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How to Manifest your Dream Illustrated Children’s Book (Free Download)


Here’s a free downloadable quiz I made especially for you. The idea is to get you thinking in a playful way about what your very own Illustrated Children’s book might look like. You might be surprised to find out how you can connect with this vast and lucrative market.

Hope you enjoy the quiz!

Be sure to post your results on Instagram. Follow us at @makeartthatsells and include the hashtag #makeartthatsells and #matskidbook so we can see your results!

I made the quiz to help you get ready for our highly regarded course, ‘Illustrating Children’s Books‘ which starts Monday, October 2.

I co-teach the course with brilliant art director, Zoe Tucker, and in five weeks, we’ll guide you step by step to create your own fantastic children’s book presentation which you can then pitch to art directors.

***Facebook LIVE: Today, September 21 at 11 am Boston time (EDT)***

Join Lilla on our public Facebook page HERE. The topic is: Manifest Your Dream Illustrated Children’ Book

 

Children’s book spread, created in class by Anna Berger

Children’s book spread, created in class by Kathryn Durst

 

Ready to dive in and make a commitment to your success as a children’s book illustrator? Sign up HERE. Hurry! This class is almost full!

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Transform your art career and Make Art That Sells. Registration is open for Illustrating Children’s Books (starts October, 2nd).

6 Fabulous tips: Illustrating a children’s book


 

What’s amazing about our children’s book illustration course is how our students’ work blossoms over the five jam-packed weeks. I love to teach our intensive courses for exactly that reason. The passion and achievement of our students are awe inspiring. What kind of children’s book would you like to make?

Today I’m going to show you student work from Week 4 of Illustrating Children’s Books which I co-teach with the very fun and highly respected children’s book art director, Zoë Tucker.

The theme of Week 4 is Environment. Students are tasked with creating a scene from their text. At this point they have already developed their character and now they get to place their character in a setting.

TIP 1: Make a magical little world with lots of details that the child can explore over and over again, as Maria has done here. Doing research is a great way of making the illustration that much richer.

Maria Lillebo copy

Maria Lillebo

TIP 2: Think about how your characters interact with one another in the scene. Employ movement and expressions to bring the pages to life. See how the characters connect with eye contact? Kids might not always understand the words being read to them, but they tend to understand facial expressions.

Edit Hajdu copy

Edit Hajdu

TIP 3: If appropriate, capture an emotional interaction. Here, Deborah used lighting very effectively to create a poignant moment.

Deborah Melmon copy

Deborah Melmon

TIP 4: Vary the layout of your pages to add interest. Here, it’s fun to view the step-by-step series that Emily created to highlight the concept of saving money for a trip.

Emily Mackenzie-Shapland2 copy

Emily Mackenzie-Shapland

TIP 5: Think beyond the obvious. For the character’s home, Fay created a very cool pink food truck as the character’s residence!

Fay Ford copy

Fay Ford

TIP 6: Add playful details, such as the kitchen items that Katy has drawn here.

Katy Halford copy

Katy Halford

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Want to see more? Check out the most recent Student Showcase on our blog from last week. I think you’ll enjoy reading about our students’ experiences in class and their successes. You’ll see why our students are getting signed for book deals.

Want to make your own winning children’s book illustration pitch? Sign up today and let Zoë and me help you. See you in class!

Xo
Lilla

P. S. Have you already taken Illustrating Children’s Books? (or one of our other classes?) and are interesting in repeating the course to hone your pitch even further? Take advantage of our generous ALUMNI DISCOUNT! Email [email protected]thatsells.com to take advantage of the substantial savings with your alumni discount

Save the date: On Thursday, September 21 at 11am Boston time (EDT) Lilla will be hosting a special Facebook Live on our main Make Art That Sells Facebook page. The topic is: Manifest Your Dream Illustrated Children’s book and look out for your free PDF download in our newsletter on Thursday.

 

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Illustrating Children’s Books Student Showcase part 5 {Jan 2017 class}


We are so proud of our wonderful Make Art That Sells alumni and are pleased to showcase a series of gorgeous student work that was produced in the previous session of the Illustrating Children’s Books class.

bookyourplacenow

***

Devon Holzwarth

 

My “Sussex Seagull Gang” came from a really lovely part of the course (during week 4/5 – Poses) where I had pushed myself so far into my characters and the story that I was able to imagine the world around them. The gulls came out so freely, like they were waiting for me to draw them. I had the best laughs while adding all their little accessories and thinking of their personalities and how they’d interact. It was one of my most fun moments in creating the story’s characters and affirmed I should follow my curiosity when little ideas pop into mind.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I’ve taken the ICB course twice (and may take it again) and each time have been able to draw more of myself out into my work. Being a part of a supportive and crazy talented group of artists, as well as the brilliance and guidance of Lilla and Zoë creates an environment where one can take risks and grow in their skills and confidence. I know I certainly have.

