Best children’s book illustration classes: Learn how to illustrate for young readers

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Is there anything more delightful than flipping through the pages of a children’s book and taking in the gorgeous illustrations? 

From delicately drawn woodland creatures to snazzy digitalized characters, the realm of storybook illustrations is one of broad possibilities and ultimate imagination. 

Brought to life through so many different mediums and visual languages, this art form is one of the most appreciated among illustrators.  

If you’d like to explore this niche further, check the best children’s book illustration classes presented in our guide! 

Affiliate disclosure: Articles on Tiny Workshops may contain affiliate links.

How to choose the best children’s book illustration class for you

As you read through our list of children’s book illustration classes, you’ll quickly realize how versatile this craft it.

The courses outlined in this guide can be found on Domestika, Skillshare, Craftsy, and Udemy — some of the top online learning platforms out there currently!

So, which course is best for you?

We suggest you take the following points into account before moving forward:

  • Prices, subscription plans, and content access conditions per platform
  • Availability of required materials 
  • Course duration 
  • Skill level and which mediums you want to experiment with
  • Language options that best suit you 
  • Class projects and additional resources provided by each instructor

Keeping this in mind, scroll down to choose which one of the listed children’s book illustration classes is right for you! 

Best children’s book illustration classes

Ready to start creating? Continue reading and sign up for one or more of the children’s book illustration classes laid out below!

Introduction to Children’s Illustration

Introduction to children's illustration classes

Teacher: Adolfo Serra
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 13 Lessons (2h 39m)
Audio: Spanish
Subtitles: Yes

During this Domestika course, your teacher Adolfo Serra will teach you the fundamentals of creating children’s book illustrations from an editorial standpoint. 

From basic sketching drills to more advanced techniques, this class will equip you with an in-depth look into the relationship between words and images. Adolfo will refer to traditional tales to exemplify how you can develop technique and visual concepts.

You’ll experiment with three different illustration styles: ink, monotype, and collage. The class project will include developing an illustration using each as the starting point for your personal project. 

By signing up for a Domestika Plus subscription, you’ll be able to enjoy discounts on course bundles, allowing you to purchase this course along with similar classes on the platform at great value.

You also get a course of your choice to keep every month, which means you can get this one for less than $10, even when it’s not on sale!

Other favorites for starters are Illustration Techniques for Children’s BooksIllustration for Children’s Books: Creating a Joyful Universe, and Illustrated Children’s Books: Create a Unique Story!

Children’s Book Illustration: Discover Your Style

Children's book illustration classes discover your style

Teacher: Anne Catharine Blake
Platform: Skillshare
Level: Beginner

Duration: 8 Lessons (23m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: CC (English)

Skillshare hosts this introductory course; a fantastic place to start if you’re still trying to find your voice as a children’s book illustrator! 

Anne Catharine Blake will guide you through an effective brainstorming process to identify your personal style, strengths, and what makes you unique as an artist.

Step by step, you’ll create a style road map composed of self-discovery exercises to help you define your next move as an illustrator. 

These drills will include identifying shapes that come naturally to you, patterns/textures you tend to favor, and color palettes and themes you find most inspiring.

To take this class, sign up for Skillshare’s yearly subscription or test out the platform’s free one-month trial by clicking the link below! 

Children’s Illustration: From Storyboard to Picturebook

Storyboarding for children's book illustration classes

Teacher: Rafael Yockteng
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 16 Lessons (2h 47m)
Audio: Spanish
Subtitles: Yes

While developing artistic skill and personal style is crucial to succeed in the world of children’s book illustration, the way you organize your work is equally fundamental! 

Rafael Yockteng stars in this Domestika course and will inspire you to incorporate storyboarding as part of your creative process. Although storyboarding is a meticulous process that requires technique and discipline, it’s easy to learn and very effective. 

Your teacher will remind you that readers must be able to interpret a story not only through a textual narrative, but also through the images that complement it. You’ll learn the main rules of storyboarding, practice sketching, study narrative sequences, and create links between text and images.

