I was just browsing through some of the notes I took while attending a writer’s workshop last year in Austin. One of the faculty was E. B. Lewis, illustrator and Caldecott Honor winner for Coming Home Soon. He was talking about picture books, but this could apply to any genre.
“Illustrators are visual storytellers,” he said. “Illustration is a visual interpretation of the written word.” Then he gave some pointers on character development. “Learn about your subject—your protagonist,” he told us. “Know his thoughts, sensations, and settings around him. Take your character out to lunch. What would he eat? Go to his house and open the doors. Look inside. You need to know your character that well. This is called research. Discover what your character is about.”
What is in your character’s pocket? Does he carry around something that is meaningful and symbolic to him? Is it for strength or to sustain him?
Lots of good advice here. And here’s an older post by Deborah Underwood about the same topic – picture book illustrations and what writers should know about it.
"Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift." — Kate DiCamillo