What did you discover about yourself?
After taking the first ICB class I began to remember my 7 year old self, and how I had wanted to make picture books my entire life, but had always shelved the idea as I didn’t know how to go about it. Since taking the class the second time it’s been nothing but focusing on what it takes to be a picture book maker/author. My inner 7 year old is so happy!

How would you describe the course to a friend?
The course is a way to learn an enormous amount of ins & outs of the children’s book world from amazing art director Zoë, and creative genius Lilla, as well as create work that is fresh and perfect for your children’s book portfolio. And of course be able to connect with other artists that will possibly also become your friends – all in the flash of 5 weeks.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

 

***

Michelle Scott Illustration |  Dotsofpaint Studios

Illustrating the Cover Design was my favorite week. This was my favorite illustration to paint because we were to tell the story by hinting at it’s essence, not to give it away entirely. My solution was to portray the two main character’s relationship as best I could – simply playful and fun. It was my intention to capture the love they have for each other. And in addition, to hopefully to make a parent or child want to open it up to find out more about the story inside!
Your answers to the following:

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
The Illustrating Children’s Book course taught me how to break down a project into little baby steps. It got me not to worry so much about it being perfect at the beginning, just to play and have fun creating. I mean there’s always room to improve later, right?

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that I like to make a story come alive. I found that I really enjoy creating a character by a simple description, making things up about them and really just letting my imagination take control.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
I would tell a friend that this course will open your eyes to the whole children’s book market. The inside information I gained was so impressive – full of details on character design, expressions, poses – more than any other classes I’ve taken in the past. You’ll learn tips of the trade and receive advice from some of the best art directors in the industry. It truly makes you ready to pitch your art and ideas to children’s book publishers.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook 

***

Alisa Coburn


I’ve included a page of Norman poses. I really enjoyed the challenge of making a booby bird into a likeable character. It was really quite tricky. Sharp beaks definitely don’t lend themselves immediately to a sweet persona. And a body that is graceful in the air and gawky on land is an interesting problem too. In the end I thought I would play with the way Norman walks, which is a delightful waddle and really helps show a little of his vunerability.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I found the industry content incredibly valuable. Zoe’s take on things from an art directors perspective, the pitching process and Lilla’s eye for design – all so enlightening! I feel a little more savvy about the business side of things and from now on I will approach things imagining a mini Zoe sitting on one shoulder and a mini Lilla on the other to whisper advice and add the balance of story expression and design to my work.

What did you discover about yourself?
That I love a challenge and when I push myself Im alway surprised and refreshed by the outcome.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
This course is brilliant! It’ll take you places you’ve never been before. You will be changed by it.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

Louise van der Merwe


I selected the image from Week 2, expressions to submit as my favourite. I distinctly remember how I smiled while I was illustrating Junko, I felt a connection to her emotions and expressions as she came to life.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
The ICB class helped me grow both personally and professionally. The course guided me through a series of smaller building blocks to bring you to a point of a well developed character within a specific context. Feeling overwhelmed was systematically replaced with a confidence in my ability to create.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that you can grow much more than you anticipated in a short number of weeks. I also learnt that what you put in is what you will get out. As a mother of 3 young children I was happy to learn how to schedule creative time into my week.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
Fun. Practical. Insightful. Inspirational. Totally worth it.

See more work here: Instagram

***

Sandrine Monnier

I made this illustration for week 1 (characters). It was really fun to create this character with his favorites things.

The mini was to draw accessories for the main character. Drawing accessories for him allowed me shape his personality and this helped me for the following weeks.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I learnt how important is expression and body langage. Now, I spies people in the street to look and their attitude and expression and try to draw them.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that I love to draw characters and to make them lives and that my imagination can suit to children book.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
If you take this course you will have both technical and valuable information on the making of a children book and how to improve your illustration skills to make it. Zoe Tucker and Lilla Rogers are two great teachers who complement each other perfectly. If you want to illustrate children book this course is for you!

See more work here: Website | Instagram

 ***

Annabel Collis

I enjoyed exploring different poses that conveyed the relationship between the main characters in the story.
How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
The class helped me develop as an illustrator, as it encouraged me to draw every day, and explore new ideas. It also made me more aware of opportunities and new ways of advertising my work. The online community was very encouraging.
What did you discover about yourself?
The more I draw, the more my art improves, and the course helped spark my imagination.
How would you describe the course to a friend?
Very inspiring and motivating, helps you develop your own style.  Gives you an up to date view of illustration today, with lots of useful tips about marketing your work. Very supportive. Good to get feedback.  I Highly recommend the course.
See more work here: Website
***
Do you dream of illustrating a children’s book?  Would you love to create a magical world with characters that you’ve designed? Do you love the magic of children’s books and feel that you have something to offer? Then this course is for you.
matsD-banner-h02650

