Format and size for picture book art?

by Stephen
(Spring Hill)

What would Seuss do?

What would Seuss do?

What format and size should my paintings be in?

I’m on disability benefits and trying to get off by writing - specifically, I'm about to write a children's book about a boy who can suddenly fly.

I'm an artist, so I will do the paintings for the pictures in the book.

My question is: What is the format (like the type of canvas or paper, canvas or page size) that publishers want your paintings or original page of the book with words and painting to be?

Should I paint the art work on a big canvas, take a professional picture of the paintings, and then put each picture as a jpg file in my book by shrinking each painting jpg file down to fit the way I want it to look on each page of my book?

I don't have the slightest idea what to paint on, or do I paint directly on a certain size book page?

-How big should the page be?
-Should it be big pages for the publisher to shrink down (to get better quality)?
-Where could I find guidelines concerning the size pages the publishers expect me to use?
-Should I use water color paints or acrylic paints?

Sorry so many questions.

Thanks for any help.

Stephen Sligh

Comments for Format and size for picture book art?

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proper format for illustrations
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Stephen, I don't have any first-hand experience with this, and I don't know all the answers, but let me give you some partial answers and point you in some helpful directions. In no particular order...

Picture book art comes from all sorts of media. Eric Carle manages to use tissue paper collage. Others do oil painting. Others are generating their art right there on the computer. So the answer to "watercolor or acrylic" is clearly, "doesn't matter!"

To see just how write I am, head over to your local library and pull a lot of picture books. These days, there's often a statement - near the front, before the story starts - describing what media the illustrator used.

Of course, this still leaves the question of capturing the art and conveying it to the publisher. On this subject I know nothing. You might find help in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books. (Great resource, hate the title.)

You might also try to contact those illustrators you find in those books at the library - especially those who used a medium you want to use - and track them down! They'll probably have a website and a way to contact them. You'll probably get your answers, as well as info you didn't even know to ask.

Anyone else?

by: Jeremy Foster-Fell

Steve B. is right as there are no absolute answers...but there are many choices.

I work as a micro publisher and have published several illustrated children's books.

My favorite illustrator first used oils on board for the first book he illustrated for me. They were photographed digitally (not scanned as they were too large) and converted to pdf files for publishing.

That was a lot of work!!

The second book he illustrated for me he painted watercolors on watercolor paper. We actually liked the result better...and we could scan these directly and saved a lot of work.

From that point we elected to stay with water and poster colors on paper.

Another illustrator I am using is working with crayons.

As Steve said, you should work in your preferred medium...whether it be acrylic or even collage, that is fine.

I think that watercolor/poster color is a good choice.

The size consideration is an issue if you want to scan the art work directly without expensive very large scanners.

So 11 x 17 is a suggested max for easy scanning, and depending on the size of book, if you want to go full bleed or proportional to page size, you may want to plan your artwork in advance (so that you do not need to crop unevenly)....say in proportion to 8x10 if that is the size of your finished illustrated book (or even doing it as 8"x10") and if the book is to be 10" TALL and 8" WIDE then prepare your artwork in that proportion.

Hope that helps a bit

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