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How to Create a Picture Book

Sonal Panse,

Children's Picture Books

Children's picture books are a wonderful introduction to the world of literature. Combining pictures and text, they help with basic language, reading and comprehension skills. In addition, they foster imagination, creativity and bring the joy of a story well-told.

In picture books, the illustrations takes precedence over the writing. You can have picture books with images and no text, but not picture books with text and no images. The ideal combination is a good balance of both.

Let's see how a picture book is created from scratch:

The Writing Part

Generate a book idea: Fiction and non-fiction themes in picture story books can range from the everyday to the extraordinary and everything in between. That means, you have a pretty wide scope. So what do you write about? Well, practically anything that doesn't give the kids a permanent trauma. Children's literature has come a very long way from the days when the Mary Sue and Pious Paul stereotypes reigned supreme. If you are short on inspiration, here are a few ideas to toss around -

  • A fairy tale with non-traditional characters and ending.
  • An everyday incident from your pet's perspective.
  • Memorable occasions like walking in the rain, splashing in the mud, cozying up with Mum inside on a rainy day, going on a picnic, seeing a rainbow, sailing on a windy day, going up in a hot air balloon, visiting a rainforest, etc.
  • Follow up on a 'What if...' scenario.
  • Overcoming a failing or a disability.
  • Living with being different than everyone else.
  • Moving to a new place and adjusting or not adjusting.
  • Dealing with grief, anger or pain.
  • Dealing with sibling rivalry or peer jealousy.
  • Trying to survive in a difficult situation - poverty, neglect, war, famine, shipwreck, earthquake, etc.
  • Traveling to a far-off destination.
  • Being part of a happy, busy family.
  • A historical incident/scenario.
  • A futuristic scenario.
  • Trying to make, create or build something.
  • Nature or environment related.