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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 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.



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 thats 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 compliment 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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