Children's illustration and its importance

Reading on Childhood brings a big contribution on the Social Development, emotional and cognitive of the children.

A Study realized by Ohio State University Reveals that children that are reading in the house with their parents are listening to about 1.4 million more words than children that live with families that don't have this Habit.

What is a children's illustration?

The illustration is a fundamental part of children's books, it’s a complement and it enriches the narrative. The children's illustration with quality, searching for the harmony between the images and fluids of the narrative of the literary text. The illustrator has to be sensitive to understand what the text wants to say and brings the children's attention to the images. A good children's book illustrated Has to be a perfect combination between visual dimensions and art literary,  that turns the writing task and makes illustration to the children one of the most Challenging tasks.

Migrating to children's illustration

Just like me, so many children's illustrators come from another activity to specialize in this area,  attracted to the challenging magic of this activity,  leaving other professional projects. In my case, I left behind so many years of experience as a fashion designer to dedicate myself to the most stimulating art. After all, the children's illustrator creates for the most demanding public, the children.

Make a mistake who thinks that Illustrating for children is a simple activity. Children have a much greater capacity for imagination and abstraction than an adult, Because they have smaller visual references. The illustrator needs to see the world for the eyes of children to develop the work that really contributes to the cognitive development and aesthetic perspective of the Spectators.

What to expect from the literary market?

The children's literary market had become one big showcase of dynamic art, with the images that complete the book’s text. This area has shown huge potential, it brings a lot of artists to migrate to children-teenager illustration.

A few years ago, the illustrator was just a coadjuvant and many times didn’t receive the credits for their work. Nowadays, these professionals have received the right importance in the editorial market. The production of a children's book needs the illustrator, in fact, it's so much more important than the author. The best publishing companies tend to promote good partnerships between authors and illustrators. A good example of this partnership is from the author Julia Donaldson and the illustrator Axel Scheffler. I’m a big admirer of this pair, which is in the library of my daughter Julia.

Julia Donaldson e Axel Scheffler

Even though with all the recognition, there are obstacles to be overcome for the illustrators. In Brazil, the children-teenager publishing market still depreciates the work’s illustrator. On the other hand, the children's reading habit still isn’t strong enough to move the market. The children and young people read a little less, consequently, the families buy a little fewer books. As a result of this, the publishing companies need to increase the prices to continue to have the profit and with this attracting the public less and less.

With my experience here in London, reading is encouraged in childhood, in the first years. The families are encouraged to read daily with the children and this is followed by the schools. This has made the literary market much busier because the children's book is more valued and consumed here. This benefits both the authors and the illustrators.

Children’s Illustrators Awards

In Europe, there are huge children’s illustrator awards that value the illustrator profession.

Hans Christian Andersen is considered The Nobel of reading children, Hans Christian Andersen was created in 1956, is designed by International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) every two years, rewarding the writers and illustrators categories.

Another important award is The BolognaRagazzi, since 1966, it’s one of the most highly regarded awards of the world in the publishing children area. The best productions from the previous year are honored, considering their graphic editorial qualities.

The White Ravens Catalog is annually elaborated by Internationale Jugendbibliothek (The International Youth Library, in Munich, Germany) with hundreds of books that, by the subject, artistic innovation, literary style, or another characteristic, was highlighted by a group of specialists in children's and youth literature, from among thousands of works received.

Illustration Agencies

Beyond the awards, there are a lot of agencies that receive the illustrator's portfolio to review. Some illustrators prefer to work alone, without agencies, and develop independent work. There are a lot of places to show our talent and a big community willing to exchange ideas and experiences.

Who decides to hold the illustration activity of children’s books professionally needs to keep in mind that it’s a competitive market but very stimulating. There are obstacles to win, but there are a lot of opportunities. If you are on this journey too, tell me some of your experiences. It's such good exchange of experience to give fuel to continue.

Continue to follow the blog posts to know more about my professional journey and my new projects.

Tania Neiva - Children's illustrator

Tania Neiva

Tania Neiva

I studied Fashion Design and and I did a postgraduate degree in art education. I love art and children's books. So, I decided to dedicate myself to children's illustration.