Thursday, February 23, 2012

Books for Children's Illustrators

I've been meaning to post about this for some time. As part of my Write and Illustrate a Picture Book workshop I lug around a pile of books, many of them on the art of the picture book and specifically aimed at Children's Book Illustrators.

Here is my list of delicious books to inspire, devour, own, borrow and pour over:

Writing with Pictures by Uri Schulevitz has been around for some time and is written in four parts: One - Telling the Story; Two - Planning the Book; Three - Creating the Pictures; Four - Preparing for Reproduction. This book is like attending a masterclass every time you open it.

Illustrating Children's Books- Creating Pictures for Publication by Martin Salisbury is a very popular reference. It's broken up into chapters on: History; Drawing; Media, Materials and Techniques; Character Development; The Picture Book; Illustration for Older Children; Non Fiction illustration; Design and Typography; Getting Published. I first discovered this one at the library and now have my own copy.

Making Picture Books by Libby Gleeson is for both writers and illustrators. Whichever you are, you need to read this book as picture books are a marriage of both crafts, and to do one well you must understand how they both work.

The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children's Books by Desdemona  McCannon, Sue Thornton and Yadzia Williams is well worth a read. It's a book I usually borrow from the library and is on my 'must buy' list.  

Creative Illustration Workshop for mixed media Artists by Katherine Dunn. Just delightful.

The Encyclopedia of Illustration Techniques by Catherine Slade

Below is an overview from Amazon.
* A fully illustrated, step-by-step guide to more than 50 illustration techniques, from watercolors and pen-and-ink to collage and wood engraving 

* Offers professional guidance on all aspects of illustration, from mastering basic techniques to developing an eye-catching personal style 

* Provides information on getting the best reproduction results for your illustrations and tips on time-saving methods 

A year ago I bought myself the most useful book ever called Facial Expressions - A Visual Reference for Artists by Mark Simon. 

Normally I have a mirror handy when drawing a variety of expressions, but sometimes my eyes are squeezed shut, depending on the emotion, and that's where this book comes in handy. The book is filled with facial shots of male and female adult models of all ages and sizes and a range of ethnicities. Their expressions show a variety of emotions and some pretty crazy face pulling as well. It's a great reference book for illustrators. I've just purchased the companion book which has photos of 'Babies to Teens'. Can't wait for it to arrive!

Mark Simon also has an E-Book companion to his Facial Expressions books, which you can download at his website.

Lastly, I have a selection of good cartooning books to add to the mix, which I often refer to for a few tricks of the trade.

What are your favourite illustration reference books? I look forward to your recommendations in the comments below. Now let's go draw!



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