Course dates

Online teaching

We are now offering many of our courses online due to the developing Covid-19 situation. Continue learning with us by taking courses remotely via live distance learning.

Starting date, Monday 17 Feb 2020
9:30am - 4:30pm | 5 days

Course overview

On this intensive five-day course led by award-winning children's author-illustrator David Lucas, you will develop new confidence in classic illustration techniques, and create a bold and imaginative sequence of images to illustrate a narrative of your choice.

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

The Times

It was brilliant – David was excellent, really bespoke and took the time to deal with everyone individually focussing on everyone’s own project with great care.

Lewis Barton, participant, February 2020

This course offers a wide-ranging exploration of children's book illustration techniques, focusing on traditional media. Before starting the course, you are expected to have chosen a narrative you want to illustrate – this can be a picture book text or novel, either a well-known text or a self-authored story.

Each day will begin with a short talk and discussion. The rest of the day will be spent in 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, students will be led through the basics of storytelling drawing, learning to create appealing, engaging characters in vividly-imagined worlds.

You will evolve your work through three stages – sketches, thumbnails and final artwork – through workshops on collage and watercolour painting. You will also receive tips on page design and the use of colour, tone, and contrast.

The course will end with an opportunity to share insights and present work to the group, with expert guidance on next steps in the industry. By the end of the five-day course, you will have assembled your own sequence of original images, including sketches, thumbnails, and a final piece of artwork.

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, practised 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. If you require adjustments, please complete the relevant section on the booking form and also contact us at so we can respond to your requests as soon as possible. 

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

Starting date, Monday 17 Feb 2020
9:30am - 4:30pm | 5 days


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

For information on our upcoming short courses please sign up to our mailing list.

Tutor information

David Lucas

David Lucas

David Lucas is an award-winning author-illustrator whose picture books have been translated into 12 languages. His latest book is The Wonderbird (Orchard Books) published in October 2019.


Course structure

Day 1 (Picture-writing/Finding your line)

9.30am-10.15a – overview of children's book illustration (talk/discussion)
10.15am-10.45a – choosing a narrative to illustrate (discussion)
11.00am-1.00p – finding your line: picture-writing & storytelling drawing (workshop)
2.00pm-4.00p – character creation (workshop)

Day 2 (Imaginative story-worlds)

9.30am-10.45a – picture space and imaginative worlds (talk/discussion)
11.00am-1.00p – developing an imaginative story-world (workshop)
2.00pm-4.00p – developing an imaginative story-world (workshop)

Day 3 (Colour, tone, and contrast)

9.30am-10.45a – colour, tone and contrast (talk/discussion)
11.00am-1.00p – paper cutout/ collage (workshop)
2.00pm-4.00p – watercolour (workshop)

Day 4 (Sequencing image/Making a dummy book)

9.30am-10.45a – planning a sequence of images (talk/discussion)
11.00am-1.00p – creating thumbnail sketches (workshop)
2.00pm-4.00p – creating a dummy book (workshop)

Day 5 (Final artwork and tips on presentation)

9.30am-10.45a – creating final artwork (workshop)
11.00am-1.00p – creating final artwork (workshop)
2.00pm-3.00p – presenting your work & next steps (talk/discussion)
3.00pm-4.00p – review of 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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