Children's book illustration for beginners

Course Dates: 16/09/19 - 18/11/19
Time: 10:00 - 13:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Dee Shulman

An introduction to character design, layout and story development, giving you a solid understanding of the industry. Develop your own style while exploring a variety of media and learn to research and develop ideas in response to a given brief. Basic materials provided.

See what you could create –
view a selection of work made on our children’s book illustration courses



What is the course about?

You will examine different approaches and styles of illustration, and through experimentation with a variety of media, will learn how to tackle the development of ideas and character. You will explore the relationship between illustration and text, familiarise yourself with research strategies, and begin to develop a personal visual language. We will discuss and explore current publishing demands and global markets.

Please note: this is not a computer based course but there will be limited access to computer equipment for tasks such as scanning and printing.

What previous students liked most about this course:
“The content of the course was excellent. The tutor gave great constructive feedback and support and created a friendly environment.”

“Having a creative peer group and learning how to use materials in new and enlightening ways.”

“The chance to explore different illustration styles and media, and to work on my own project.”

“I enjoyed every session very much.”

“I have learned about characters and the different ways of drawing illustrations.”


What will we cover?

- basic publishing terminology
- research and development of ideas in response to a given brief
- character design and development
- page layout and composition
- the relationship between illustration to text
- understanding target age ranges
- how to approach an agent or publisher.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

understand the relationship between illustration and text
explore and develop character, narrative, and research strategies
generate ideas in response to a given brief
use a range of relevant media
understand some of the varying demands of publishers in relation to age range, gender and markets.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is for beginners in relation to the Children’s Book Illustration, but you will gain the most from this course if you have good drawing skills.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be able to use numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will combine demonstration, group discussion and critique, and individual tuition. You will be encouraged to contribute ideas and present your work. Homework will include research and image development.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

The course fee covers basic materials and equipment. It would be very useful for you to bring the following equipment to develop and record images and ideas: an A3 sketchbook, a notebook, B and 2B pencils, an eraser and a sharpener or scalpel.

If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, City Lit students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Your tutor will advise you on what you should buy. You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at *Terms and conditions apply, visit

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You can develop your skills further on VK553 Children's book illustration: stage 2, VK400 Children's book illustration: advanced practice , VK547 Children's book writing and illustration workshop or compliment your illustration skills with a range of courses in illustration, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.

General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 2 item(s)

Write a review

Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

This course, although short, packs a lot into the 10 weeks. The tutor is brilliant at what she does. And so much fun, it feels like you are back at School. I loved every minute. If you are thinking 'do I' do it, you will feel like I did.
Course Rating
Review by Debra / (Posted on 09/07/2015)
This course was brilliant.
I was nervous to go at first, but [the tutor] is brilliant.
I would definitely recommend this course to any one interested in illustrating for children. There were people from a variety of backgrounds and career-stages on the course and I learned a lot from them too.
Course Rating
Review by Deadbirduk / (Posted on 10/05/2015)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: VK530

Mon, day, 16 Sep - 18 Nov '19

Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)

Full fee: £379.00
Senior fee: £303.00
Concession: £231.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.