Illustration

Children’s Illustration Tutorial: Character Design Tips

Learn how to understand and denote character before creating your children’s book, with Valentina Toro

Illustrator Valentina Toro (@valentinatorog) is passionate about fantasy. She loves imagining secret worlds and turning them into the images in her illustrated children’s books. Every universe is born out of an idea, and Valentina takes the time to create her characters’ physical and psychological aspects.

In this tutorial, she teaches you the keys to understanding character and giving them depth to create stories.

Find out how in this video:

3 tips to create your children’s book characters

1. Start with the eyes

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For Valentina, there’s no better way of illustrating a character’s expressions than through their eyes. Like eyebrows, eyes reveal mood and personality in just a few strokes. Playing with the positions and sizes of the eyes and eyebrows can produce completely different results.

2. Create guidelines to draw facial features

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It’s very important to draw vertical and horizontal lines across the center of the face, as they help you know where to position the eyes, nose and ears and create a more harmonious result.

3. Use the right kind of stroke to reveal character hierarchy

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If the character you’re drawing is one of the leads, highlight details and use a strong, vivacious line. If they’re with a secondary character, you can try a softer, less polished line. This will allow you to clearly distinguish between the characters’ respective importance. In the above picture, Valentina has drawn a mouse beside her leading girl. The strokes used to draw the mouse are less lively, which immediately shows it’s a secondary character.

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