How to Illustrate a Children’s Book

Back in October I took an artist to task for her horrendous illustrations in a children’s book.  Rightly so, her work had no place among the truly gifted artists doing work for children’s books.  My wife recently bought a couple books by Jon J. Muth.  Here, I thought, is the brass ring.  As I wrote in my earlier rant, artists producing works for children’s books have to bring their ‘A’ game, since these books rely almost exclusively on visuals, especially for toddlers.  Here’s a page from his book Zen Ties:

If I’m going to be reading a book night after night, I want it to have illustrations that draw me into the story, which act as a springboard for the story.  In the very best children’s literature, this happens.  In most of the TV-based books (My Little Pony, I’m pointing my hoof at you) the “illustrations” are Photoshop collages that are as bad as the writing.  Artists like Muth work to create something as visual compelling as it ought to be.  Kids should be exposed to the very best when they are young, and I want Toddler Harbat to see what is possible, not what is easy.

Here’s one more that acts as the seed for a hundred more stories in my mind.  Thank you, Mr. Muth.

  1. Babs said:

    Great book. I’ve been trying to track down Miss Maggie by Cynthia Rylant, which I think is out of print. Can you find it??

  2. Po said:

    I’m *still* laughing at the visual of you pointing your hoof at My Little Pony. 😀

  3. I’ve always loved Ted’s illustrations. He comes from the Old School Sesame Street “Kids are smarter than we give them credit for” mentality.

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