Because storyboarding is a great way to present your work, we also highly recommend these thorough Domestika courses to help you set up your portfolio for future creative pitches: Online Portfolio for Children’s Book Illustrators and Building a Portfolio for a Career in Children’s Illustration.

Character Creation for Illustrated Books with Watercolor

Character creation for illustrated books with watercolors

Teacher: Lorenzo Sangío
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 14 Lessons (2h 11m)
Audio: Italian
Subtitles: Yes

Once you’ve established a thorough understanding of this craft and figured out your preferred style, it’s time to bring your characters to life! 

During this Domestika course, Lorenzo Sangio will show you how to breathe life into your characters by using delicate color schemes and watercolors.

Because children want to see themselves reflected in the stories they love, Lorenzo points out how important it is to create characters that feel relatable, credible, and exciting.

For your class project, you’ll be following specific guidelines to develop your watercolor protagonist based on personality traits, facial expressions, and body postures. To complete your artwork, you’ll add final touches to your illustration with Photoshop!

If you want to try out more character watercolor-inspired courses on Domestika, Watercolor Illustration for Children’s Stories is a great class to look into. Need the right materials to get started? Check out our picks for the best watercolor sets and watercolor blocks!

Animal Characters in Watercolor for Children’s Books

Animal characters in watercolor children's book illustration classes

Teacher: Julie Mellan
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 18 Lessons (3h 16m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes

Taught by Julie Mellan, this Domestika course is one of the cutest on our list of children’s book illustration classes! Lighthearted and simply adorable, this course focuses specifically on creating furry anamorphic characters with watercolors.

Boasting years of experience with renowned publishers such as Penguin Random House, Julie will teach you how to doodle thumbnails, sketch ideas, and apply specific watercoloring techniques to enliven your creations.   

You’ll learn about color schemes and contrasting, how to avoid bumps on paper, and perfect brush strokes. A highlight of this class is learning how to sequence drawing body postures before adding facial expressions onto your creatures. 

To conclude your project, you’ll scan and edit your illustration on Photoshop and use social media to share your art! If you appreciate the digital aspect of this course, then you might also enjoy Domestika’s Wildlife Illustration for Children’s Books — it’s taught in English too!

Drawing Children for Picture Books

Drawing children for picture books children's book illustration classes

Teacher: Ann Thomas
Platform: Craftsy
Level: All levels

Duration: 6 Lessons (1h 45m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: CC (English)

As mentioned in one of the previous children’s book illustration classes on this list, children love to see themselves portrayed in the stories they cherish. And this Craftsy class taught by Ann Thomas will show you how to get it done!

You’ll learn how to convey the energy, physical features, and personalities of children through your illustrations. Brainstorming ideas, studying references, thumbnail sketching, and learning proportion and scaling are included activities. 

Contouring, creating shapes, and adding human-like expressions and body language to your characters will also be covered. An interesting skill you’ll learn is how to use watercolors to create realistic skin tones for your characters. 

Looking for more fantasy-driven character illustration? Fantastical Character Illustration for Children’s Books on Domestika is a great way to complement this Craftsy class. 

Creating Characters for Children’s Stories with Procreate

Creating characters for children's stories with Procreate

Teacher: Jimena S. Sarquiz
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 18 Lessons (3h 56m)
Audio: Spanish
Subtitles: Yes

In this Domestika course for beginners, you’ll be using the trendiest art app out there to create memorable illustrations for children —previous experience is not required! 

During this class, your teacher Jimena S. Sarquiz will demonstrate how you can use Procreate to create awesome characters and settings for children’s stories.

Of course, that means you’ll need an iPad. Check out our picks for the best iPads for Procreate to see which one fits your budget. Trust me, it’s worth it for serious illustrators.

Throughout these lessons, Jimena will help you develop a mood board and propose a class project. And it’s super cool: you’ll be illustrating a character — and their imaginary friend! 

