Exercise: Working for children

Collect as many examples of imagery for children as possible. Group the illustrations you’ve collected into the target age groups. Include at least one image for each age group. Pre-reader Pre-school (3–5) Early reader (5-7) Established reader (7–9) and Older age groups

At first sight it is hard to tell for children of what age one or another illustration is made for. I thought that publishers of children books should know for sure which illustrations are good for small children and which for more grown up. On one website for parents I’ve found a list of books, recommended for different ages and found the covers for these books. Now I can be sure that illustrations found by me are targeted for chosen age brackets.





Pre-school (3-5)



Early reader (5-7)


Established reader (7-9)


Older age groups




Take two of these age groups and, for each one, go through the process of brainstorming around at least one word chosen from this list: Festival, Scary, Wild, Growing, Journey, Sad, Family, Discovery


I’ve made braistorm around the word scary for two age groups: pre-school and older age children.

It is said that small children are mainly frightened by so-called “natural fears”. These fears are based on an instinct of self-preservation. And after 7 years children start to have social fears too. They start to be afraid to be punished by parents, to be late or to get a bad mark, for example.

So, children of 3-5 years are often afraid of being alone without mother, new surroundings, outsiders, loneliness, darkness and monsters.

Create a simple image of your animal engaged in an activity that communicates this word. 

I’ve decided to make an illustration for children 3-5 years old. When I’ve been thinking of what animal would be the best for my work, it was fast to decide that the best would be to use a rabbit. Small cute scared rabbit.





This was the first version of my illustration


It’s not realistic and not quite detailed, because it’s designed for children. The rabbit is scared by the monster from the darkness. I didn’t put much detailed in the monster too, because children are quite scared of uncertainty and their imagination will draw the monster without any help.

Some time passed, and I’ve started to work on this illustration again after deciding that the result does not satisfy me. The rabbit didn’t look scared enough. One could think that it looks more surprised than scared. I’ve tried to fix that. In illustrations for children they often put some human-like features for animals. And I think by using more human emotions on the face of a rabbit I’ve managed to make it really scared.


Categories: exercises, Illustration