Summer School // Children's Book Illustration

Outlining the reasons one might choose to make books for children, C.S. Lewis insisted that ‘the third way, which is the only one I could ever use myself, consists in writing a children’s story because a children’s story is the best art-form for something you have to say.’  

In this course we will investigate the visual potential of the distilled and potent form Katherine Rundell has described as ‘literary vodka’, taking inspiration from exemplary picturebooks, both historical and contemporary, that elevate the form to ‘high art’, with a particular emphasis on artists working in countries outside of the UK and US. We will look at unconventional and daring books that challenge the notion of what is and isn’t suitable for children, while bearing in mind that picturebooks are unique in their dual readership of adults and children, who often read and discuss them together. We will investigate genres and approaches including political allegory, fable, lists, the mundane, surreal dream narrative, and books that broach difficult subject matter, such as Kitty Crowther’s ‘The Visit of Little Death.’ Along the way students will be encouraged to bring their artistic sensibilities to bear on elements of the form that provide exciting opportunities for painters, drawers and picture-makers, such as double-page spreads, which allow delicious possibilities for creating immersive worlds and sweeping bird’s-eye views. The course will include a mix of discussion, quick exercises and structured experiments, with students working towards developing one of these into a personal project to share with the group at the end of the week.  

Unfortunately, we do not offer concessions on our Summer School courses.

All of our course rates are subsidised and we also offer a comprehensive concessions scheme on our term-time courses. View all course fees and concessions.

Featured image by Viola Wang