You’ll experiment with the app’s features to draw body shapes and three-dimensional objects, create perspective grids to create backgrounds, play with color, and use brushes to add highlight and shadow effects. 

Other sought-after Procreate children’s book illustration classes on Domestika include Magical Realism for Children’s Illustration and Professional Children’s Book Illustration with Procreate

Illustrate a Children’s Book Cover in Procreate

Illustrate a children's book cover in Procreate children's book illustration classes

Teacher: Mel Armstrong
Platform: Skillshare
Level: Intermediate

Duration: 10 Lessons (47m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: CC (English)

Although we know that a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover, we also know that it can be the gateway to sparking curiosity!

Procreate artist Mel Armstrong presents this Skillshare course and will walk you through the process of illustrating captivating covers for children’s books.

For your project, you’ll be creating a book cover of your own. You’ll select a book from a provided list, and will apply your newfound skills to design a title, engage in formatting and composition techniques, and apply color theory on Procreate. 

This short intermediate class is ideal if you have previous experience with this software. As a bonus, Mel offers unlocked color palettes and shape brushes you can use for future projects! 

You may also want to check out Vintage Illustration for Engaging Children’s BooksIllustration for Children’s Book Covers, and Playful Hand-Lettering for Children’s Book Illustration on Domestika —other great suggestions if you want to further explore cover art and typography for children’s book illustrations. 

Paper Cutting Illustration: Create Extraordinary Books

Paper cutting illustration children's book illustration classes

Teacher: Paz Tamburrini
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 2 Lessons (4h 23m)
Audio: Spanish
Subtitles: Yes

Paz Tamburrini will be your mentor for this class and guarantees to spark some real childhood nostalgia with her beautifully crafted pop-up books!  

This cut-out illustration style is truly timeless and unique, therefore, an attractive challenge to step up your children’s book illustration game.

With her approachable demeanor and enthusiasm, Paz will guide you through creating a carousel book — a multi-layered accordion-folded book composed of layered dimensional scenes. 

Previous experience is not required for this course, however, basic drawing/illustration skills are recommended. This Domestika class and can be purchased individually. By doing so, you’ll have access to course content forever! 

Creation of an Illustrated Foldable Book is another fantastic course on the platform to learn out-of-the-box children’s book illustration projects! 

Linocut in Children’s Book Illustration: Create a Unique Block Print Artwork

Linocut children book illustration classes

Teacher: Anna Sokolova
Platform: Skillshare
Level: Beginner

Duration: 11 Lessons (1h 15m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: CC (English)

Top Skillshare teacher Anna Sokolova will demonstrate how to apply the art of linocutting to your illustrations in this course! 

Being one of the most unique choices on our children’s book illustration classes list, you’ll learn all about the potential of this medium. 

Anna will propose a class project during which you’ll use the classic tale of “The Ugly Duckling” for inspiration. You’ll be guided every step of the way as you sketch, compose, transfer, cut, and print your illustration.

This is an extremely inviting and thorough class, filled with detailed explanations and demonstrations which make it a great option if you want to master the art of block printing!

Children’s Book Design in PowerPoint and Google Slides

Powerpoint Google Slides children's book illustrations

Teacher: Rebecca Livermore
Platform: Udemy
Level: All levels

Duration: 33 Lessons (1h 59m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: CC (English)

The last course on our list targets creatives looking to self-publish and explore the digital space through accessible, inexpensive software.

During this Udemy course, Rebecca Livermore will show you how you can use Powerpoint and Google Slides to create two-page spreads for your children’s book!

You’ll learn how to illustrate digitally with stock images, templates, gradient backgrounds, colors, and borders to outline your pages. You’ll also learn how to manage “bleed” — when images run over the trim edge — and market your work effectively. 

Sign up for this fun Udemy class and enjoy unlimited access to this content by clicking below!

That’s it for our list of best children’s book illustration classes! Do you have any more recommendations? Let everyone know in the comments below!

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