Explore all possibilities by considering age, size, proportion, gender, groups, experimenting with animal, anthropomorphic and human characters.
Using story arc's and page breaks to effect the pace, rhythm and flow of your visual story. Learn page layout techniques considering both text and image.
Explore illustration techniques and styles, learn how to set up master guides and how to use sample sheets before completing your finished artwork.
By the end of this course, you’ll have the tools and resources to expand ideas, design characters, develop storyboards with the confidence and skillset to work as a children’s picture book illustrator.
Week 1 you will write your illustration plan and join the online community. You will also get familiar with the picture book market while learning the physical mechanics of a picture book from layout, format and the things that you need to consider before starting work on your story.
Week 2 explores character, considering age, size and proportion, groups, experimenting with animal, anthropomorphic and human possibilities and learning how to keep out of the uncanny-valley.
Week 3 is designing character maps using wire-frame techniques.
Week 4 is all about thumbnails, and how the story arc, page-breaks affect the pace, rhythm and flow of your story.
Week 5 you will work in a larger storyboard format, considering page layout and proportions, text and image placement and adding detail to character and setting.
Week 6 you will learn how to make a dummy book.
Week 7 you will learn how to set up master guides for your final illustration, and explore illustration techniques using sample sheets.
Week 8 is all about ‘What next?’, getting your work out there, your portfolio, gathering support, submitting work, self publishing and money.
"Florence Fox Goes To School is a bit of a personal letter to my mischievous daughter – they do say ‘write about what you know’! It’s also a fun tale with a strong female lead and few hidden messages – perhaps the pros and cons of fitting in, feeling a little bit at odds with the world and, most definitely, the importance of egg and cheese sandwiches."
Being self-paced you can study at your own pace according to your own learning style and interests.
If you choose to complete PBIC in 8-weeks, you will need to schedule time...
- to watch two video's lessons per week, (a video lesson and a video demonstration) averaging 10-30-mins each.
- for your weekly library visit.
- for project work. I'd suggest clearing 6-12 hours per week, depending on how fast your work and how much effort you want to put into each project.
You will have life-time access to all of the PBIC videos.
There are 8 lessons in the course. Along with the first set-up and introduction session.
It can take anywhere between 3-months and 3-years to illustrate a story, so I don’t expect you to finish a picture book in the 8-weeks. Instead, look at this course as an opportunity to get a real understanding of your story. To expand ideas, map out characters, develop a storyboard, to build your skill-set and confidence as an illustrator and to connect with a like-minded community.
The most exciting thing about picture books is that they offer a wide variety of styles and techniques. Across the 8-weeks, I’ll be encouraging you to gather inspiration from a wide variety of sources to help you discover (or solidify) your own visual ‘voice’.
Whether your style is naive, emotive, graphic or cartoon-like, I encourage you to celebrate you, and to bring this to your story. During the course, I’ll be drawing and demonstrating with my style – because that’s what I’m most comfortable with. If you’re still in the process of exploring illustrations styles, you may find your work influenced by mine as your work through the lessons and projects. This is perfectly natural, and it’s all a part of the learning process. Eventually, as you gain more confidence you’ll learn ways to translate what I teach and make it your own.
You don't need to join the online community to take part in this course. However, the key to success for many participants has been the online community.
Once registered, you’ll be invited to join the online Facebook community, where you'll be encouraged to share your course-work and engage with fellow participants.
The Picture Book Illustration e-Course is open to all levels. It’s designed to allow you to take your individual skill set and build on that. This course is the perfect accompaniment for your creative project, designed to keep you on track, expand your story ideas and offer support while you to develop your skills and picture book project.
You can choose to work on your own manuscript however, I would recommend working on the course manuscript "Florence Fox Goes To School" by Ben Whittacker-Cook for these reasons.
If you are new to picture book illustration, you can use this time to focus on process and methods.
It will be easier for you to relate as my demonstrations and feedback will be using the "Florence Fox Goes To School" manuscript.
Once you have the hang of illustrating a picture book using the course manuscript, you can retake the course as many times as you like using your own manuscripts.
"During PBIC, I learned 'the formula' to create vibrant and successful picture books. Since the course, my first picture book is due to be published this year. I am currently working on concepts for a second picture book with two further manuscripts waiting in the wings. Nina’s brilliantly structured and detailed course helped me realise my skills and gave me confidence to take the step into the world of picture books. I will be forever grateful."
"Nina’s lesson showing how to use wire frames literally changed my drawing technique. I started seeing natural placement for joints and body proportions."
"The character design process really helped me with designing Florence. I’m not used to creating human characters and working with Nina and fellow participants I realised that the same principle that I use for my animal and bird characters could be transferred to human characters. It’s the little touches in a character that make the difference, the scraped knee, the untied shoelaces, all the little quirks that make up an animal also make a person. This course allowed me to make mistakes and keep pushing until I had a Florence [character] that I could imagine meeting and talking to on the street and possibly rolling my eyes at as she buried my sandwiches."
"Picture book illustration has been a dream of mine for a very long time. Nina was a wonderful instructor who shared her knowledge and experience and took us through the process of illustrating a picture book from beginning to end, through very clear video tutorials. The online community was an invaluable part of the course and provided opportunities for learning from each other beyond many of our original expectations. It has been a life changing."