Monthly Archives: August 2011

Illustration for Picture Books Level 3: Portfolio & Independent Projects

This ‘Portfolio & Independent Projects’ class is open to any of you who have taken either my level 1 or my level 2 class. It is not necessary to have taken level 2 in order to take level 3! It’s just a way Emily Carr has of naming their classes. :)

The class will focus on developing a portfolio for those of you who might be interested in doing so, but will also work for those of you who are wanting to work on a specific book project of your own. How to write for picture books will NOT be covered in this class, as this is what level 2 specializes in. However should you have taken level 2 and are now in the process of either further developing your dummy or starting to work on another dummy you could use this class for this project.  Below is the official Course Description and Outline for you to have a look at.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any questions about this course and whether or not it will be helpful for what you want to accomplish. I’m pretty excited about level 3 and will try my best to make it informative, challenging, helpful and of course as always… fun!

Have a great summer and looking forward to seeing you again!

***Please also note: Please ignore the online description of this course that is up on the Emily Carr Site and also in their Catalogue. It’s not that it’s wrong necessarily, but the one below is really much more accurate, in terms of what to expect. Thank you and sorry for the confusion.



‘Portfolio &  Independent Projects’

Course Number: CEIL 440 SU01

Instructor(s): Lisa Cinar

Number of Sessions: 11 sessions x 3hrs/ 32 hours total/ (First class is only 2 hours!)

Day and Time: Sundays/1.30-4.30am/

Date(s): June 9th-Aug 18th/2013

Room: 279 (203C lab on specified dates only)


Develop your illustration portfolio geared towards children’s picture book illustration and related fields or create illustrations for a specific dummy book you are working on.

With fun and challenging assignments that build on concepts such as composition, tone and color this course will allow you to concentrate on honing your skills as an illustrator as well as give you the chance to create a quick, simple and free online blog portfolio.

Students are encouraged to tailor assignments to fit their specific portfolio needs. Longer group and one on one critiques will make up the majority of classes along with helpful in class exercises and presentations.


• Create 5-6 final illustration pieces (assigned or self-assigned) to add to your portfolio

  • Know how to scan your images, adjust them and optimize them for the web. Upload your images to a blog portfolio site we will create in blogger or wordpress to create a  a web presence for your work.

  • Develop a deeper understanding of your personal process, strengths and weaknesses in creating successful work

  • Hone your ability to look critically at your peers work and published work in the field. Learning through being able to analyze various aspects of visual storytelling. (Layout, composition, pacing, mood etc.)


  • Longer In class group feedback/critiques of homework assignments

  • Challenging and valuable weekly take-home research and technique assignments

  • In class exercises designed to inform and aid with homework assignments

  • Learning through example: Looking at other illustrators

  • Develop technical and conceptual skills though in-class projects, exercises demonstrations and homework assignments.

  • Hardcopy and/or online handouts are provided

  • Additional resources are provided weekly via instructor’s blog on children’s picture book illustration

  • Presentations and lectures, possible guest speaker


Weekly group or one-on-one feedback sessions

    • In class colour palette and tonal exercises to improve your compositions
    • Drawing from the model/drawing from life
    • Introduction to other avenues of interest to the children’s book illustrator: Related fields
    • Building on concepts and techniques from level 1 & 2


Illustration for Children’s Picture Books’ LEVEL 1, is a prerequisite for this class.

*While it is necessary to have taken the level 1 class, you are NOT required to have taken the level 2 class in order to register for this class!


To successfully complete the course, students are expected to complete assignments according to the instructor’s stated requirements, attend at least %85 of the classes and participate actively in discussions and critiques.

-Completion of exercises and assignments

-Positive and motivated attitude

-Punctual attendance of classes

  • Students are expected to purchase their own flash drive/usb stick (approx. Cost 10$) and bring it to specified classes.
  • Students are expected to bring to some classes, a basic set of either water colours, coloured pencils, or pastels, of their choice for in class drawing and colouring exercises


-Attendance and participation in class

-Participation in all exercises, critiques and discussions

-Completion of assignments


1)Illustrating Children’s Books’ (By Martin Salisbury, Barron’s, 28.99$)

2)Illustrating Children’s Picture Books’ (by Steven Withrow and Lesley Breen Withrow,Writers Digest Books, 29.99$

3) How to be an Illustrator’ (By Darrell Rees, ~ 29.99$)

            • *All books are available at Oscars Art Books at Broadway and Granville.(if not they will be happy to order them in for you!)


