Think you could create a picture book?

The Picture Book Maker: the art of the children’s picture book writer and illustrator. A review by Mumsnet Berkshire

picture book maker

I love children’s books! I could quite happily spend many an hour reading story books and picture books to my children – and I quite often do. My two year old loves picture books and will spend time pointing out things he can see in the pictures, as well as enjoying listening to the stories themselves. I must admit whilst I’ve spent time perusing the shelves in bookshops and developing a taste for particular authors, I have never given it much thought as to whether I could create a picture book so I was very intrigued when IOE Press and author Dr Karenanne Knight sent me a copy of The Picture Book Maker to review for Mumsnet Berkshire.

Picture book illustrator and  illustration lecturer at Falmouth University, Dr Karenanne Knight wrote this book to teach people how to create their own picture book. It’s often said we’ve all got a book in us and if yours happens to be a children’s picture book then this interesting read is for you.

At first glance, I assumed this book would be a ‘how to’ guide for creating illustrations to go with a story. On closer inspection it is so much more than that. This book will help you throughout start to finish of the whole process from creating a plot, characters and storyline, on to  pairing images and pictures with the text of the story, all the way through to editing and approaching a publisher.

This paperback book as a lovely front cover illustration of a child sat on a swan which instantly sparks imagination and draws you to look inside the book. It is, however, written in a very academic manner. So the reader truly understands the science behind creating a picture book including theoretical approaches and theorem surrounding what makes picture books appealing as well as how this has changes across the years including the introduction of ready media e.g. internet and television into children’s lives and how technology has influenced story book progression.

Primarily this book is aimed at students and lecturers of BA and MA illustration, creative writing and design courses, as well as teachers in primary education who want insight into reading materials for the early years audience. However, I think it can be used by a wider audience such as the novice picture book make. The reason I think this is because the book is laid out in a series of chapters that not only take you through the various stages of creation, but also includes regular exercises and checklists so you can practice and demonstrate your understanding.

Because ‘The Picture Book Maker’ is more of a textbook than a general book, it doesn’t have a huge amount of actual pictures in it. But the pictures that are included show you the build up of characters from blank page to finished character and all the stages in between. The reader is also shown examples of where good images can be used outside of the picture book, for example, in other stories and on wrapping paper. I do think it could benefit from a few more images but that is most likely personal preference.

This book has both a breadth and depth of knowledge contained inside. The reader is talked through the different types of picture books from baby books and early readers through to picture story books and is also taken through important things to remember when considering getting your book published such as complying with copyright laws and whether to have a paper copy or electronic copy for your potential publisher.

If you fancy a dabble at creating a picture book then this book would be a huge and helpful source of information. Some of the exercises do involve looking at particular examples within a particular book, so I think if there were another edition one suggestion I would put forward is to make the example less book specific; that or use an exert and reference it at the back.

Interested in finding out more? You could WIN your own copy of this lovely book by Dr Karenanne Knight. I have been given 5 copies to give away. To enter the Mumsnet Berkshire competition all you have to do is answer the following question: Which University does Dr Karenanne Knight currently lecture at?

Please email entries to

Closing date is 27th July 2014. Only one copy per winner.

Read my interview with Dr Karenanne Knight here.

This book is available from: – independent booksellers on line



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