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Children's Book Illustration

Children's Book Illustration

Central Saint Martins
Taught by
April Wilson


In this course you will explore a variety of techniques used to create images for picture books. You will be introduced to methods of communicating narratives through image making alone. By working through a series of exercises you will be acquainted with the roles that storyboarding, roughs, layouts, text placement and final artwork all play in the creation of illustrated picture books.

Topics covered

  • You will create a character in clay that can be manipulated into any position and viewed from any angle.
  • Facial expressions reflecting emotions are discussed and drawn using these models. This is aimed to help you to achieve better character continuity in your drawings.
  • Pop-up books are explored through the making of simple mechanisms, and the role of the illustrator in tackling these special books will be explained.
  • Colour media is investigated through creating a book of colour for young readers, and black and white media is tried out using ink and bleach painting as well as scraper boards.
  • In each session there will be a variety of picture books for you to examine and ample opportunity for you to ask questions.
  • We end the course with a story-generating exercise working in pairs.

Through student-led work, paired projects and class workshops, the aim will be to increase both experimentation and professionalism, encouraging you to develop your own individuality and imagination.

Who should take this course?
This course will appeal to people who enjoy picture making and have an interest in storytelling through drawing.

Entry requirements: It is important to feel comfortable with drawing, as this is our chief means of communicating when working through the class exercises and briefs.

Level: Beginners

Related courses: Those who want to develop their skills further should follow this course up with our Children’s Book  Illustration Advanced short course.

Please note: This course is for students aged 18 and older

Online short courses

Did you know we offer a similar course online? UAL online short courses are designed to help creative people master new challenges, develop their skills, get inspired by new ideas and access the UAL learning experience without having to travel to a campus for class.

Illustrating for Books (Online Short Course)

More online courses

Tutor Description

April Wilson is an artist and illustrator who has written and illustrated many children's books. To find out more about April's work, and this course, please visit her website


Please bring with you to the first session:

  • cartridge paper pad (optional)
  • graphite pencils 2B, 3B, or 4B if you have them
  • rubber
  • black pen
  • scissors
  • glue stick

Most of the materials below will be provided by the college, but if you have any of your own you may wish to bring them in:

  • small hand mirror
  • dip pen and inks
  • plasticine clay
  • rulers
  • coloured pencils
  • pastel pencils
  • pastels
  • crayons
  • coloured and printed papers for collage
  • ink, bleach and brushes

Available dates