Beginners to Intermediate
This online course’s next available date is the 19th of April, 7 – 9 pm Monday to Friday.
Whether you plan to someday self-publish a children’s book, find out about what agents and editors are looking for, looking for group feedback, or begin the process of drafting an outline or storyboard for your idea, the beginners level to intermediate-level course is for you.
If this is your first time embarking upon illustrating a children’s book, start by getting inspiration from your favourite artists, illustrators, and award-winning picture books. Educate yourself on current trends, seek inspiration, go for a walk to clear your mind, and mindfully note new sensory stimulations, especially in this pandemic-world! Look at art, books, toys etc., made by others to inspire your own and create an ‘ideas generation exercise’ Looking at art is like food to an artist.
Make an inspiration wall or an ideas journal. Create a creative corner to work in. Play to your strengths, whether you’re skilled at pencil drawing, graphic design, painting with acrylics, or drawing animals in clothing. When brainstorming, keep the reading level and the age range in mind. Picture books are usually read to a child, and the most typical age is 3 to 6. Check out this wonderful blog.
In this Follow-On course, we will cover what happens when you have a project at an early stage of its development and what to do next.
Most children’s books have a main character who will feature in every illustration. Focus on your character’s development. It is important to practice drawing this character with various expressions, emotions, and different situations. Continuity is crucial! If your character grows by inches over a few pages, look again. If your character has sunshine yellow books on the first spread and mustard yellow on page 6: look again. If your character has dimples on page 7, they should have them on page 24!
Begin with a storyboard. I use a sheet of A2 layout paper to fit in 12 double-page spreads, birdseye view. Since children’s picture books have sparse text, illustrations are crucial to telling the story. Go through the text, note how to illustrate the story best, make thumbnail sketches for each page or scene of the book. Then create more detailed pencil illustrations for all 12 spreads/24 pages, plus two colour samples that show how the final ‘product’ will look. Seek professional feedback.
Give yourself enough time to redraw illustrations based on your critique. If you’re illustrating your own book, you may have a bit more flexibility. However, if you’re illustrating someone else’s story, then several rounds of edits and redrafts are the norm. Once your artwork is approved, and if you’re working with a publisher, they will have a book designer who will combine the text with your illustrations.
If you’re working on your own self-published book, you’ll have to do your own image editing, layout, and cover design. This course has attracted bookings from my many alumni. However, it does not exclude you from applying if you have a visual art or literature background, a project you would like to get off the ground, or a first draft picture book or dummy that needs more work plus feedback.