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Book Illustration Short Course

Course description

You will explore materials, gain confidence in character development, layout and composition and understand the relationship between illustration and text. (A talk from a) Our tutors are practising illustrators who 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 you'll 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.

Each Book Illustration Short Course is taught by either Zehra Hicks (normally the week long courses) or Christyan Fox (normally the Saturday courses). Please email if you want to find out more details.

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.




Clear, easy to understand lessons: 

  • Our tutors will explain things in easy to understand, accessible English. If they need to use any special terminology they will make sure they explain what they mean. 
  • New methods will be shown to students through live demonstrations, in a way that’s crystal clear and easy to understand. 

Experience life on campus 

  • Network and share ideas with students from across the globe 
  • Access the technology and materials relevant to your discipline 
  • Shop in our college shops for any materials you might need 
  • Ask questions of your tutor in real time 
  • Receive feedback and critique on your assignments 
  • Experience the many sights of London on your down time 

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. 
  • We always recommend you attend all of the classes so that you get the most out of the experience! 
  • Certificates are great to complement your cv. 

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


Please bring the following materials with you on the first day:

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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