A Q&A with Picture Book Illustrator and Tutor Claire Alexander

How Claire created Creating Picture Books and how to get started making your own.


  • Learning

You couldn't have a better picture book teacher than author and illustrator Claire Alexander. Her bestselling Introduction to Creating Picture Books course is back this summer. She tells us how and why she made the course and what you can expect if you book.

Why did you create this course? 

When I decided I wanted to create picture books for a living, I looked into available short illustration course options, and found a noticeable lack of courses that taught both illustration and writing.

Later, once my first three books had been published, I felt I'd learned enough to share with others. The result was Introduction to Creating Picture Books.

What does the course involve?

I designed the course specifically to answer all those burning questions I'd had at the beginning of my own picture book making career. How do I create compelling characters and write suitable stories? How do I storyboard my ideas? What layouts and compositions should I use? What mediums work best? What kind of work are publishers interested in and what's the best way to approach them?

The result is a highly structured course which addresses all of the above, with exercises to inspire new ideas, along with plenty of support in the form of both one-to-one tuition and group feedback.

What makes the course unique?

I encourage everyone to try their hand at both writing and illustrating, even if they ultimately wanted to specialise in one – students so often end up surprising themselves with what they can achieve!

Text and image are so entwined in picture books that it's really important to understand how they work together, even if you don’t eventually become both an author and an illustrator.

Who is the course for?

Everyone! I’ve been running these courses for years for all levels, teaching everyone from those who hadn’t drawn or written since their school days to professional authors and illustrators looking to break in to picture books. Many students have gone on to be signed by agencies and publishers.

What can students expect from the online course?

Students can expect to be inspired and motivated! If you love picture books as much as I do, there is always so much fun and enjoyment to be had discussing, exploring and creating them, and with any course, for tutors and students alike, the more you put in, the more you get out.

Book now for a place on Claire's Introduction to Creating Picture Books in-person summer course, check out previous students' work and find out what it's like doing the course.