In five weeks, you’ll create a brilliant children’s book pitch to help you land your dream children’s book gig. You’ll get over 20 videos, weekly assignments, live weekly video reviews, interviews with publishers and illustrators and more. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited! Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

bookyourplacenow

Illustrating Children’s Books Student Showcase part 4 {Jan 2017 class}


We are so proud of our wonderful Make Art That Sells alumni and are pleased to showcase a series of gorgeous student work that was produced in the previous session of the Illustrating Children’s Books class.

bookyourplacenow

***

Sofia Moore

My favorite week was week #5 “Cover design” for the Ted Tingley story.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I felt like it was my most successful week because I was able to see how my skills to illustrate had been improved by the end of the course. And in general, I keep taking this class (again in October) because I am still establishing my style as an illustrator and Lilla’s class helps tremendously to grow and evolve in the shortest time. I can’t wait to see where the next class will take me! As I feel little more confident about my painting and drawing techniques, I want to create stronger pieces for my portfolio that looks consistent.

What did you discover about yourself?
What I discovered about myself that I am in love with illustrating stories.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
I would describe the course as a big push in a right direction, it is filled with motivation, support from the Facebook community and Lilla’s advise.

See more work here: Website | Instagram 

***

Anke Rega | Studio Keregan


I took this class because I’ve been asked so many times if I could imagine doing children books. I could.. but I had no clue how to start. This class lead me through developing a character, emotions, poses, environment and cover. I never did a character like this before so I discovered a whole new world. I learned tons of everything, specially about emotions and poses and how to show it. This is my favorite assignment as I feel I learned the most in the two weeks of emotion and then poses. So during this time something clicked. I love this page because it shows Norman (the given character) in so many ways. and I somehow fell in love to have a new companion.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
It helped me to grow in so many ways. First the daily sketchbook prompt kept me drawing every day, the minis and assignments as well. It was a lot of input but so interesting, I wished I could have had 48 hours a day to look at everything and draw more. I started work for the assignments in chunks to not get overwhelmed and it showed me how to structure everything to start working on a children’s book.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered I can do a character and make it move, that was most exciting.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
The course is so inspiring and makes you grow so much. You get to develop your own picture book after a chosen given story and are led through five great weeks from character to the cover of a book. It’s tons of knowledge, the teachers Lilla and Zoe are great people to learn from, plus you have a great community of artists online around. Its a very intense time, so your usual day life might have to wait a bit but in exchange of what you get and grow it’s so much worth every minute and second of it. Just do it.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

***

Tanja Stephani |  L’ art qui rit

My favourite Image from the course is the book cover I learned graphic design a long time ago and that’s the dessert of every work to make a cover.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I had a lot of really great artists around me in the group so It was kind of learning not to be jealous to stay by yourself but also to work hard and go on my limits .

What did you discover about yourself?
That I have to work much harder and learn to love my art more, and that Im not only the one who can draw haha…..

How would you describe the course to a friend?
If you do this course, a new world starts to grow, you will see everything with other eyes, you will knew wonderful people around the world and It works, a friend of mine already make a book!

See more work here: Website 

***

Diana Ortscheid

This is my favourite image since I loved seeing the characters grow with the emotions that I gave them with new facial expressions and body language and had them to interact with each other and hopefully with the text. I really felt I learned so much during week 2 of the course.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I learned that by giving my art that extra time and thought it will have so much more to give the viewer in the end.

What did you discover about yourself?
That my weaknesses is depth and color, this is something I’m now really trying to get better at. I also learned the great importance of collecting my material in a more tidy and professional way and not to be too sparse.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
Incredibly fun, challenging and above all, very instructive. You seriously never want it to end – I SIMPLY LOVED IT!

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook 

 

***

Brenda Figueroa

My image corresponds to the “Poses” week. I really enjoyed working on my characters and playing with it in a wide range of poses and expressions. I discovered that the more I drew my character, the better I got to “know” him and his personality.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?

The class helped me see how big the possibilities in the children’s books market are. Zoe’s classes helped me have a clearer insight on how the art director chooses an illustrator and guides them throughout the book creation process. I also found Lilla’s and Zoe’s advice on how to approach art directors and publishing houses very useful!

What did you discover about yourself?

I discovered that I really enjoy creating and bringing characters “to life”, and that I also enjoy working with traditional techinques, and exploring new media.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

The ICB course is a great way to learn through 5 steps all about creating a character and picture book cover pitch. You can also get invaluable information about the children’s book market, and see it through the eyes of a wonderful art director and a terrific artist’s agent.

