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Different Types of Illustration and Why Your Book Needs Them

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  • September 26, 2023
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  • 7 min read


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As soon as you start making a picture book, you understand how important it is to tell a story through pictures. But what many people might not know is that many different kinds of pictures can help tell a story. Knowing these choices, you can turn an everyday story into something amazing. 

This guide dives into book illustrations, explaining terms that will help children’s book illustrators talk to each other better and ensure that the illustrations match the story’s mood and purpose. So, whether you want to be a writer or learn more about picture books, come with us as we look at the things that give them life.

Different Types of Illustration

Different Types of Illustration

1- Spot illustrations

This is an example without any historical past. It usually highlights a character or object without the distraction of door elements.

Spot illustration is used when you need the focal point on a single point. They can also be utilized in a series to inform a story in a smaller area. For instance, if a man or woman is attempting to shoot a basketball hoop, you could use a series of spot illustrations to show them dribbling, preparing to throw the ball, and bouncing off the hoop’s threshold. This can be a greater thrilling way of telling the tale than surely showing the guidance or factor of motion in one image. It facilitates constructing tension but lets you expose the series in a smaller space instead of using several pages.

2- Vignettes

Similar to identifying illustrations, vignettes are glimpses right into a scene. They encompass more historical past factors and frequently peter out or fade at the edges, displaying a photo. A vignette type of Illustration may be used when you want a greater context than a spot example but don’t want to extend it to a complete web page. Like spot illustrations, they can be used to expose a series of occasions or the passing of time.

An instance of this will be if you want to show the changing seasons. You could use a hard and fast of vignettes to expose a scene in summer, autumn, then winter.

3- Full-page

A full-page illustration does what it says on the tin. It’s an unmarried web page, usually with a full bleed (meaning that the photo extends properly to the brink of the web page). Sometimes the page will encompass text, and from time to time, the text will stand on its own on the opposite page. If you’ve got two full pages after each different that inform exceptional components of the tale, ensure that it’s clear that the two are separate. This may be achieved through things like coloration, format, or perspective.

4- Double-page spread

Like the total-web page instance, the double page type of Illustration is generally complete-bleed. A double-page unfold is frequently used at the tale’s climax to spotlight a critical scene. They can also be applied to set a scene (a chunk like an establishing shot in film or tv) or emphasize an alternate scene or temper.

You may have more or fewer double-page spreads relying on the story’s pacing and how much of it’s advised in words vs. illustrations. Double-web page spreads regularly work fine with little or no textual content to permit the Illustration to do the talking. Remember that the more complete or double-page spreads you have, the less effect they’re possible to present. They may be used tactically for emphasis if used sparingly. The stage of the element may encourage a baby to spend a long time searching over a page. Equally, a loss of detail can create a natural pause within the tale.

These are usually the maximum costly interior pages to commission, especially if they may be incredibly targeted, so in case you’re on a decent budget, use them sparingly.

5- Comic strip (sequential illustrations)

This type of Illustration is much less commonplace in children’s book illustration but can be used to exquisite impact. It involves placing smaller illustrations into packing containers like a comic strip. Use those within an equal manner as sequential spot illustrations or vignettes.

6- Covers

The cover illustration is the most vital one within the ebook. For this, you may pick to apply a photo from within the ebook. However, many authors favor having a custom-made book cover design. The cover layout isn’t the same as the design of the inside pages, as it desires to include the identity and creator’s name.

This type of Illustration should attract both the audience (kids) and the customer (usually dad and mom). It should also highlight what makes the book unique or interesting. If no perfect image from the book fulfills these criteria and matches the title and author text, we must create a custom image.

Whether you use an existing interior image or commission a new one, the cover image is usually the most expensive. This is because it’s the most visible image, used for marketing and promotion, and essentially promotes the book. Some illustrators include the cost of the cover and the rights for its use in the overall project fee.

7- Endpapers

You can find endpapers immediately at the front and back of a book. Technically, only hardcover books use them to hold the inside cover and pages together. However, you can achieve a similar effect on paperbacks by printing on the reverse side of the cover.

These types of Illustration pages may be left blank. However, they’re a terrific possibility to encompass some pattern or coloration inside the ebook. Many contemporary photograph books have easy styles on the endpapers, including stars, foliage, or some spot illustrations from in the ebook.

The pricing of endpapers will probably depend on the complexity of the illustrations and if they reuse elements from the book or require new artwork.

How Do You Decide Which Sorts Of Illustrations To Use?

When thinking about the type of Illustration to put in force in your story, take into account the following:


How vital is this scene? If it’s a pivotal second within the tale, it makes feel for it to have a bigger picture. This gives more weight to the story and encourages the reader to spend more time searching for it.


Want the tale to be sluggish down? Use a bigger photograph. For a series of comparable activities, you might want to put them together into a series of spot illustrations or a comic collection. Using equal varieties of images on each web page can supply every scene or moment with identical weight and may grow to be monotonous.


What is the maximum exciting manner to inform this part of the tale? Are there any approaches you may make it sudden or novel? Switching up the type of Illustration is like converting your tone of voice. Think of montages or action sequences in film or cinema compared to an establishing shot of a metropolis or panorama.

Word To Photograph Ratio

How many phrases in the tale correspond to this photograph? Using fewer phrases with more illustrations can help to slow the story down.

Equally, having plenty of words in a single illustration can end up dull, so bear in mind the reader’s interest span.


Regarding picture books, you can’t say enough about how important pictures are. As we’ve seen, each type of Illustration has its way of setting the story’s pace, mood, and tone. Understanding these differences can make a book more powerful, whether it’s the single focus of spot drawings or the big story of double-page spreads. 

Choosing the right style can distinguish between a good book and one that stands out for writers and illustrators. As readers, noticing these details makes the story more interesting and reminds us that every picture is a choice that is carefully woven into the story.

Related Resouces: 

What Is A Digital Illustrator and How To Hire The Best

How To Find Illustrators For Children’s Books?

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