Illustrating Picture Books e-course review


Hello everyone!
Today I’m going to talk a little bit about the 5 week e-course I took on ‘Illustrating Children’s Picture Books‘. The course was taught by Sabina Radeva and Denise Holmes and it was the first run of this class at Design Garden.

For those of you who don’t know, I have a background in both communication and graphic design and back when I was studying, I had an entire semester where I was able to attend a class where they covered subjects like illustration, pagination and book design. From there, I’ve continued to learn through online courses, books and the rest came from experience, so when I found out about this course I thought that it would be a good way to refresh the basics and maybe learn something new. I’ve read such great reviews from other Design Garden classes that I knew this would not disappoint – and I was right!

Here’s a little description of the course:
“Have you always dreamed of illustrating Children’s Picture Books? Join Denise and Sabina as we share our experiences and techniques and learn how to develop creative original images for picture books.”

During the course, each week we had video lessons to go through, with step by step technical tutorials, information about a specific topic, mini practice exercises and lots of visual inspiration, so at the end of the lesson, we would be able to complete the main assignment (and if we were able to submit it in time, it would be reviewed during the live sessions).

WEEK 1 – Character development
After picking our story we started to get to know the main characters by doing research and sketching out ideas (they gave us one commissioned from an author, but we could choose to work with a different one. I remained with the one given to us). Below is the moodboard I put together for my characters and story, as well as, some sketches and character development.



WEEK 2 – Anatomy of a picture book
After that we talked about book maps and book dummies and started sketching the interior of our book, having in mind composition, pacing and types of illustration.

WEEK 3 – Finalizing two spreads
I was only able to finish one spread, but I’m counting on completing a few more to add to my portfolio. We were meant to finish the spreads with whichever technique we were comfortable with, so I just went with my usual style.


On week 4 we worked on our book covers and finally, on week 5 we wrapped all the lessons, talked about self publishing, contracts and agents and we were also able to get our websites reviewed by both Denise and Sabina.

Overall, it was a great learning experience. All the material and lessons were very insightful with clear content and generous information and all the extra bonus, resources and incentives kept me motivated and eager to finish my assignments. One aspect of this course that I found invaluable was all the feedback we had during these five weeks – helpful, constructive and sincere – from both teachers and fellow students.
An amazing course for anyone that wants to dive deeper into children’s picture books!

moodboard images credit (1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7 . 8 . 9 . 10 . 11)


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