See more work here: Website| Instagram | Facebook

***

Do you dream of illustrating a children’s book?  Would you love to create a magical world with characters that you’ve designed? Do you love the magic of children’s books and feel that you have something to offer? Then this course is for you.
matsD-banner-h02650

In five weeks, you’ll create a brilliant children’s book pitch to help you land your dream children’s book gig. You’ll get over 20 videos, weekly assignments, live weekly video reviews, interviews with publishers and illustrators and more. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited! Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

bookyourplacenow

Illustrating Children’s Books Student Showcase part 3 {Jan 2017 class}


We are so proud of our wonderful Make Art That Sells alumni and are pleased to showcase a series of gorgeous student work that was produced in the previous session of the Illustrating Children’s Books class.

bookyourplacenow

***

Kate Merritt

Week five was the ‘Cover’ assignment and it was my favourite because it was a culmination of everything I had learn’t over the whole course.
Here is Ruby and Norman walking along the beach wall, hand in hand.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
The ICB course helped me grow so much. When you look at the work I was doing at the beginning it’s so different to the end.
I learn’t how to break down each step eg: Building characters, their expressions, poses, the environment, covers and how important it is to see the connection between the characters. I learn’t how to use a limited colour palette and how neutrals really add some sophistication to your work.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered that if I take smaller steps I feel a lot less overwhelmed and that the facebook group and seeing the work of others really makes me try harder and up my game. I’ve also learn’t that I can do things I thought I couldn’t or always shied away from, like drawing profiles and lots of different expressions.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
I would say it’s the best investment in your career that you will ever make! It’s totally intense (in a good way) 😊 and it’s all I thought about for five weeks, but it’s really given me a clearer understanding of what Art Directors like to see. The course is broken down into manageable sections and the highlight of the week is the review which is so informative and inspirational. I loved meeting other artists in the Facebook group and found them really supportive and comforting as we were all going through the same process.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

Pat Scheurich

My favorite image from week two with Norman and Ruby. I like it because Ruby is caring, but still a little unknown to Norman which is why she isn’t all visible. He is shy with her.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
This class was helpful because it broke down the steps it takes to create illustrations for children’s books. It also helped me realize that every drawing style can work, with the right publisher. Every day drawing really pushed me to a better level of my art and made me analize what I do in a different light.

What did you discover about yourself?
Taking proffessional classes really refreshes me! It’s like any business where you do continuing education. It’s a must for our calling. I discovered that I can draw well, but I need to put character into my subjects and loosen up a bit!

How would you describe the course to a friend?
I would describe the course as a very intensive look at the children’s book publishing market with an organized method of working on all the aspects necessary to publish, as well as being fun and having lots of inspiration from other students.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

***

Christine Philbrick | Dogfoolery Studios

 

My favorite week of MATS Illustrating Children’s Book was “Poses” week! We had by this time developed our character’s look and emotional expressions, and it was so much fun to see my character, Ted, take on a physicality that was feasible (you know, for a brave, resilient stuffed bear who is alive in his own way..) I’m all about problem-solving, so really enjoyed figuring out how such a bear might parachute to safety using his friend’s silk “escape and evade” map when their Spitfire is shot down during World War II.

How did MATS ICB help you grow?
The story really starts back in 2015 when I took MATS A! Though I had been painting dog portraits for several years, I didn’t really draw or doodle or do lettering. MATS A made me realize that I needed to develop a personal way of 1) drawing and 2) adding color. I’m still exploring, but I’ve begun to see some patterns emerging, and MATS ICB was fantastic for challenging me to draw things I had avoided, like humans, vehicles/contraptions, and buildings.

What did I discover about yourself?
I love to tell stories with pictures! I’ve actually been doing it all my life, in a way–making collages from magazine clippings, making photo books with captions for friends and family. I just didn’t know if I could do it with images I created myself. But as it turns out, I get completely absorbed in (on the verge of obsessed-with!) drawing, and I love thinking cinematographically, setting up dramatic pacing, planning the compositions, and even writing my own stories, which I’m working on now.

How would you describe the course?
If you want to find out whether you’re a good fit for children’s book illustration, how to interact with art directors, how picture books come to be made, and what makes a compelling submission, MATS ICB is a fantastic resource and a positive, safe environment in which to stretch your artistic limits and get feedback. Also a great course for those who believe making children’s books is easy–hang onto your hat!

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

***

Joanna Zając-Slapničar

My favourite immage is “Norman poses” from the week 3. In this week I have learned the most! Playing with poses made me happy and open for new challenges.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class helped me a lot. First and more important for me was discovering how to make a character more alive. I have to trained how to draw different poses and how to express emotions and the result is immidiate. The course allowed me to appreciate social media are and helped me to see how important is self-confidence, sending the works to publishers, and intense work. Its also important that the joy is crucial in this work! I have notised how thrue it is. Now more and more people are interested in my work and I am much more confident J

What did you discover about yourself?
I discover my weak points and this is maybe the most important. I have discovered that I love to work with colour pencils and mix techniks. I have also discovered that as I spend a lot of time with my child, I dont need to resign from my work. Instead we can work together and this make both of us happier!

