As a 27-year-old adult, it’s not often that I pick up children’s books. But there is just something so wonderfully charming in children’s picture books that render them ‘ageless’. I also work in the field of Design, so I have a huge interest in illustrative styles and techniques so I’m endlessly researching different illustrators and their works just for some creative inspiration. There’s an art to visual storytelling that is so instinctively powerful. A single picture can speak volumes. This post is to celebrate some of those visual storytellers. All of these would make wonderful gifts to the little people in your life.
Simona Ciraolo’s beautifully illustrated children’s picture books are both gorgeous to flip through and are also such heartwarming stories that are so incredibly relatable. The Lines on Nana’s Face is one that particularly tugged at my heartstrings. The story is a conversation between a grandchild and her grandma. The child is concerned and a tad puzzled that her grandma looks surprised, worried, happy and sad all at once. Grandma explains that it’s because of the lines on her face and how each of these lines holds a cherished memory. She then goes on to narrate each of these memories. Simona’s art style might seem simple at a first glance, but her illustrations are so evocative and emotive that you really don’t need any words to tell you the story. Her work is a wonderful addition to any bookshelf, children and adults alike!
Have you ever opened a book and just felt mesmerized by the art and attention to detail? Emily Hughes gorgeously illustrated children’s books are precisely that. They are simple stories completely elevated by her distinctive, detailed artwork. There’s so much of story-telling and setting of the scene that are hidden in the detail of her illustration. The words are sparse and only a few making it easy for new readers to absorb the essence of the story without feeling overwhelmed. When I re-read her books, I was able to glean even more nuance and rich detail captured in her drawings. The illustrations are so wonderfully vivid that I would totally love to have some of the spreads framed and hung on my wall. Featured below is spread from her book, Wild. The Little Gardener is another title from her that I would highly recommend.
Francesca Sanna’s stories are deeply meaningful tackling quite important themes but presenting them in a way that’s very easy for a child to relate to. In her book, The Journey, she captures the struggle, alienation and difficulty in being a refugee and having to leave one’s home. In her other title, Me and My Fear, she beautifully portrays the fears and anxieties of childhood and how one can face them. Her art style is distinctly employing a technique that feels collage-like, vibrant and detailed. I find her style incredibly perceptive and works beautifully with the story she is trying to convey.
Rachel Woodworth & Sang Miao
Out, Out, Away From Here is a charming children’s book that introduces them to handling their different emotions and limitless capacity for imagination. The artwork is absolutely stunning and done in a vibrant watercolour style palette. The expressions of the little girl we see in this story are one of the main highlights for me and it beautifully illustrates the different emotions a child might be facing and how they could cope with them. Another lovely title I just can’t recommend enough!
I hope you enjoyed these recommendations and I’ll be back soon with more!