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Teaching Kids to illustrate

Recently I had a couple of opportunities to do illustration workshops at the Austin Elementary School and the MacGregor Elementary School for I Love to Read Month! I told the kids about my job, read one of the books I illustrated in the past (the fan favourites were Jeter's Pants and Oops! Sorry About That!), and then do a writing and illustrating exercise with the class.


I went over the basic steps to creating a book:


  1. Writing

  2. Concept art

  3. Sketching

  4. Pencilling

  5. Inking

  6. Colouring


...and then we did just that! (thought we did skip a few steps. We didn't have time for concept art or inking, for instance.) I handed out booklets with a fill-in-the-blank story, which we wrote together. I gave the students the option to copy along with me or create their own story. This made the exercise accessible to pretty much every student! The ones with big ambitions could go for it, and the ones who struggled to make their own ideas still were able to learn and participate.


My example story:

One of my student's own version of the story:

We filled in the entire story, then we drew out all of our illustrations (again, some illustrating from their own ideas, some copying along with me), then coloured them. At the end I usually had a little mob of kids all wanting to read me their stories, and my heart soared to see them so excited.


Flipping through the Illustration Workshop Booklets:


Now you try!

I made the PDFs of this booklet available on my online store, so if you are interested in doing this writing/illustrating exercise with your kids, you can! Check it out!



An example: Danny the Foot, by Elora


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