How would you describe the course to a friend
The course is great. I really recommend it to everyone who is doing any kind of illustrations! Its perfectly prepared. Step by step instructions make you come to the result, you have not expected. Very important is also community of people who is taking a part in the course. Its great that so many people are working on the same topic and you can see results and learn really a lot! The course is intensive so you need to be prepared to spend most of your time working on the topic. It will be great time!

See more work here: Website| Instagram | Facebook

***

Fay Ford

By Week 4, the environment week, I felt I knew my characters Ruby and Norman really well, through all the character development of previous weeks.So I couldn’t wait to make a little home for them!! I imagined Ruby living right by the sea, in a cool vintage style, pink fish and chip’s truck!

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
Week by week my confidence grew through all the fantastic teaching by Lilla and Zoe and the constant support and encouragement from the fb group. My characters began to grow personalities and come to life, which was exactly what I felt was lacking before I took the class. But more than that, we were encouraged to grow our social media presence, and all these invaluable tips resulted in me finally designing my own logo and website- a big achievement for me!!

What did you discover about yourself?
That I work much better with a deadline! I also discovered that strangely, I produce my best work at 4:30 in the morning, when my head is full of ideas dancing around!!! The weekly submissions and reviews were great for me to focus and definitely spurred me on to do better each week.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
If you want to be inspired, clear your diaries for five weeks! This course is amazing, intense and totally inspiring. Money well spent if you’re really wanting to learn, and willing to put in the time, so you can gain as much valuable information about developing children’s book characters.
I loved it, and was stretched and encouraged by Lilla and Zoe’s generous teaching.( In fact I’ve signed up again in October, it was so good!)

See more here: Website

***

Do you dream of illustrating a children’s book?  Would you love to create a magical world with characters that you’ve designed? Do you love the magic of children’s books and feel that you have something to offer? Then this course is for you.
matsD-banner-h02650

In five weeks, you’ll create a brilliant children’s book pitch to help you land your dream children’s book gig. You’ll get over 20 videos, weekly assignments, live weekly video reviews, interviews with publishers and illustrators and more. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited! Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

bookyourplacenow

Illustrating Children’s Books Student Showcase part 2 {Jan 2017 class}


We are so proud of our wonderful Make Art That Sells alumni and are pleased to showcase a series of gorgeous student work that was produced in the previous session of the Illustrating Children’s Books  class.

bookyourplacenow

***

Sam Loman


Week 4 was definitely my favourite week because everything I practiced the first 3 weeks came together: character, accessories and environment. I love to see an illustration ‘grow’ from sketches, drafts, semi-finished drawings to a finished piece which I am still proud of, normally after a weeks I don’t like my work anymore…..always think I could do better… Although those 5 weeks were very intensive I still have the feeling I didn’t rushed and took the time to know my characters, to try different things and came to a style I still like…HOORAY.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I have illustrated a lot of children’s books, but I never broke it down into the steps Lilla and Zoe did. It helped me to get a certain rest, I took the time to develop and get to know my characters more. I sketched them in different poses before I started with the sketches for a spread, which made it a lot easier since you know how they look like from different angles and how they move. This made my work a lot more vivid/sparkling.

What did you discover about yourself?
I discovered to things:

1. I can sketch! ;) I always thought my sketches were so bad that I was anxious to show them to a client. I now know that I have to break it down into pieces, don’t give up when I fail, just use my eraser and try again and I don’t be afraid to fill the page with lovely accessories and hand drawn text. I now love my sketches!

2.My work is not as bad as I think. I have a Bachelor in illustration and a Master in art, design and illustration with distinction, illustrated lots of children’s books, stationery and home décor and I am still highly insure about my work. Due to all the positive reactions from my fellow MATSies (the Facebookgroup is great, It’s such a warm place to share your feelings and artwork!) my self esteem grew, I got my inspiration back and the power to create great artwork.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
Intensive, full of great material, tutorials and videos. Oh and don’t forget the Facebook live sessions! Lilla and Zoe take 1,5 hour per session to answer all your questions. The course is suited for beginners but also for those who already work in the field, I have learned a lot of new things! I recommend to take 5 weeks off to concentrate fully on the course because this really helped me to absorb all of the material and I had the time to apply all of Lilla’s and Zoe’s advice into my work.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

***

Michelle Pleasance | The Formidable Forest

This is my favourite image from the course because I remember I struggled with it a lot.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I pushed through with lots of support from the Facebook group. I was really surprised to find that it was chosen for review. It showed me not to give up and stop judging my work. It was really nice to have support from others who were all working hard at the same thing. It definitely made me push through more than I normally would and although it was hard, the improvements were worth it.

