Earlier today I was pottering about in Waterstones, looking at the latest children’s book publications.
What struck me most about them as how they didn’t seem to adhere to the illustration guidlines that industry folk would encourage.
For a start, the colour palettes were very left of field. One used a lot (!) of heavy black outlines in the artwork and the other, a very muted palette.
Both of these things are heavily discouraged in my experience of childrens book illustration
I had even battled with changing my own illustration style more recently off the back of hearing that black is too harsh for a child’s eyes. My style is very scratchy and messy and dependant on black ink. It is, of course, inspired by the work of Quentin Blake who uses a lot of scratchy black outline. I had started thinking that maybe that style is more suited for the older market? I wondered, If my work is not fit for purpose.
It can be quite confusing when publishers and agents advise a standardised, look, feel and structure but what they really want is something brave enough and bold enough to flout the guidelines. And I know that’s a bold statement – I’m not going to tone it down.
To summise, learn the rules so at least you can count how many you want to break 😉