Courses | Writing and Illustrating a Picture Book

L-R: Tull, Lucia, Sara, Farhan

L-R: Tull, Lucia, Sara, Mel

Character Development

Character Development 02

Story Boarding

Final Spread Page 10-11

Final Illustrations Page 12-15

Character Development to digital

I had an amazing opportunity to enrol in a 10-weeks course at the Malvern School of Art led by Tull Suwannakit, a well-established international illustrator and writer. I have always been a big fan of Shaun Tan and Oliver Jeffers and it didn’t take too long for me to make a decision. 

Reasons for taking the Course
At that point in time, I needed an output to display my illustrations as most of them were mostly on Instagram. I had the routine of draw and post - it didn’t feel satisfying enough. I wanted to archive my work but to not have it stored digitally in my computer where no one gets to see it. Children’s Books, traditionally are illustration based with at least 1 or  2 lines of sentences per page, usually 34 pages (cover to cover). My illustrations are based on a narrative, a little story that I create to enrich the artwork. So I thought - Let’s do this, create a book and maybe I can sell these eventually?

Details of the Course
Duration - 2.0 hours X 10-weeks, Saturday night - 6pm to 8pm
Payment - $550 per person, maximum 5-6 people in the class
Location - Malvern School of Art
In this course we touched on -

  • Creative writing
  • Setting up compositions
  • Lighting and shadows
  • Story structure, pacing and rhythm 
  • Experimentation of various art medium
  • Camera angles
  • Character Design
  • Character’s expression and movement
  • How to develop simple and effective ideas for your story

Overall review
- The classes gave me an insight to the realm of Children’s Book illustration and Tull was an excellent teacher to impart that knowledge. He was very conscious of each students personal goals and the little tweaks he gave to improve my illustrations were very effective. The notes and lectures he gave us were quite informative and he has also included a list of publishers at the end of the course for when we decided to publish our books. A big plus is that the classes were small, we had a lot of 1 one 1 interaction and this included emails/calls.

Negatives - It is definitely impossible for one to finish a book within the 10-weeks. I don’t know why I assumed that by the end of the course I’d get a finished product. Tull notified us that he is available to answer emails once we’re done with it but I, (I don’t know about the others) have not finished or even touched on my book since the classes ended. It definitely depends on the individual on what you want to take away from this course. I had mums in my group who just wanted to give this book to their children. I just wanted to learn the process - I felt that my story wasn’t strong enough (as I am not a writer) and needed revisions/tweaks/rewriting. Maybe one day I’d go back to it or get a writer to collaborate with.

If you are interested in taking the same course or any other short courses, click on the link.

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