How emotion is depicted in picture books.

An image an illustration is a powerful communication tool, capturing a time, a space and emotion, speaking a thousand words without a single word being spoken.

For this project I am using emotion as my keyword. Exploring what emotions are elicited through illustrations in picture books, how this translates into page layout, character development, text and image relationship, the colour pallet chosen and how the image speaks emotionally in the absence of words.

Below is an image from Oliver Jeffers book ‘Lost and Found’,(2006) the image is full of signifiers that allow us to engage with the emotion of the image, from the colures used, body language of the characters and the page layout as well as character placement.


Oliver Jeffers [image online]Available at: [Accessed 16th October 2014]

In looking at the above image we employ a understanding of code and signs that we have developed through our understanding of the world around, using this it allows us to understand and gain meaning from the image. To understand this futher I will delve into the world of semiotics, and the decoding of signs and symbols.

“Semiotics involves the study not only of what we refer to as ‘signs’ in everyday speech, but of anything which ‘stands for’ something else. In a semiotic sense, signs take the form of words, images, sounds, gestures and objects.” (Chandler,2002, pg.1)

I will explore wider fields and think about how music and film can transcend us into a state of being and awaken different parts of our subconscious bringing emotions to the conscious.

It feels as though it is a journey full of adventure and intrigue. On I go into the world of picture books, emotions and semiotics.


  • Chandler, Daniel. (2002) Semiotics :The Basics, London :Routledge
  • Jeffers, Oliver, (2006), Lost and Found, London: Harper Collins

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