Book Illustration Tips: Continuing Details From Page to Page

It’s obvious that the characters you illustrate for a book will have the same physical attributes throughout the story. This is where you begin the visual continuity that will carry from page to page as you create your illustrations.

Here are my book illustration tips for maintaining continuity.

illustration example

For example, my mouse character is a more realistic mouse with sienna brown fur. I will make sure to keep him looking like this same mouse with the same coloring throughout the story.

The next step in continuity includes any clothing or objects that the character may use or objects described in the text that should not be changed or altered unless it is indicated by the text.

The objects in the images below are part of the story. They will need to be identifiable as the story progresses, therefore, the shape, details and coloring will remain the same for each object.

Pay attention to your color palettes

If your setting is in the same place, keep the color palette the same, unless the text dictates changes.

My mouse here is waking up from his nest on a tile floor. In the very next scene, he has moved to a different part of the same room. It was important to keep the same pattern and colors of the floor in both illustrations.

Keep backgrounds consistent

Another step in continuity, and the one that you should pay particular attention to, is the actual setting or backgrounds you create as your illustrations move along with the story.

Sometimes backgrounds remain relatively the same, even if your characters have changed or are are doing different actions. The background in the three illustrations below are the perfect example of this. The action is taking place in the same setting. The landscape, houses, foliage needed to be as close in detail and placement or location from page to page.

The only change is that the as the action of the animals on each page is moving to the right, the view of the background scenery pans a little more to the right along with it. This simply provided enough of a change in the scenery to keep it alive.

Change the angle in the same setting

When you have to convey movement in the same setting, one way is to mentally place yourself right into the scene and imagine what you would now see or not see anymore if you moved in the direction you need to convey in your illustration.

Remember to keep any stationary objects, if they are still within view now that you have changed the angle, recognizable. This is important for the continuity and the overall cohesiveness of the total book.

The animals here are walking on a hill toward a city in the distance.

Now the animals have progressed further into the landscape that with all the dramatic changes now, is still recognizable.

Continuity is important, it is a part of what creates the comforting illusion of taking us some place when reading a picture book.

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