Drawing the images that shape childhood can be one of the most rewarding jobs you can have. If you want to become a children's book illustrator, you need to dedicate many years to studying and perfecting the craft. You will have to learn to draw for your intended age group and compile a portfolio of your drawings. After you have a sizable sample of drawings that show off your abilities, there are many ways that you can go in order to begin this work.
You will need to have a sharp set of drawing and coloring or painting skills if you want to become a children's book illustrator. There are no educational requirements for this job, but many illustrators gain the instruction and practice they need by majoring in illustration in college. Learning about the use of color, scale, scope and style in drawing class will help you develop into a versatile artist who can match pictures to any story.
In order to become a children's book illustrator, one important step you can take to sharpen your skills is to study the illustrations in children's books. Most books have a unique style that can range from smooth, lifelike characters to jagged, childlike work and everything in between. You can study these books and attempt to emulate their illustrations, just as many painters mimic the work of the masters in order to learn new techniques.
All of this practice will be helpful, not only for developing as an artist but also for helping you build your portfolio. If you want to become a children's book illustrator, your work must speak for itself, because there are few interviews involved in landing a job. Instead, you will show either hard copies or digital scans of your best work to prospective employers and let them judge if you will be a match for their book.
After you have a portfolio of sketches and illustrations, you will have many options of ways to become a children's book illustrator. Freelancing probably is the most popular way of landing jobs, and it involves making contacts with publishers, illustrators and agents who need single illustration jobs. Working exclusively for a publisher is rare, but it happens, and you will be assigned jobs to draw. Another way is to write your own story and illustrate it, or you can partner up with a writer and create something together.