Uploaded by Jenny Tran

05 Visual Features of a Picture Book

What does a picture book look like?
Front Cover
Title of book – often
large in font and eyecatching
Publishing company
that grabs the
reader’s attention;
provides some
information about
the characters
and/or setting of
the book
Name of author/illustrator
includes an
exciting and
blurb that
outlines the
giving away
the ending!)
Praise for the
book from
use of highly
language sparks
reader interest
Back cover
from the
book creates
Highlights the awards the
book has won. Why would
this be included?
Provides the names of
more titles from this
A barcode
Features of a Picture Book
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The salient image in a visual text is the first image that a
viewer sees when looking at an image.
Salience is important as it is where the audience will begin
their reading path.
There are a number of reasons why a feature of a visual
text may be the salient feature:
◦ The colour is bright and therefore stands out.
◦ The image is particularly eye catching.
◦ The layout or where the image has been placed.
What is the salient image?
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Reading Path
The reading path is the way
the composer leads the
reader to follow the text.
This may be left to right,
top to bottom, or your
path may jump around the
What is the reading path of
this image?
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Vectors are the lines in an image that direct the eyes to a
particular object o person. They may be horizontal, vertical
or diagonal vectors across a page.
What are the vectors in this image?
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A silhouette is a dark shape or outline of someone or
something. A silhouette appears black against a brighter
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Extreme Close Up Shot
The focus is on a
specific part of a
person or object. It
allows the reader to
pay attention to detail.
For example, the focus
may be on the eyes or
hands of a person.
Close Up Shot
This shot focuses on a
person’s face, including
their neck and
It draws attention to
the emotions of a
Medium (Mid) Shot
This shot focuses on a person from their head to
their waist.
It can often show a person’s body language and
their relationship with another person or object
in the shot.
Long Shot
This shot shows the entire person and the
background. It allows the reader to see a person
in their environment.
Extreme Long Shot or Establishing
This shot shows an entire landscape or setting. People are
less noticeable and the focus is on the environment.
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Eye Level Angle
The camera (or reader) and the characters are on the
same level. It creates equality.
Low Angle
The camera (or reader) is positioned at a low
point and are looking up at the characters. Makes
the characters appear larger, powerful and
High Angle
The camera (or reader) is positioned at a high point,
looking down on the characters. Makes the characters
appear small, weak and powerless.
The camera (or reader) is positioned directly below the
action. We are looking up at the action.
Example: a shot of a plane flying in the sky, a character
looking up at clouds.
Overhead Shot
The camera (or reader) is placed directly above the action,
looking down. We have a birds-eye view.
Example: looking down from a tall building, a map.
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Foreground – the part of the scene that is closest to
the reader; the front of the scene.
Background – the part of the scene that is furthest from
the reader; the back of a scene
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Symbolism is when an object, place, word, action, event,
person or colours used in a story convey certain ideas.
For example: a rose may symbolise the love between two
A motif is a recurring symbol.
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Colour symbolism
These colours are commonly associated with certain ideas –
Red – passion, love, power, fire, blood, war
Yellow – joy, hope, summer
Blue – peace, calm, truth, loyalty
Orange – energy, warmth, harmony
Green – nature, health, youth, jealousy
Purple – royalty, spirituality, wisdom
Grey – security, maturity, practicality, age, doom, sadness
Brown – earth, the outdoors, land
White – purity, simplicity, peace, cleanliness, winter, marriage
Black – death, sadness, elegance, class
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Demand – a demand shot is when the gaze of the
character meets the gaze of the reader. The character is
looking directly at you and demanding your attention. It
creates involvement in a story.
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Offer – an offer shot is when the gaze of the character is
looking away from the reader. The character is detached
from the reader and we are onlookers in story.
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Point of View Shot - a point of view shot is when the
reader is able to view the scene from the same
perspective as the character.
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Over the shoulder shot – allows the audience
to view the scene from over the shoulder of
characters. A third-person shot.
Body Language and Facial
A character’s body
language includes their
stance and gestures.
The body language and
facial expressions of a
character show us
their attitudes and
emotions towards
people and situations.
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Proximity refers to distance
and allows us to determine
the relationship between
characters and other people
and objects based on their
distance from each other.
Close proximity – the means
that there is a closeness
between characters and/or
characters and objects. This
can show that there is a close
bond or relationship; or
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Layout refers to the shape, size and arrangement of the
illustrations and text in a picture book. It includes
positioning and framing.
Framing refers to what appears around a picture or scene
or text.
What do you notice about the layout of the following