Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book

Want to illustrate children's books? Learn the tricks of the trade from a leading professional illustrator in our online course for all-comers.


Oct 06 2022 - Nov 17 2022

Illustrate a Picture Book

Make great stories for young kids


Hosted on our bespoke learning platform

Course fee £210

Includes professional feedback on your illustrations


If you enjoy sketching for the young children in your life – or if you like coming up with stories visually rather than verbally – or if you’re an artist with an interest in children’s fiction who’s looking to shift your focus – then you may just have the makings of a children’s illustrator. Kids get excited by the Gruffalo, Charlie & Lola, the Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Wild Things long before they can read the words – it’s the artwork which first grabs their attention and pulls them in. This course demystifies that lovely mixture of childlike simplicity, technical sophistication and sheer imaginative zing that goes into the best picture book illustrations – and helps you to acquire the skills, confidence and insider information to achieve a professional standard in your own artwork for the under-6s.

In our online course, the bestselling and prolific children’s book illustrator and author Sarah McIntyre guides you through the unwritten rules of children’s picture book illustration – advising on the current market and what publishers are looking for; teaching you to recognise and build on your strengths and refine your technique; encouraging you to experiment in different media; showing you how to develop ideas and create memorable characters, and revealing some great tricks of the trade.

The course is suitable for complete beginners, but also for people who feel they need some extra know-how to succeed in finding a publisher for their work. It’s also suitable for artists and illustrators who have been working in other areas and media but now want to move into children’s book illustration – and for people who have already taken courses in illustration or in children’s fiction, whether at universities or through non-academic course providers. The Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book course is the right choice if you are looking for expert advice on creating the illustrations for picture books for the under-6’s. If your focus is on writing, take a look at our Writing a Children’s Picture Book course with David O’Connell. If you would like to develop as a writer and illustrator, you can either start off with one of these courses, and then take the other course at a later date – or you can enrol now for the combined course – Writing and Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book, which brings together the teaching materials from both courses at a discounted price.

This great learning package features teaching videos and substantial notes organised into six weekly modules designed for flexible study, so you can take part at times to suit you and from wherever in the world you are.

 ‘I’ve appreciated all the support from Curtis Brown staff and the course content has been excellent. The way it’s built up week by week has been great and now we are at the end of that process, I can really see how it’s been constructed to equip a keen but inexperienced person like me to start to peep into the world of illustration.’
Amy Skinner, former Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book student

Sarah McIntyre, Author-Illustrator

Sarah McIntyre works as an illustrator and writer from her studio in south London. Her solo picture books include There's a Shark in the Bath, Dinosaur Firefighters and The New Neighbours, and she's worked with writers such as Giles Andreae, Gillian Rogerson, and Alan MacDonald. She first got into publishing through comics, where she met her Jampires co-author David O'Connell.  These 'comic jams' eventually led to a Jampires comic, which they later took to a publisher and turned into a picture book.



Weekly Modules

A clear path to finished picture book illustrations.

Work through six weekly modules containing teaching videos and substantial notes specially written and produced by illustrator and writer Sarah McIntyre.

Dedicated Teaching Videos

Prolific children’s illustrator and writer Sarah Mcintyre guides you through the course.

Watch specially filmed, informative teaching videos, presented by Sarah McIntyre, including footage of Sarah drawing to demonstrate techniques and ideas. Each weekly module includes at least three videos.

Curtis Brown Creative learning platform forum

Student Forum

The hub of our online courses. Find your community.

Upload your completed illustrations tasks, give and receive feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.

Illustrating Tasks

Custom tasks from Sarah to help you learn practically.

Tasks will help the development of your technique, the planning of your story, the sketching of your thumbnail roughs, and the creation of pencil roughs - followed by your final illustrations.

Resources & Notes

Comprehensive teaching notes and reference materials that are yours to keep.

These include a reading list, a glossary of useful children's publishing terms, and a template showing how a children's picture book should be set out.


Get feedback from your peers and an expert CBC editor.

Each week, an author-illustrator will be viewing the work posted and offering some focused comment on a few students' work – every student will get 300 words of written feedback on their final task.


You can follow the course at your own pace, but to get the best out of this course, allow plenty of time to watch the videos, read and reflect on the notes and resources, complete the illustrating tasks, and take part in discussions in the forum.

You’ll undertake weekly practical tasks set by Sarah, designed to help you develop your illustrative techniques and progress through the stages of creating a children’s picture book: planning your story, sketching your thumbnail roughs, and the creation of your full set of preliminary drawings – followed by your final illustrations. You’ll be posting your artwork in the forums and we encourage students to offer positive, constructive feedback as the course progresses.

All students receive 300 words of written feedback on their final task from one of our expert tutors/editors.


We also offer students the option to obtain a 30-minute video or telephone tutorial with one of our tutors/editors to discuss your final task – for an additional fee of £95.

Students who would like to gain further written feedback from a CBC editor on their final illustrations may do so by sending them to the CBC team within three months of the end of the course and on payment of a further £125 fee (full information about this extra feedback service will be given to students during the course).


Each week students will gain access to a new module based on a practical picture book writing topic. Our bespoke learning platform features separate forum spaces for all six teaching topics, arranged in a clear structure that’s easy to use. Our online learning space allows students to quickly find and take part in discussions and to easily locate task materials they’d like to refer back to.



Study the market and learn from the work of other illustrators.


Inspiration and Ideas

Learn how artists find inspiration and develop ideas into a picture book.



Bring to life vivid characters and settings with your illustrations.



There are many ways to create a picture from pencil drawings and paintings to digital work. Explore different media.



Plan your story and spreads, your thumbnail sketches and preliminary drawings.


Next steps

Professional development, work on your final illustrations, creating a portfolio, and how to approach publishers and agents.


We’re excited to have you join our community of writers and illustrators. Choose your preferred option from the right-hand-side and click the ‘Pay & Enrol’ button by midnight, end of day on 6 Oct 2022. Make sure that you agree to the Terms and Conditions. If you have a discount code you can input the details at payment. You will be shown a secure credit card form for payment. Once you enrol we’ll send you a confirmation email. The day before your course begins you will receive a welcome pack explaining everything you need to know about the course.

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