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

Children's book illustration classes

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

Duration: 13 Lessons (2h 39m)
Level: Beginner

This Domestika course is a great match for newbies who want to explore this form of illustration through the lens of literary classics. 

With the help of your teacher, Adolfo Serra, you’ll learn the fundamental steps to 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. Analyzing and conceptualizing text, understanding story rhythm, and transforming words into drawings are skills you’ll learn. 

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. 

This course is taught in Spanish and provides subtitles in English. Purchase this course on Domestika and have unlimited access to content after signing up. 

Keep reading to find more children’s book illustration classes on Domestika!

Children’s Book Illustration: Discover Your Style

Children's book illustration classes discover your style

Teacher: Anne Catharine Blake
Platform: Skillshare

Duration: 8 Lessons (23m)
Level: Beginner

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 lines and shapes that come naturally to you, patterns and textures you tend to favor, color palettes and themes you find most inspiring, and books styles you’d like to explore. 

To take this class, sign up for Skillshare’s monthly/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

Duration: 16 Lessons (2h 47m)
Level: Beginner

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. 

Read also: Best storyboarding classes online for all levels

The storyboard expert 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. 

To put this concept to the test, you’ll learn the main rules to storyboarding, practice sketching, study narrative sequences, and create links between text and images.

View the class trailer on Domestika to check language options and payment details. 

Character Creation for Illustrated Books with Watercolor

Character creation for illustrated books with watercolors

Teacher: Lorenzo Sangío
Platform: Domestika

Duration: 14 Lessons (2h 11m)
Level: Beginner

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! 

For 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.

Read also: Best watercolor classes online for beginners and up

To meet this expectation, for your class project you’ll be referring to specific brief points given to you by your teacher, to create a character with watercolors. You’ll develop a general concept of your protagonist based on personality traits, facial expressions, and body postures.

To complete your work, you’ll be encouraged to digitize your work on Photoshop to bring your work to pro level!

Animal Characters in Watercolor for Children’s Books

Animal characters in watercolor children's book illustration classes

Teacher: Julie Mellan
Platform: Domestika

Duration: 18 Lessons (3h 16m)
Level: Beginner

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, transfer them to watercolor paper, and apply specific watercoloring techniques to enliven your creations.   

Read also: Best watercolor sets: Beginner, professional, and traveler sets

You’ll learn about color schemes and contrasting, how to avoid bumps on paper, and perfect solid and texturized strokes as you work. 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 receive lots of tips on how to use social media to share your work! 

Drawing Children for Picture Books

Drawing children for picture books children's book illustration classes

Teacher: Ann Thomas
Platform: Craftsy

Duration: 6 Lessons (1h 45m)
Level: All levels

As mentioned on one of the previous children’s book illustration classes on this list, children love to see themselves portrayed in the stories they cherish.

This particular class is featured on Craftsy and taught by Ann Thomas, who will show you how to draw children for picture books. 

If this is one of your goals, here 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. 

Read also: 10 best online course platforms for creatives

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. 

Along with this, you’ll also find a comprehensive supply list and additional resources to complement your learning experience. 

Craftsy offers several paying options including individual class purchases or monthly/yearly subscriptions.

Creating Characters for Children’s Stories with Procreate

Creating characters for children's stories with Procreate

Teacher: Jimena S. Sarquiz
Platform: Domestika

Duration: 18 Lessons (3h 56m)
Level: Beginner

In this Domestika course you’ll be using the trendiest art app out there to create memorable illustrations for children! 

During this class, your teacher Jimena S. Sarquiz will demonstrate how you can work with an iPad Pro and Procreate to create awesome characters and settings for children’s stories. Being a beginners course, previous experience with these devices isn’t necessary, however, having access to these tools is required. 

Read also: Domestika English courses: All English-language courses

Throughout these lessons, Jimena will share her personal references for inspiration, help you develop a mood board, and will propose a class project. The project will consist of 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 coloring tools, and use brushes to form highlight and shadow effects. 

This course is originally taught in Spanish but can be viewed with English subtitles! 

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

Duration: 10 Lessons (47m)
Level: Intermediate

This is another Procreate suggestion on our children’s book illustration classes list, now focusing on cover art! 

Passionate Procreate user Mel Armstrong presents this Skillshare course and will walk you through the process of illustrating captivating covers for children books. 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!

Read also: Best Procreate classes online: Explore the potential of digital art

For your project, Mel will challenge you to make a book cover of your own. You’ll select a book from a provided list, and with the skills grasped during the course, you’ll design a title, consider format, use composition techniques, and apply color theory on Procreate. 

Short in duration, this intermediate class is ideal for those with previous Procreate experience. As a bonus, Mel offers unlocked color palettes and shape brushes you can use for future projects! 

Paper Cutting Illustration: Create Extraordinary Books

Paper cutting illustration children's book illustration classes

Teacher: Paz Tamburrini
Platform: Domestika

Duration: 2 Lessons (4h 23m)
Level: Beginner

The following courses on our children’s book illustration classes guide will inspire out-of-the-box thinking! 

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

Read also: 15 best Domestika courses in English (plus 5 in Spanish)

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. English subtitles are available for this Domestika class and can be purchased individually. By doing so, you’ll have access to course content forever! 

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

Linocut children book illustration classes

Teacher: Anna Sokolova
Platform: Skillshare

Duration: 11 Lessons (1h 15m)
Level: Beginner

Top Teacher Anna Sokolova will demonstrate how to apply the art of linocutting to your illustrations in this Skillshare 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. 

Read also: Best linocut and woodcut artists to follow on Instagram

Anna will propose a class project during which you’ll use the classic tale of “The Ugly Duckling” as the narrative for your 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 course, 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

Duration: 33 Lessons (1h 59m)
Level: All levels

The last course on our list is targeted to 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!

Read also: Best Udemy alternatives: Learn new skills online

By attending, you’ll learn how to develop illustrations using stock images, page templates, gradient backgrounds, colors, and borders to outline your work. You’ll also learn about how to manage “bleed” — when images run over the trim edge — and market your work. 

Sign up for this fun Udemy class and enjoy unlimited access to its content!

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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