I'm doing some research into children's book illustration. I was wondering if you guys could tell me some kiddy-styles you enjoy or link me to some interesting artists in a cute, children-appropriate style, or even some books or tutorials. I'm collecting bits and pieces of inspiration all over. Here's some pretty cool things I already found I feel could work well.
I know it's very diverse, but I'm trying to see what styles are cute and appealing to the public. Let me know what kinds of styles you like in children's book illustration? Thanks!
I have no experience/education in this area myself, but a friend of mine who does once told me that young kids do well with very cartoony illustrations, and realistic ones, but don't take too well to ones in the middle. As they get older, they start being able to identify with a larger variety in styles.
Another thing is clarity: although kids are often smarter than we give them credit for, it's best to be as clear and unambiguous as possible with those illustrations. Kids, especially young ones, do not yet have the experience to pick up on subtle expressions and such, at least in drawings (this is related to the realistic or highly symbolic thing I mentioned above).
tl;dr: A good cartoony style is not necessarily appropriate for children's illustration. I highly recommend reading as much about child psychology as you can, so that you can better understand your audience. Kids don't see things the same way adults to.
Take a cue from Disney and Pixar. How cartoony/realistic do they get, and how much variety do they allow in the cartooniness from one movie to the next? How has the cartooniness changed over time for each company? What about other companies that haven't done so well in the past? (Dreamworks comes to mind here).
Also keep in mind that the style of the artwork should reflect the story. If you want a story with body-sound-effects humor, look to various cartoon network styles. If you want something that's more about fairytales, well, it should be obvious where to look.