City Lit children's book illustration course

Course Dates: 18/10/19 - 12/06/20
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Tim Ellis
Dee Shulman

This intensive, three-term course is ideal for artists and illustrators keen to explore the world of children's book illustration in depth and develop a portfolio of work. Collect reference material, generate ideas and characters, and explore image making in the context of the current children's book market.


What is the course about?

Develop your own style while exploring a variety of media and learn to research and develop ideas in response to a
given brief. As well as being encouraged to develop your drawing styles and techniques, you will be introduced to character design, story ideas and page layout and you will gain an understanding of publishing requirements and how to present your work to publishers. At the end of the course there will be an exhibition of final works. Basic materials are provided.

Although this is a non-accredited course, students successfully completing the course will be awarded our City Lit Certificate - based on achievements of the course outcomes and attendance.

You can pay for your course in instalments in person at our enrolment counter. For more information, please call our enrolment team on 020 7831 7831 or email and we’ll call you back to discuss this further.

What previous students liked most about this course:
It is of a very high standard. The tutors are absolutely excellent, the briefs, advice and technical help were great!.

What will we cover?

Over the course, you will have the opportunity to explore a variety of media: pen and ink, watercolour, crayon, pencil, charcoal and pastel. There will also be the opportunity to work digitally with Photoshop. You will explore the relationship between illustration and text, familiarise yourself with research strategies, and begin to develop a personal visual language.The workshops will cover reference-collecting, character development, design and layout,
relationship of illustration to text, understanding of target age ranges, portfolio presentation and approaching industry.

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

- understand character design and development
- research and develop ideas in response to a given brief
- understand the relationship between illustration and text
- create effective page layout and composition
- understand how to approach an agent or publisher.

What previous students have achieved on this course:
“Developed knowledge and material. Developed inspiration and artwork. A desire to be come professional.” SS

“I have learned a lot about the industry and process of creating children’s books. My skills have also improved immensely with new skills and using different mediums.” JL

“I feel I have achieved a far greater understanding of the scope and skills I need to improve on and that I have to produce a portfolio in the future.” ST

“I have learned about how to illustrate character and facial expressions. I have completed a couple of sample illustrations.” GM

“I enjoyed the course greatly. I learnt different ways of approaching illustration work; manipulating drawing, preparatory work as well as developing a character from a sample sketch to a finished dummy book. It encouraged me greatly to work on my personal project. “ DK


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

The course is for all levels, whether you’re a beginner, have some art and design background or you’re a practicing illustrator. 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.

Please look at the rest of the course outline carefully to decide if you may benefit from support in your English and Maths skills to help you to take part fully in this class.

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

The course will combine demonstration, gathering research with follow up studio work, workshop tasks, group discussion and critique, and individual tuition. You will be encouraged to contribute ideas and present your work.

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. 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: an A4 or A3 sketchbook, a notebook, B and 2B pencils, an eraser and a sharpener. A USB memory stick and digital camera would be useful to record your work, though this is not essential. You will be using some computer software on this course. We have Adobe Creative Cloud (which includes Photoshop and Illustrator) on some machines in the Student Centre at City Lit. If you wish to buy your own copy to work at home, you might be eligible for a discount from Adobe:

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

Please note this course is exempt from our refunds and transfers policy.

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

The Children's book illustration: advanced practice courses VK400 and VK550 or the VK379 would provide an ideal progression.
You can develop and compliment your skills in Children’s Book Illustration through a range of City Lit courses in Children’s Book Illustration, Illustration, Design, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Cartooning, Comic Books and Animation. You can find the outlines of courses available by entering the subject you’re interested in in the search box of the City Lit website at

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

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: VK501

Fri, day, 18 Oct - 12 Jun '20

Duration: 30 sessions (over 35 weeks)

Full fee: £2,049.00
Senior fee: £1,639.00
Concession: £1,250.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

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.