Photo of Shadra Strickland

The Art of the Picture Book

with Shadra Strickland
The Art of the Picture Book
Unlock your inner storyteller and illustrate a picture book that will captivate children and publishers alike.

Published illustrator Shadra Strickland guides you through the foundational techniques you need to create strong visual stories. Delve into various picture-book structures and select the best format for your work. Discover Shadra’s secrets for using simple shapes to build complex, expressive characters. Gain critical insight into book pacing, imagery and text placement by creating a storyboard. Develop thematic boards and color studies to give your illustrations the depth they deserve. Plus, learn industry tricks to prepare your book for proposal. Bring your creativity to life in a picture book that will delight children and publishers everywhere!

See all lesson detail

Lesson plan


Lesson 1. Generating Ideas

  • Meet your instructor, children's book author Shadra Strickland. Then dive into an exploration of how text and images work together to create meaningful stories.


Lesson 2. Character Development

  • What qualities bring a character to life? Strickland guides you through everything you need to know, from how to identify with your character through various ways to develop compelling stories and meaningful imagery.


Lesson 3. Gesture, Emotion & Setting

  • Learn how to infuse emotion into your illustrations with realistic expressions, postures and composition ideas that will continue to breathe life into the characters on the page.


Lesson 4. Book Structure

  • Robust characters need a carefully designed book to live in, so follow along as Strickland explains self-ended and separate-ended layout options for picture books, including notes on trim sizes and other technical considerations.


Lesson 5. Storyboard Pacing & Composition

  • Discover how to turn an ordinary story into an extraordinary adventure as you push yourself to add more depth, dimension and movement into your illustrations.


Lesson 6. Critique & Mood

  • Every project needs a strong critique, and Strickland shares the best tricks of the trade for revising your work with fresh eyes. You'll also discover ways to experiment with mood and color that can improve your story with as little as one change in your palette.


Lesson 7. Final Art & Book Dummy

  • Strickland wraps up the class with a tutorial on creating and submitting a dummy for a publisher, including tips on how to create a dummy for self-publishing or personal gifts. You'll leave the class wanting to run straight for the drawing board in pursuit of your next story!

"I have watched all the tutorials and I'm in the process of putting my storybook together. I will watch them again as they are very informative and it has given me a really good insight into making a picture book. An excellent teacher always ready with advice and encouragement. You can tell she enjoys her work which makes all the difference to how she teaches in her tutorials. Will recommend."
avatar - zoelouise4595050

3000+ students have enrolled in this class

Recently Enrolled

  • Debra Pehrson Haun
  • Gail Funsten
  • Telaina Muir
  • crowmick6587774
  • Desi VD
  • Julie Wohl
  • pattycake777
  • Jean McDaniel
  • tamzste19011986
  • Aral Ahmadi

Student projects

Add to Cart Buy as a gift

For $49.99 you get:

  • 7 HD video lessons with anytime, anywhere access
  • Downloadable class materials, including templates and resources
  • Hours of close-up instruction
  • Answers from Shadra in our virtual classroom
Skill Building
  Closed Captioned

The Craftsy guarantee

  • Watch classes on your own schedule: wherever, whenever you want.
  • Your access never expires.
  • 100% money back guarantee.

Already enrolled?