What did you discover about yourself?
I now have the tools and confidence I need to get a children’s book pitch together. Immediately after the course I started getting my own project together. I feel like I’m closer to getting published and have so much more information on how to go about it.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
I would describe the course as quite intense and engrossing. It’s a great way to learn the things you need to very quickly. I also loved seeing other peoples progress during the course. The interviews with published illustrators were also very inspiring. I would definitely recommend this course.

See more work here: Instagram

***

Margaux Kent

Week 4, Double Page Spread for Junko Tabei and the Ladies Climbing Club

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?

This week I combined my favourite things – cutting, gluing, folding, painting, drawing – even my Pro-Create mistakes – to make this spread. It was a real change from the other weeks and I really felt like I was finding my way through the darkness.

What did you discover about yourself?

Taking this class was a bit of a stretch for me – I had never thought of myself as an illustrator, but love picture books and have stories brewing. This course really make creating characters, environments, objects &c not feel impossible and maps out a methodical process for illustrating picture books. In addition, the live reviews and information about the industry are indispensable.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

That having a regular practice with guidance really helps direct efforts which can othertise be rather scattered when left on my own!
ICB is magic. Lilla and Zoe are completely in love with what they do and share that passion and expertise with each student.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

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Fia Kilbourn

Week 5, when we did cover illustrations, was the week where I could really see the culmination of all the hard work I had put in over the previous weeks. It seemed to just flow together for me because it built on the weeks before. I also really enjoyed the hand-lettering element of that week.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
I was pretty much a newbie in this market when I started the class. When I compare the submission for Week 1 with Week 4 and 5, I am just amazed at the improvement. As I went through the course, I found a looseness to my illustration, but also an ability to break each assignment into smaller pieces that allowed me to focus on the work without getting overwhelmed. That skill gave me more confidence when it came to the week on environments because that was the week I was most anxious about. I was able to create the elements of the environment before putting it all together and by then it just clicked together and I was proud of what I created.

What did you discover about yourself?
I found confidence in my ability to illustrate a children’s book. I discovered my strengths in emotions and poses, but also realized my weaknesses like environment and composition. That has helped me to focused what to pay attention to in my current work. I also found some practical aspects to my work, such as knowing I can work when my kids are home from school if I am working on certain things like the early sketching phase. I can save the things that take more concentration for later. It really helped me to maximize my time.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
This class will teach you the key elements to creating lively characters and rich worlds for those characters to exist, each week building on the last. You will also learn inside information about the industry like how a book is made from start to finish, who is involved in making a book, how to get your work noticed by the people who want to hire you. The Facebook community aspect of the class will give you a great support system that will be there long after the class finishes. There are three text to choose from and that was a big bonus for me, because after the class finished, I was able to use what I learned and develop portfolio piece by going back through the assignments with the other texts. I am entering a children’s book illustration showcase in September and six of my pieces came from material from this class!

See more work here: Website

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Mara Penny


I chose the book cover. I love figuring out how to tell the story with pictures instead of words.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?
There’s so much more to emotion and poses than I ever realized!

What did you discover about yourself?
I really like distilling the whole book into a single image for the cover.

How would you describe the course to a friend?
This course is really a road map. There is so much information! It is literally a step by step guide to creating children’s books!

See more work here: Instagram

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Do you dream of illustrating a children’s book?  Would you love to create a magical world with characters that you’ve designed? Do you love the magic of children’s books and feel that you have something to offer? Then this course is for you.
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In five weeks, you’ll create a brilliant children’s book pitch to help you land your dream children’s book gig. You’ll get over 20 videos, weekly assignments, live weekly video reviews, interviews with publishers and illustrators and more. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited! Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

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Illustrating Children’s Books Student Showcase part 1 {Jan 2017 class}


We are so proud of our wonderful Make Art That Sells alumni and are pleased to showcase a series of gorgeous student work that was produced in the previous session of the Illustrating Children’s Books class.

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Sara Netherway

This is Ruby and Norman playing together from Poses in Week 3. This week was great for making the characters come alive and tell the story. In this image I was building a relationship between the characters as Ruby crouched down, interested to hear Normans stories of home.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?

I grew so much through the Illustrating Children’s Book class. Because of the way the course is structured I was able to build and see huge progress through the weeks, this gave me a lot of confidence in the process. Now I can use the tools I’ve learnt in the class again and again to grow even more.

What did you discover about yourself?

The course helped me asses the images I was making before the course and concentrate on areas in my portfolio that need more work. It’s made me braver about my choices and pushed me to look at things in a different way.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

There was a whole bunch of lovely people on this course! The support everyone gave each other was phenomenal. Zoe and Lilla were there supporting everyone constantly and it felt like a large creative family! :)

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Twitter

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Marisol Rossi | Sol Rossi

 

The book cover shows Yuko -The main character- climbing a mountain (She is using a rope as a help. Because of the rope the image may suggest that there are other team members climbing the mountain too).

