The Picture Book

Picture books are like screenplays, less is more. Another important thing about picture books: The page turn is all important; it’s the shift in the story, the mini-cliffhangers right through to the end.

To be a picture book writer, you don’t need to be an illustrator. But if you are a trained illustrator, or highly skilled one, then an agent would certainly be happy to represent you as a writer and illustrator.

There are several types of different picture books on the market; the board book, pop-up book, the 24 and 32 page picture book. I want to look at the 32 page picture book, as this is the most popular type, and as a rule the others picture book types tend to be commissioned by publishers through agents, or written in-house.

This link below shows in a simple drawing how the finished picture book generally looks; the text always start on page 6, and finishes on page 29. This universally accepted layout was originally created by the children’s book illustrator and writer Shirley Hughes.

32 page pic book065 copy

Below is the ideal layout to present your picture book to an agent and/or publisher when sending it in via mail or email.

Picture Book Layout

Great picture books are a joy to read, but the challenge for the children’s writer is recognising how deceptively easy it appears to write one! Good luck and have plenty of fun.

For those of you in United States, Happy Thanksgiving, may the beginning of your holidays be filled with plenty of yummy food, and the joyous pleasure of your friends and family.


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