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Illustrating for Books Online Short Course

Course description

Illustrating for books will help you develop your drawing skills for illustrating a range of different types of books, from non-fiction books, to travel and children’s books. For non-fiction books and travel books, you will improve your reportage illustration, drawing from observation, and learning how to develop sketches into interesting illustrations. For children’s books, you will learn character design, storyboarding, and how to build up a scene and add depth to an illustration. Each class will involve a drawing exercise to explore some of the ideas in the lesson.

Course outcomes

By the end of the course you will have a better understanding of:

  • Applying your drawing skills and creativity to narrative illustration and telling a story through your images
  • How to create varied and interesting character designs
  • How to apply observational sketching to more finished reportage drawings
  • How to build up a complex scene for a picture book
  • Drawing from suggested prompts
  • Storyboarding and planning out a picture book

Who is Illustrating for Books Online Short Course for?

This course is for anyone interested in illustrating for books, or who has an interest in narrative illustration, or children’s books. All levels are welcome, but being comfortable with drawing is important, as drawing will be featured heavily in the projects.

All our Online Short Courses include:

  • Live online lessons with the same tutors
  • The same course content and learning outcomes
  • Lesson recordings, for review
  • Access to VLE with course content
  • Forums for support
  • 2 weeks online access
  • Certificate upon completion

Further details about preparing for your online course, and the equipment you need, can be found here.

Please note that all courses are taught in UK time. To check and compare times please click here.

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please sign up to our mailing list to find out about upcoming dates and new course developments.


Online Short Course Materials

To take part in the Online sessions you will need:

  • An up-to-date version of the Google Chrome web browser
  • Microphone and headphones (a headset with a microphone function is recommended)
  • Webcam
  • Strong Internet connection via WiFi or ethernet; 2G, 3G or 4G will not be sufficient

Course Specific Materials

  • Paper and pen to take notes during live sessions
  • Graphite pencils 2B, 3B, or 4B
  • coloured pencils
  • pastel pencils
  • Pastels
  • Crayons
  • Eraser
  • Black pen
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick


Topics covered

  • Character design
  • Facial expression & Emotion
  • Building a scene
  • Drawing from observation
  • Reportage illustration
  • Drawing maps
  • Narrative illustrations
  • Storyboarding



We're working through our student reviews and will add to this section shortly! In the meantime, why don't you check out our stories where you will find out lots about our students and their experiences.
Meet the Tutor:

This online short course is an introduction to how to create visuals for non-fiction, children's and travel books. You'll practice a range of professional methods to creating your own character designs, storyboards, and illustrations.

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