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?

The class helped me grow in many different aspects, first of all I liked the way all was structure and also the support and feedback from Lilla, Zoe and the community was great.

What did you discover about yourself?

I discovered that my childhood dream (Illustrating for kids) is more alive than ever.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

I would describe the course to a friend as a big quality and intensive course to illustrate children books. You can notice its high quality in the structure, the feeback and the results. Lilla Rogers (The art agent) provides her paramount expertize in the illustration world in general this time applied to children’s books.
Zoe Tucker (The art director) gives very insightful advises about the industry where she has been working daily for many years.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

 

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Jinjer Markley

 

This is my cover from the final week of the course. It was fun to put together so much of what we’d learned in the class about using color and tone to help guide the reader’s attention and showing emotion and relationship to connect the reader to your character. We also got to play with lettering.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?

Taking Illustrating Children’s Books really boosted my daily art practice, I do SO much more drawing and painting than I did before the course. The community of fellow students was and is incredible — we continue to share tips, product reviews and news with each other. Because of that ongoing network of inspiration, encouragement and knowledge, I successfully completed a 100 day challenge that really pushed my practice, and resulted in a solo show at a local gallery.

What did you discover about yourself?

I’ve always been different, and have always struggled to accept good advice. Sometimes, I need to follow advice in order to grow. Lilla is a font of great advice, but is never prescriptive — she encourages all sorts of artistic approaches, so her advice is easier to take!

How would you describe the course to a friend?

Lilla will send you hints about how to clear your schedule about a week before the course starts. Take those seriously, because you will be rearranging your life into the life of a working artist. The course is as much about how to manage the workload of an illustrator as it is about how to craft a stunning illustration pitch.

See more work here: Website | Facebook | Instagram

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Romica Spiegl-Jones

I loved to see how my previously stiff characters suddenly had so much more life and movement in them.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?

The class was a creatively transforming experience for me. Through every assignment and input I felt more secure in my path as children’s book illustrator. I learned what exactly I need to work on to create impactful images and how to pitch them to the right people. Lilla’s and Zoe’s insights into the industry gave me such a confidence boost. Great stories and characters are needed, and there is space for many different styles. And most of all, it made me do the work – a lot. This ultimately made the real difference.

What did you discover about yourself?

I discovered that meeting people that are better than me can not only be confronting but also deeply inspiring. To see other illustrators having successful careers gives me hope that I can do it too.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

I can truly say this course gave me the confidence to work on my flaws with the right direction, to believe in my strengths, and it gave me the knowledge to pursue this career in children’s book illustration without excuses. This is the best investment of my creative career and it was worth every single pence. If you want to stop wasting time and do what you love, this course will give you the tools and community support to make art that sells, with joy.

See more work here: Website | Instagram | Twitter

 

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Moncharis Illustration and Design

My favorite assignment was drawing different poses of the main character. It helped me grow as an artist.

How did the ‘Illustrating Children’s Book’ class help you grow?

After taking this course, I am more aware of all the different aspects that go into making children’s books. I now know how to assess my work so that I can make the necessary improvements.

What did you discover about yourself?

I am more confident because there are stories for every illustration style so there is room for all.

How would you describe the course to a friend?

Fun, through, and supportive! I encourage everyone to take it.

See more work here: Website | Instagram

***

Do you dream of illustrating a children’s book?  Would you love to create a magical world with characters that you’ve designed? Do you love the magic of children’s books and feel that you have something to offer? Then this course is for you.
matsD-banner-h02650

In five weeks, you’ll create a brilliant children’s book pitch to help you land your dream children’s book gig. You’ll get over 20 videos, weekly assignments, live weekly video reviews, interviews with publishers and illustrators and more. Co-taught by top art agent Lilla Rogers and highly-respected children’s book art director Zoe Tucker.

Spaces are limited! Don’t miss out. REGISTER HERE

bookyourplacenow

Top tips for illustrators, four books I love and what you can learn from them.


Sometimes life is pretty magical. Did you know that I filmed our course, Illustrating Children’s Books, in Brighton, England with someone I admire. Zoe Tucker,  respected children’s book art director and mischief-maker, was my co-conspirator in the course.

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Me and Zoe Tucker in Brighton, getting ready for filming

When you film tons of videos with someone over many days, you really get to know them. And with someone like Zoe, you get to experience the vast depth of their knowledge.

Lilla: Zoe, can I ask you anything on camera about books, or is there anything you don’t want me to ask? Will I be putting you on the spot? Would you rather know in advance?

Zoe: No. Ask me anything on camera.

And so I did. And she knows A TON.

We filmed the core content of the course but we sprinkled in some free-form banter. There was plenty of impromptu Q&A between Agent and Art Director. I think you’ll love getting that inside look. Want to know what we will be teaching?

