So You Want to be an Author/Illustrator? Online Course 2020

  • Highlights Foundation Highlights Foundation
  • Pocono Mountains Municipal, Coolbaugh Township, PA, USA
  • Jun 4 - Jul 30, 2020 (57 days)

About This Event

Online Course Info:

This is an eight-week online, hands-on workshop featuring:

LIVE sessions with faculty for lessons and assignment check-ins

Pre-recorded lectures and learning materials

Structured practice, creative, and revision assignments to move you toward a finished picture book dummy (mock-up)

Peer critique

A faculty critique of your finished picture book dummy if you turn it in after the course

Online Workshop Participant Cap:


Join Us Online To:

Explore the possibilities of moving from Illustrator to Author/Illustrator, or becoming an Author/Illustrator. Learn how to find ideas and move from sketch to story ideas. Explore narrative drawing, pagination, thumbnail sketches and dummy (mock-up) creation.

This course is divided into 8 sessions:

Scroll down to see a detailed agenda.

Session 1: Meeting, Sketching and Sharing

Session 2: How to Turn an Idea Into a Story

Session 3: What Makes a Picture Book?

Session 4: Polishing the Story

Session 5: How to Make a Dummy

Session 6: Teacher Feedback on Revisions and Plans for Dummy

Session 7: Dummy Submissions

Session 8: Dummy Reviews

Please note: our online courses use the Thinkific platform, so when you click to register, you’ll land on the Thinkific site and you’ll register there.

What You'll Learn & Experience

During this workshop you will:

Find out how to get ideas and keep them flowing.

Use story sketches to spark ideas.

Examine the elements of a picture book.

Discover how to leave room for the illustrator--even if you are the illustrator.

How to paginate your story and use thumbnail sketches to create a dummy.

Move toward a finished picture book dummy (mock-up). With focus, participants should be able to complete/revise a working dummy in its entirety to submit for faculty critique after the course.

Attend If:

You're an illustrator and you would like to try to create both the text and illustrations for a picture book. This course aims to help you with both ways of storytelling!

You're a beginner who knows you'd like to both illustrate and write your picture books.

You’re ready to devote some time to learn and practice. This course offers long-term support over 8 weeks and allows you to learn at your own pace.


This course is divided into 8 sessions:

Week 1: Meeting, Sketching and Sharing

LIVE Zoom session: Course Overview, Introductions, “Let’s Draw” Presentation.

Assignments: Character sketches (free and prompt based)

Discussion, Sharing of Sketches and Poll

Week 2: How to Turn an Idea Into a Story

Pre-recorded video: How to Find the Story

LIVE Zoom session: After watching the video, we'll meet and discuss favorite character sketches and brainstorm ideas.

Assignments: emotion drawings, elevator pitches and where is the universal love connection?

Week 3: What Makes a Picture Book?

Pre-recorded video: What is the Story? Plot, character development and emotion in 32 pages and under 500 words.

Assignment: first draft of the story

Share first draft of the story text with faculty

Week 4: Polishing the Story

Pre recorded Presentation: Page Turns and Plot.

LIVE Zoom call with faculty and peers to read aloud stories

Assignments: Paginate your story, create thumbnails/storyboard, create one full color piece.

Week 4 special guest: author/illustrator Kelly Light!

Week 5: How to Make a Dummy

"How to Make a Dummy" resources

Assignment: complete your first dummy

Discussion board: open for questions and to share

Week 6: Teacher Feedback on Revisions and Plans for Dummy

LIVE Zoom calls to discuss questions and progress

Week 7: Dummy Submissions

Finish your dummy and submit it!

Week 8: Dummy Reviews

Pre-recorded video: Revision--the Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Peer dummy review & discussion

LIVE Zoom call to celebrate! Q&A with faculty.

After the course:

Optional (and encouraged): submit revised dummies to faculty for critique and feedback.


Crafting a Picture Book Dummy

How to Write a Picture Book (When You're An Illustrator)

Breaking Through Those Creative Blocks

Illustrator Inspiration from Shadra Strickland & Kelly Light (video)

Cancellation Policy

100% deposit refund for cancellation 30+ days before event.
50% deposit refund for cancellation 15-29 days before event.
0% deposit refund for cancellation 0-14 days before event.
The remaining balance (total price minus deposit) is due upon arrival.
Get full details...

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