The Hilliard Institute

The Hilliard Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation offering sensory education programing, experiential learning, and academic research and publishing while also supporting philanthropic initiatives through fundraising and educational training and activities—all under the umbrella of the concept of Educational Wellness

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13 Tips for Young Writers / Day Thirteen: Illustrations and Cover Art

by Dr. K. Mark Hilliard

Day 13: Illustrations and Cover Art

If your young writer is only writing a short story, he or she may not need any illustrations (drawings) in the story. Of course, any story can have art.

Your children probably don’t need a picture or illustration for the cover of a book either, because the story will likely be a part of other stories with one cover.

But, should your young writer need an illustration, encourage him or her to think of what represents the story. Here are questions to think through:

  1. Can one simple illustration represent the story well? Or do you need multiple illustrations?

  2. Do you have the skill to illustrate as well as to write?

  3. Do you know someone who can illustrate well?

  4. Do you like photography? Could you take photographs instead?

  5. Is an illustration really needed? Will an illustration add to your story? Will it help someone want to read your story?

In the early days of beginning to write, most writers do not need to worry about illustrations, but some authors are very visual and may wish to draw some illustrations for their story, even if these illustrations won’t be used in the printed version of the story. It can help your young writer think through parts of the story if he or she sketches along the way.


Action Item

If your young writer needs some art or cover design, this can be done inexpensively with a sketch or photograph created by your child—or you can hire an illustrator or barter some talents to get this work done. Don’t put pressure on yourself or your young writer to make this perfect for the first book. Just enjoy this part! It can help everyone feel like the book is “complete” to have a cover, so spend as much time and effort as you feel comfortable. But don’t skip this step because it’s a great way to celebrate the book being done!

Thank you for going through this 13 Day Writing Journey with me. Happy writing!