with your story.

On the other hand, it is also very important to take into account the fundamental aspects of human and animal anatomy and physiognomy, learning the proportions of the body, face, emotions, movement and dynamism is very important to create the illustration you have always dreamed of.

Character design

When it comes to creating illustrations for books and for the stories that your books contain, they will mainly focus on the characters that shape your story, since they are the true protagonists that get the reader excited about what you are telling. When illustrating your book, it will be essential that you previously have knowledge of or use people who know about character design and understand about concept art that to create the appropriate features for each of the characters that you as a writer have created.

Fundamentals of light and color

Creating well-made lights, shadows and contrasts are resources that will make the illustrations in your book shine as bright as your story. For this reason, it is essential to always keep in mind the theory of color that will allow you to work not only with colors but also with contrasts of light and shadow and bring your illustrations to life.

Create a briefing

As an author and especially as a creator of your book, if you are going to turn to an illustrator or custom illustration services to bring your work to life in the form of an illustration, the main thing is to provide as much information as possible about what you want. There is nothing worse than driving crazy the person who only wants to help you with their work and to avoid this it is necessary to provide as much information as possible about what you want to achieve with the illustrations and how you want it so as not to waste time and make the work come out perfectly. For this, the illustrator will provide you with a short briefing that you will have to fill in with all the information you need to correctly develop the illustrations and work on your work.

Essential steps to illustrate your book

If instead of leaving the work of creating the drawings for your book in the hands of an illustrator, you decide to start creating them yourself taking into account the above tips. In order to do it correctly, we will show you the essential steps that allow you to create the illustrations of your book.


In the same way that you have done the research to create your book and to shape your story, you must do the same to create the illustrations. Investigating what can best fit with the content, with the type of genre in which your work is framed and investigating what are the colors, shapes and concepts that can best match the illustrations you want to create is fundamental.

Reread the drafts you had or even those texts that you have discarded. Search, document and be inspired by drawings by other creators, in this way you can find the key that makes you create the perfect illustration for each part of your book.

Create sketches

Just as you write down ideas, words, phrases, and singular places that you find throughout the day in your notebook, you can do the same as the ideas that arise for the illustrations in your book. Features of people, places, objects - from them you can develop the illustrations for your book.

Once you are clear about the appearance of the characters, what the places where each of the illustrations are going to be, the colors, the shadows, etc. it is time to give continuity to your drawings, adapting each part to the scenes and types narration that goes on in your book, as well as the perspective of both the characters and the story. You also have to take into account the subplots and secondary characters that appear throughout the story and how you can fit them into the illustrations without neglecting the continuity of the scene.

Do tests

When we dedicate ourselves to working on our book we can make thousands of tests in relation to the chapters, dialogues, plots, descriptions and especially the end of your story. Once you decide to illustrate your book, you will have to carry out the same number of tests with the drawings that you are going to introduce in each part.

Try different perspectives, colors, shades, etc. This way you will have several options for the same scene and it will even awaken your creativity for other parts of your book. In the same way that you write and erase sentences or entire paragraphs, you also need to do tests with the illustrations that you are creating, you will discard and love your drawings in equal parts but the important thing is that you never get rid of them since they can always be a resource for you.

Making a professionally illustrated book and having the desired result is not easy at all. An illustrated book is a literary work whose main characteristic is that the text is accompanied by illustrations. Illustrations reflect images or scenes from the story being told.

Illustrated albums have a strong graphic preponderance. They are works of visual reading and require the reader to make a narrative interpretation through the illustrations that goes beyond the words included in the text.

Discover how to layout an illustrated book

Here we show you how to layout an illustrated book. This type of literary work has some peculiarities that you have to take into account when preparing and planning its content.

Due to the great importance of illustrations, they must be of high quality and have the significance that is assumed in these works. The illustrator will normally be co-authors, since they are responsible for half of the illustrated book.

Format and binding

As with any literary work, there is no single recommended format or type of binding for making an illustrated book. Still, there are some examples that stand out from the rest. We detail some of them, the most common:

  • Rustic binding (hardcover-cardboard) of 21 x 21 cm.
  • Rustic binding (hardcover-cardboard) of 19 x 23 cm.
  • Rustic binding (hardcover-cardboard) of 21 x 29.7 cm (vertical A4) or 29.7 x 21 cm (horizontal A4).

