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Children’s Book Illustration

Nick Harris prepares a fantasy image to accompany a story that’s aimed at a younger audience...

In this workshop, I’m going to create an illustrative piece of fantasy art designed to appeal to children. That’s what I’ve spent the past 25 years doing. Illustrating for children doesn’t just mean boosting the colours and adding fluffy bunnies, even for the younger age ranges. Don’t underestimate your audience. They’re young and inexperienced – not stupid. Think more in terms of creating imagery for adults who may need more clarity in what’s going on, and who aren’t afraid to laugh.
My natural style suits the 8-14 age range, so that’s what this workshop’s going to focus on. There are some basic ground rules that commissioning editors in the Western world will usually insist you follow:

• No nudity.
• Moderation in the representation of any violence.
• Avoid offensive racial stereotyping.

The brief for this workshop doesn’t specify an image subject. That’s more freedom than I’m usually given. I’ve lifted the recent theme ‘Deity’ from a weekly challenge at www.imaginefx.com to illustrate. The image I create needs to make the viewer want to know more about the story behind it, so I have to come up with ideas for that. I want it to be fun, with interesting characters. It’ll help if there’s a character the young reader can identify with. You’ll find the short story to accompany this workshop on your DVD.

Welcome to the tale of Deity and Nightity: The Half-Light Hullabaloo…

From issue 21.

Click here to download the full workshop for free (PDF)
Click here to download the support files (29.14Mb)
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