Movement is essential to storybooks.
Characters are not static, but move and express something, especially feelings or situations.
The best way to show movement is to us flowing gestures and character being swept away.
Here, see how the pattern of the butterflies following a curve to the far distance reflect a movement.
The butterfly to the far left are smaller than the ones in the front and toward the right side; that is intended to show the distance and therfore movement or depth in space.
Notice that the individual drawings do not all reflect the same position for the wings. There is diversity in order to show different butterflies "photographed" at their own speed, doing their own thing as they all follow their leader.
The picture below has it all.
It has the semi-circles and circles that promote and highlight the sweetness of the image.
It has patterns (the spiderweb and the people forming a queue).
The movement (each character is moving or waving and doing something unique)
The beauty of a picture book drawing is its patterns.
You will notice the repetitions of the same shapes. Look at the bonnets and the houses in the first picture. It almost feels like the houses are wearign bonnets too.
Look at the dresses.
Look at the dots on the gound.
Even the movements of the kids seem to be a pattern.
Notice the movement of the drawing and how harmonious it is. Everyone is following the same line that describes a curve (see Picture Books Composition 1).
The kids are mostly walking by ranks of two.
Their slim and straight bodies reproduce the pattern on the fence and the straight lines of the houses and schoolhouse.
If you had to draw a rough draft of the image, you would have a lot of sticks.
As I grow better at illustrating my books, I have noticed a few things.
Here are a few tricks I got from studying picture books:
Picture books are made with a lot of round curves. Actually, you could mostly draw with semi circles and circles. Look at the shape of the clothes, the castle, the river. If you had to make a rough draft of this picture, you would have mostly half circles and triangles.
Look at the picture underneath. The shape of the dresses, the mirrors, the objects that touch the floor all follow a rounded curve.
The younger the kids, the better they tend to respond to plump faces and round hills. That's because curved and circular lines evole security, warmth, coziness and so very-well adapted to a safe, uplifting, enjoyable picture book made for very small kids.
Look at the strong curves in the illustration below.
The coat is an oval. The path of the birds take is a zigzag.
The stars follow a serpentine path.
The wings of the biggest birds are curved downward and upward.
Soft lines with curves are often linked to organic and natural objects. Think of the birds and the flowers on the ground.
Metafiction is like this character coming out of the page.
I am Sussu Leclerc and I started illustrating picture books three years ago thanks to teh Smart Dummies event.