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Book Illustration Online Short Course

Course description

Join Book Illustration and hone your drawing skills - helping you to develop your own visual language. Gain an understanding of how you could develop your abilities as an illustrator and what is required in order to show a portfolio to a publisher.

You will explore materials, gain confidence in character development, layout and composition and understand the relationship between illustration and text. A talk from a practising illustrator will give you inspiration and insight into the current childrens book market.

A short demonstration on digital processes will introduce you to the possibilities of incorporating new working methods to your illustration practice. Throughout the course youll enjoy valuable one-on-one tuition as well as group feedback.

Past students have featured among the prize winners of the Macmillan Book Prize and the V&A Inspired By Competition.

Please bring an example of your favourite illustrator's work to the first session.

Course outcomes

You will aim to complete a series of illustrations or have developed ideas and some sample artwork for a book.

Who should attend

Anyone interested in illustrating books, book jackets or children's picture books, who wants to take a drawing based course. Or anyone who is considering taking an Illustration MA or Illustration BA course.

For more information on Online Short Courses please see the below information.

Clear, easy to understand lessons:

  • Our tutors will explain in easy to understand accessible English, if they use any special terminology we make sure they explain what it is they mean.
  • New methodologies will be explained to you in a way thats crystal clear and easy to understand.
  • We even include live demonstrations of particular techniques so that you can see exactly how things should be done.
  • We also offer a bunch of learning resources for you to access outside of the live lessons. This allows you to ensure you are up to date and you can practice and review the things that are important to you. Practice makes perfect after all!

Live interactive classrooms:

  • We like to do things the right way, that's why all of our online classes are live, you won't find any recordings here (well apart from the recording we provide in case you miss a live session)
  • Expect live interaction with your classmates from around the world, our students come from far and wide
  • Ask questions of your tutor in real time
  • Receive feedback and critique on your assignments
  • Discuss topics related to your course in real time via your microphone and camera or if you're not feeling brave, in the chat box
  • Miss a class? Thats ok you can catch up in a recording which is available for 2 weeks after your course runs

A certificate of completion:

  • You've put the work in so we want to make sure you have something to show for it!
  • As long as you attend a minimum of 80% of your classes, we will provide you with a certificate of attendance.
  • However we always recommend you attend all of the classes so that you get the most out of the experience!
  • Certificates are a great addition to your C

All our online short courses include:

  • Live online lessons with the same tutors
  • The same course content and learning outcomes as our face to face courses
  • Lesson recordings, for review, so you never have to miss a class
  • Access to the virtual learning environment with course content
  • Forums for support
  • 2 weeks online access to the recordings of the live classroom sessions

Please note that all courses are taught in UK time.

Online courses are closed to all new bookings 48 hours prior to the course starting.

Available dates

Enquire about this course and we will contact you when new dates are published.


Topics covered

  • Introducing materials and approaches to illustration
  • Drawing from observation
  • Storyboarding and sequential image
  • Character and expression
  • Printmaking techniques at home
  • Guest speaker
  • Individual tutorials
  • Project briefs you can continue after the course
  • Exploring possibilities of digital processes (photoshop demo)
  • Portfolio tips
  • How to approach an agent or publisher


Online short course materials

To take part in the Online sessions you will need:

  • An up-to-date web browser (we recommend Chrome)
  • Microphone and headphones (a headset with a microphone function is recommended. The built-in microphone in your device would also be fine)
  • Webcam
  • Strong Internet connection - we recommend a minimum of 2 Mbps download, and 1 Mbps upload, faster if possible. You can test your network speed here -

Course specific materials

Please source the following materials

Essential materials:

  • A4 sketch book
  • Single sheets of heavyweight drawing paper (A4 or A3)
  • 2B, 3B, or 4B pencils
  • Black ink (indian ink preferable but not essential)
  • Gouache or watercolour paints in a tube (red, blue and yellow)
  • Paint brushes
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick

Useful to have:

  • Some form of colour: pencil crayons or pastels
  • Any other drawing media that you have at home
  • Examples of any recent work; drawings, sketchbooks - (it does not have to be illustration)
  • An image of your favourite illustrator’s work


Meet the Tutor:

Join Book Illustration and hone your drawing skills - helping you to develop your own visual language. Gain an understanding of how you could develop your abilities as an illustrator and what is required in order to show a portfolio to a publisher.

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