Growing Bookworms – The importance of colour when illustrating children’s books #childrensfiction #readingcommunity #growingbookworms

Many children’s picture books make use of brightly coloured cartoon style illustrations. Children are attracted to  bright colors such as red, yellow, green, blue, and pink. These colors create a sense of energy and playfulness and also emanate happiness. Colour impacts on children’s moods, behaviour, and educational performance.

Part of the reason children prefer bright colours is because saturated colours are easier for young, developing eyes to see. Bright colors and contrasting colors stand out more in a child’s field of vision than feinter shades.

Colour effects the way the brain functions and can be used by illustrators to encourage pattern recognition, memory, and the ability of young readers to absorb new information.

Here are a few examples of colours and how they can be used for learning:

RED – a powerful and attention-grabbing colour, red stimulates alertness and excitement. It encourages creativity and can also increase appetite.

BLUE – provides a sense of comfort by exuding calmness, loyalty, peace, serenity, and security.

YELLOW – encourages positive feelings and improves concentration by promoting creativity, clarity, and optimism.

GREEN – symbolises nature and the natural world. Green relieves stress and provides a sense of healing. It also represents balance, growth, tranquillity, cleanliness and calmness.

ORANGE – like red, orange is an energetic colour that promotes alertness. Orange creates a sense of passion, warmth, excitement and encourages communication.

PINK –   symbolises love, romance, nurture, warmth, calmness, and imagination.

It is also important for illustrators, or writers engaging an illustrator, to note that colours can also overstimulate children, instead of inspiring them, so a balance of bright and neutral colours is required for illustrations.

I illustrate my own children’s books and I try to apply these principles in my own work. This is a collage of a selection of my fondant and cake art illustrations.

My illustrations have proved popular with children so I think I am getting the colour coding right.

These are some examples of famous children’s books and illustrators:

Amazon US

Amazon US

Amazon US

What do you think? Do you like bright colours? Have you written a children’s book and illustrated it yourself or engaged an illustrator? Let me know in the comments.

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9 about Count Sugular and his family who hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.

Robbie has published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Robbie has a blog, where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle



Twitter: BakeandWrite


Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books


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43 Comments on “Growing Bookworms – The importance of colour when illustrating children’s books #childrensfiction #readingcommunity #growingbookworms”

  1. Reblogged this on Robbie's inspiration and commented:

    This months Growing Bookworms post discusses the importance of colour when illustrating children’s books. Thanks for hosting, Kaye Lynne Booth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Staci Troilo says:

    This is a great tutorial on color for kids. When my granddaughter was first born, her pediatrician gave her black-and-white board books (because the contrast was necessary for such young eyes), but now she’s fully into color. And her preference seems to be red. (I wonder when in my life I switched from preferring bold colors to neutrals and fall tones.)

    Loved this, Robbie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like all kinds of color palettes: bright, muted, and neutral. The only exception would be the acid green, chartreuse spectrum.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. beetleypete says:

    Shared both posts on Twitter, Robbie.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. alexcraigie says:

    All of this makes perfect sense, Robbie – and you obviously practise what you preach! ♥♥

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Elizabeth says:

    One of our local treasures, about 45 minutes away, is the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum. Each season they showcase original illustrations along with Carle’s works. I love the colors in kids’ books and miss them in ones I read.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Toni Pike says:

    So interesting Robbie -the beautiful colours in the illustrations do make such a difference. Toni x

    Liked by 2 people

  8. A post both attractive and informative

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Jane Risdon says:

    Fab covers. Good luck with all you do. x

    Liked by 2 people

  10. memadtwo says:

    When I designed children’s knits, I always used bright colors except for babies, where people seem to prefer pastels (perhaps not wanting to over-stimulate?) I do disagree with the boy-girl, blue (primary color)-pink (pastel) divide that seems embedded in our culture also. But of course it’s easier to get away with dressing girls in primary colors than boys in purple turquoise and pink. I’m not sure if this follows in books, but I imagine boys would not be encouraged to read about bright pink princesses even now. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Color is big even with adults. I remember a teacher at the school I worked at giving a workshop in using color to make spreadsheets more readable, having everyone look crosseyed at her. Why? She was right and they didn’t get it.

    I’d forgotten about Richard Scarry. He was wonderful. It’s nice his son, Huck, has taken up the task.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. dgkaye says:

    Great post Robbie. Easy to identify that which attracts a child’s eye. Color brightens up people’s days in so many ways. I’ve always been attracted to and wear bright colors. It’s like a bit of sunshine brightening a gloomy day. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  13. markbierman says:

    I think of Robert Munsch and how much my kids used to like his books . . . also full of color. I love your cakes depicted here, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Jennie says:

    Terrific post, Robbie. You are exactly right about the colors. The three books you highlighted are excellent examples, and also very good books.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Absolutely! One has to create directly for the one the book is intended to entertain. There are even rules for choosing colors when creating for older eyes/brains.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. olganm says:

    You make a very important point, Robbie, for authors and illustrators of children’s books. And, you’re definitely doing it right. Although children aren’t the only ones who love your illustrations. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Carla says:

    I totally agree, Robbie. The more colourful and eye catching the illustrations, the more my grandkids enjoy the book.

    Liked by 2 people

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