Key Steps in Illustration: Working for Children

 This exercise asks to look closely at Working for Children, an area that many illustrators aspire to. To me, it’s quite an appealing area, simply because I enjoy picture books and cute products for children. There is a huge market for kids illustrations, and I believe an area that needs to be understood thoroughly.

I gathered some inspiration and divided them according different age groups. The older the children get, the more complex the story, and the illustration can be. Children like bright colours, too. 

Age 1-3: URLURLURL. Very simple illustrations of objects without many details. Bold shapes and colours are key. 


Age 3-5: URL, URL, URL, URL, URL. More complexity is added to the illustrations. There are more details in the scenes, and the characters show more emotions. 

Age 5-7: URLURLURLURL This age group sees a great variety of different styles, from vector graphics to aquarell illustration – everything is complex, as children begin to understand more complex visualisations of a story. 

Age 7-10: URLURLURL. Illustrations are not the main element to tell the story anymore, but rather accompany the written story.

After the research part, I worked on two illustrations for 3-5 year-olds, and worked out some themes of interest. This was followed by several sketches using different materials. Then I created two scenes that should represent these themes. I first painted them, and then processed the illustrations digitally. 

Sketchbook files:

Pre edits:

Post digitial edits:

My first illustration is a strip of four frames and tells the story of a bear that overcomes (“grows”) the obstacles of getting some treats. I wanted to keep it simple and tell the steps with the minimal number of frames to convey the idea in a way that children would understand the situation easily. 

kat-illustrates-working-for-children (1)

My second illustration is a single illustration of family quality time: the tiger family on holidays. I think that this is a simple illustration, yet has some details (e.g. the flowers, the photo camera) that children would understand and point out when looking at this image. It is also a scene that most kids would relate to. kat-illustrates-working-for-children (14)




Key Learnings: 

  • Similar as to during the Packaging exercise I struggled to create illustrations that would fit the age groups for kids. 
  • I am not quite sure how to best draw for children, or how to alter my style according to different age groups. I’m not quite sure if I manage to do this. I feel like my drawings look the same, no matter what age group.  
  • I think this is something I can work one more in future, and extend my portfolio to include more work dedicated to children. 
  • I find it very difficult to understand the market for children’s illustration, because to me each country seems to have different preferences, not only in terms of how much illustrations are used, but also in terms of style. 
  • Also I don’t have lots of touchpoints with children (yet), so I am not sure what they get excited about. 
  • Therefore I’m not quite sure I managed to fit this brief 100 per cent. I am quite happy with the tiger illustration. However, I believe that working for children is an area that I need to do more thorough research, to understand the needs better. 


  • Google Search. “Children Illustrations 3-5”.  URL, URL, URL, URL
  • Google Search. “Children Illustration 1-3”. URL, URL, URL
  • Google Search. “Children Illustration 5-7”. URL, URL, URL
  • Google Search. “Children Illustration 7-10”. URL, URL, URL
  • “10 best books for 3 year olds”. URL
  • “The 50 Best Books for 5- and 6-Year-Olds”. URL

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