Course dates

Starting date, Monday 17 Feb 2020
09:30 - 16:30 | 5 days

Course overview

Led by award-winning author/illustrator David Lucas, this intensive five-day children's book illustration course in London will help you develop new confidence in classic illustration techniques. You will craft a bold and imaginative sequence of images to illustrate a narrative of your choice. You will be guided towards creating a handmade book of a high enough standard to present to a publisher.

"Lucas's work brings to mind such great exponents of graphic art as Saul Steinberg and Paul Klee."

The Times

This course offers a wide-ranging exploration of children's book illustration techniques, focusing on traditional media. In advance of the course, you will be expected to have chosen a narrative you want to illustrate – this can be a picture book text or novel, a well-known text, or a self-authored story. By the end of the course, you will have assembled your own sequence of original images, and begun making a handmade book, which you can then present to publishers.

Each day will begin with a short talk and demonstration, with most of the day being spent on practical work guided by a professional children's illustrator with 25 years' experience in the field. Beginning with the use of line at its simplest and most direct, you will be led through the basics of storytelling drawing, to create appealing and engaging characters in vividly-imagined worlds. You will evolve your work through sketches, thumbnails, and final artwork, attend workshops on collage and watercolour painting, and receive guidance on page design, as well as the use of colour, tone and contrast.

The final day will focus on assembling the images into a book. The tutor will offer guidance on next steps in the industry, and there will be an opportunity to reflect on the course, share insights, and present your work to the group.

Why take the Children's Book Illustration course at Goldsmiths?

  • Gain a broad overview of children's illustration styles, and of what makes a good children's book illustration
  • Explore different handwriting styles, and find your own unique graphic handwriting or signature style
  • Develop skills in character design and world-building
  • Gain new confidence in handling a range of traditional media
  • Learn how to write a children's book and get it published, and develop skills in page design, and planning coherent image sequences
  • Create a sequence of illustrations to a single narrative, including sketches, thumbnails, and final artwork
  • Combine everything you've learned, practiced and created into a book Put together a book of your illustrations 



Booking information

Disability Support

We are committed to providing reasonable teaching adjustments for students with disabilities that may impact on their learning experience. Please be advised that in order to provide an assessment and plan appropriate support we require as much notice as possible and, in some circumstances, up to 3 months. If you are planning to book, or have already booked, onto a short course please contact Goldsmiths Disability Team ( at your earliest convenience.

Please note that our short courses sell-out quickly, so early booking is advisable.

Starting date, Monday 17 Feb 2020
09:30 - 16:30 | 5 days


If you have any questions about this course please contact shortcourses ( .

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Tutor information

David Lucas

David Lucas

David Lucas is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and an award-winning author/illustrator. He has published 16 self-authored picture books, translated into 12 languages, and one richly illustrated fable for older children, The Lying Carpet. His latest book, The Wonderbird (Orchard Books), is due out in October 2019.


Course structure

Day 1

10:00 – 10:45 Overview of children's book illustration (Talk)
11:00 – 13:00 Picture-writing & storytelling drawing (Workshop)
14:00 – 15:30 Finding your line (Workshop)
15:30 – 16:00 Choosing a narrative to illustrate (Discussion)


Day 2

10:00 – 10:45 Character creation (Talk and demonstration)
11:00 – 13:00 Character creation (Workshop)
14:00 – 16:00  Developing a story-world (Workshop)


Day 3

10:00 – 10:45 Planning a sequence of images (Talk and demonstration)
11:00 – 13:00 Creating thumbnail sketches (Workshop)
14:00 – 16:00 Creating thumbnail sketches (Workshop)


Day 4

10:00 – 10:45  Colour, tone, and contrast (Talk and demonstration)
11:00 – 13:00 Paper cut-out/collage characters (Workshop)
14:00 – 16:00 Paper cut-out/collage scenes (Workshop)


Day 5

10:00 – 10:45 Intro to Painting (Talk and demonstration)
11:00 – 13:00 Painting characters (Workshop)
14:00 – 16:00 Painting scenes (Workshop)


Day 6

10:00 – 10:45 Presenting your work & next steps (Talk and demonstration)
11:00 – 13:00 Assembling a sequence of images/making a handmade book (Workshop)                           
14:00 – 16:00 Reviewing the course (Discussion)

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will have:

  • gained a broad overview of children's illustration styles
  • found a unique graphic handwriting/signature style
  • developed character creation/world-building skills
  • gained confidence using a range of traditional media
  • developed skills in page design, and planning a sequence of images
  • created a sequence of illustrations to a single narrative, presented as a handmade book

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