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Here we are, on the monitor. After four years of doing e-courses, I’m finally not nervous on camera. In fact, my focus is now on imparting even more information and guidance to my students in a way that will be useful to them.

I’ve agented probably over a hundred book gigs to my artists over the years, so I know a little something about illustrating books, but I delighted in learning a ton from Zoe. You will, too, and I know you’ll adore her as much as I do.

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Zoe Tucker, my co-teacher for Illustrating Children’s Books for Make Art That Sells

I’ve selected four children’s books I love that illustrate four key points I want you to know if you want to be a busy, top children’s book illustrator.

1. Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson

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Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson

TIP: Do your research.

I am insanely crazy about this book. I’m not alone; it’s both a 2016 Caldecott Award and Newbury Award winner. The story is wonderful—I encourage you to read it—but today I want to point out the variety of characters illustrated in this charming retro style by Christian Robinson. I can’t take how much I love the lady with her jar of butterflies and the bald dude with his green tattoos and phone. These characters are probably not the first things that come into your head. Go out, sketch people on the bus. Do your research. That’s how you’ll come up with those unexpected details.

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2. The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy, illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna

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The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy by Beatrice Alemagna

TIP: Illustrate loads of thing for the child to discover upon multiple readings

While you’re reading a book to a child, realize that they are spending many moments studying the image. Is there plenty to look at? This double page spread (below) is so delightful and well researched. The shops are each so charming, with varied architecture and colors. Notice, too, how the main character, wearing a pink jacket, is shown in multiple places in the scene, looking for the pink squishy.

squishy spread

3. Emmanuel’s Dream, illustrated by Sean Qualls

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Emmanuel’s Dream, illustrated by Sean Qualls

TIP: Show emotion in your characters.

The mother’s gentle love and the sweet innocence of this child are brilliantly depicted. Also notice how the pose of the mother and the upturned head of the child communicate an intimate moment. By the way, I also love the skin color; it’s got richness and unexpected hues in a gorgeous, painterly style.

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4. Home, written and illustrated by Carson Ellis

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Home, written and illustrated by Carson Ellis

 

TIP: Come up with the unexpected. Push boundaries.

When the art director of this book, Kristen Nobles, came to visit us at the Studio, she told us how Carson decided to write a book where the houses are the ‘main character’ of the book. What a brilliant idea. This gives Carson an opportunity to draw a ton of varied domiciles.

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Hope you enjoyed the tour. How about you take a photo of one of your favorite children’s books & upload it to Instagram with #matskidbooks #makeartthatsells. I’d love to see your favorites!

Xo

Lilla

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I’d be delighted to have you in our course. It’s crammed full of tons of information and inspiration for you. We are going to make some amazing art together.

Do you dream of illustrating a children’s book? Would you love to create a magical world with characters that you’ve designed?

Do you love the magic of children’s books and feel that you have something to offer?

Then this course is for you.

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Free Video Series Part 5: Illustrating Children’s Books


Welcome to final part of our 5 part video series on ‘Illustrating Children’s Books. Ready to dive in and make a commitment to your success as a children’s book illustrator? Sign up HERE. Hurry! This class will fill!

PART 5: Lilla reads one of her favorite children’s books

What you’ll learn in this video:

  • See how an agent and art director analyze a winning children’s book
  • How to create wit by contradicting the text
  • How to vary the size of your characters to create drama
  • How you can actually illustrate a page without any text whatsoever
  • See Lilla’s and Zoe’s favorite pages and why

Your mini assignment for today is:

Share your favorite children’s book with us! Take a photo of the cover and upload it to Instagram using #matskidbook

If you’re having problems viewing this video or want to download it please click here.

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Ready to dive in and make a commitment to your success as a children’s book illustrator? Sign up HERE. Hurry! This class is almost full!

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Transform your art career and Make Art That Sells. Registration is open for Illustrating Children’s Books (starts October, 2nd).

Free Video Series Part 4: Illustrating Children’s Books


Welcome to part 4 of our 5 part video series on ‘Illustrating Children’s Books. Ready to dive in and make a commitment to your success as a children’s book illustrator? Sign up HERE. Hurry! This class will fill!

PART 4: See how a children’s book art director makes your book spectacular

What you’ll learn in this video:

  • What is pacing and why it’s so important
  • How the art director uses a book dummy to lay out dramatic flow for the illustrator
  • How Zoe improved upon the illustrator’s pacing in an actual book dummy

At the end of the short video, I’ll give you a fun mini assignment to improve your illustration skills. Be sure to listen to the end. #matskidbook

If you’re having problems viewing this video or want to download it please click here.

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Ready to dive in and make a commitment to your success as a children’s book illustrator? Sign up HERE. Hurry! This class is almost full!

matsD-banner-h02

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Transform your art career and Make Art That Sells. Registration is open for Illustrating Children’s Books (starts October, 2nd).