Standard structure

There are many ways to structure any literary work. In this case, we discuss a fairly standard structure that is often used.

  • Dedication
  • Prologue / Introduction.
  • Inner pages that combine text and illustration.
  • Synopsis on the back cover.

Things to keep in mind before illustrating a book

There are certain things that one must keep in mind before illustrating a book or a novel:

Define the format

Sometimes we get illustrations of very different proportions for the same album. Even if you are clear about the format you would like, it is advisable to consult an editor about its viability. You may want to increase or reduce a few pages, perhaps changing one of the measurements a couple of centimeters fit the print in a lower price range.

Beware of crop marks

The printing machine cannot print to the edge of the paper. What they do is print with blank margins and then cut the artwork. Therefore, keep in mind that, if your illustration is reaching the edges of the paper, it will lose between three and five millimeters around the perimeter (depending on the printing press). Therefore, avoid placing important items too close to the edge of the paper.

Double pages

If the illustration is intended to double page (left and right), think that the book will fold right in the middle of that illustration. And depending on the type of binding that the book has, this will lose more or less millimeters of space. Even if the book is stitched or stapled, it is best to avoid having important elements in that central part.


If we were talking about a safety inside the book of between three and five millimeters, the binding in cardboard multiplies this figure. You think that the cover illustration needs to be folded over the hard cover, so you need a lot more margin; up to three centimeters depending on the printing press. Anything within that range will be lost.

Leave room for text

It is one of the most common problems we run into with picture books. Knowing in advance the font and size of the text, you can test this to check that the text fits loosely and within logical margins (not too close to the edge of the paper).

If the illustration is manual

It will have to be scanned in image format at a minimum resolution of 300 pixels per inch. It is possible that when changing the color profile to CMYK, the tones may vary slightly. If they are non-scan able paintings, the photograph must be of quality, well centered, in good light and making sure that there are no reflections on the drawings.

Keeping the above things in mind would definitely help you illustrating a book in a better way.

Reasons to approach professionals to illustrate a book

  • Quality is the most important thing to you: you don't want mediocre jobs.
  • You want your idea not to go unnoticed and to have an impact.
  • You want to make a difference between your project and the competition: you want to stand out.
  • You value that work is on time and without excuses: you want a professional.
  • You have very clear ideas and you want to represent them with the greatest fidelity.
  • You need advice and direction and you want help and guidance.
  • You want to make good use of your money and not be teased.

Different types of illustration

Illustration is a key concept to highlight in the world of graphic design! When knowing what an illustration represents, it is necessary to investigate a little more about the types of illustrations that exist, perhaps you are an illustrator and do not know specifically in which category you are.

If you are a person who makes illustrations just for fun, perhaps it is not necessary to delve much about it, but if your perspectives go much further, it is interesting that you have knowledge of what you are going to do and what your job market may be. Following are a few types of illustration commonly used:


As its name says, it is the one that appears in scientific books and has the objective of being able to clarify the information that appears in the text. For example, if you are studying an anatomy lesson for a certain part of the body, an image may appear to illustrate the knowledge and make it easier to understand.


In books we will always find a cover that illustrates part of the content we are going to find, as a kind of summary encompassed in a single image. In some books, especially those intended for children, we can find more illustrations so that they can imagine a certain scene more easily.


This type of illustration is what we have been referring to in most of the blog and it is that with it we can create from posters, packaging, products, etc. giving information that is very easy and fast to be understood.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to illustrate a book?

The price to illustrate a book mainly depends on the pages. The more pages a book has, the more it would cost. You can expect to pay an illustrator anywhere from $1000 - $10,000.

How long it takes to complete illustration of a book?

The process of illustration takes time. The average time a book takes is 3 – 4 months. However, the time period increases if a book has more pages of extra detailing.

Can I illustrate a book myself?

Yes! If you have all the essential awareness about the technicalities and software that you can use to illustrate a book, you can do it yourself. However, considering a professional for such a task is highly recommended because illustration is a time-consuming task and requires expert approach.

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