  • a small selection of pens, pencils, markers, etc,.. that you like to work with.
  • a sketchbook or loose pages of paper
  • homework assignments from the previous class
  • * flash drive/usb stick for classes specified
  • a basic set of either water colours, colored pencils, or pastels, of their choice for drawing and coloring exercises (*only to classes specified)
  • a love for the subject and an open mind


Session 1

* Please NOTE: Our first class will only be 2 hours long:

Introduction of students: (your motivation behind taking this class)

Go over Course outline and goal expectations/ supplementary blog:

  • What we will concentrate on
  • Decide if you want to Create a Portfolio geared towards a) Illustration for picture books in general, b) for children, or for c) a specific story/dummy book you have been working on. (3 different options/= 3 different ways to experience this course/help create your own assignments for a tailored portfolio)


‘Think about this before you decide what you’d like to do’

-Other Avenues for the illustrator (of picture books)

-Style: Narrowing it down, or offering a Variety: YOU have to decide!

-Publishers requirements revisited

Go over Homework assignment: (*Handout)

  • Decide how you want to use this class: Creating a Portfolio, or Illustrating a Specific Personal Project/Dummy Book, One page write up, typed, double spaced. Bring in 2 copies.
  • Look at 2 of your favorite Illustrator’s websites and write down all of their categories they have their work split up into, what types of illustration projects they have done (editorial, commercial, etc) and all of their clients.
  • Bring in 5-15 Illustrations you ALREADY have and like, that you think might be good to include in your portfolio

Session 2

Group Feedback/ Crit.

  • Students talk about their goals, and show work so far
  • Group feedback/presenter makes notes.
  • Feedback on: Style, best avenue so far, techniques, progress, challenges

Presentation/blog entry:

‘Getting to know one’s own strengths and areas of improvement/Style is not always what you THINK it is, or should be’

Presentation/blog entry:

Creating a Unique Style through unique tools & materials’

Go over Homework assignment

Session 3)

Group Crit/Feedback on Students work


‘Working Habits’

        • a look at various Illustrators working habits
        • studio vs home
        • thoughts on maximum productivity
        • 10.000 hour theory

In Class Exercise:

    ‘Drawing/ A LOT ‘ (* Handout)

Go over Homework assignment

* Bring your Watercolours OR Coloured Pencils to our next Class!

Session 4)

Presentation of homework and critique: (* Handout)

  • re-examining your strengths and weaknesses
  • your favorite processes and subject matter
  • understanding our own habits and assessing if to break or keep them

In Class Exercise:

– Colour palettes, Moods & Music

Go over Homework assignment

Session 5)

Brief Presentation of homework and feedback:

Go over change impending change of class structure from this point on.

Presentation/Blog Entry:

‘Layout Versatility’ – Thinking and Re-thinking your Layouts’

  • the book as a whole vs the editorial image or book cover etc…
  • panels vs no panels, bleed vs. No bleed
  • (Scott Mc Cloud understanding comics)

In Class Exercise:

‘Layout Versatility’

Go over Homework assignment:

Session 6)

Presentation of homework and critique:


In Class Exercise: (We will have a male model in costume (pirate) booked here if all goes well

‘Drawing From Life’

  • The Essence vs Realism
  • Playing with proportions/exaggeration
  • Paying attention/Memory drawing

Go over Homework assignment

Session 7)

Brief Presentation of homework and feedback

TBA TBA TBA MAYBE: *Guest Presenter: Editor & Writer Kallie George *

  • What she as the publisher looks for
  • Personal experiences and advise for illustration and dummy book submissions
  • Working processes in writer & illustrator & editor relationships
  • Other factors
  • TBA
  • Q & A

Presentation: (* Handout/ blog post)

‘Other Perspectives’

A variety of different perspectives on the subjects covered by Kallie. Interviews and articles from publishers, art directors, editors. (taken from the books suggested as supplementary reading materials)

Go over Homework assignment

Session 8)

(if you are all caught up with work and want to start scanning, bring the work to scan and your usb stick to this class!)

Open Studio/ One on One Feedback day:

-A chance to either get one on one feedback with the instructor or from peers and to get caught up on work for your portfolio.

-Students who are all caught up will have the chance to start on the new assignment in class or scan their work in the mac labs (if you want to do this remember to bring your usb stick!)

Presentation: (*Handout)

Scanning Demo

Session 9)


-Looking at examples of Illustrator’s uses of flickr pages and blogs to showcase their work

-Breaking up work into Categories

Group Feedback on students collection of works as a whole:

-What works best for us as the viewer? What does the viewer find most successful?

– What works best for you the creator of the images, what do you find most successful?

– What avenue interests you the most at this point?

Mac Lab: Presentation:

-Optimizing our images for the web and for a simple print out hardcopy portfolio

-Creating a blog portfolio

-Uploading to our portfolio

Session 10)

Group Crit/Feedback on Students homework (and finish looking at people’s collection of originals for portfolios)


Expanding your Professional development/ other skills perhaps of interest to the illustrator

A list of things to invest in and ideas of goals to pursue


Finish up all scanning, uploading and categorizing.

Giving our online sites their final touches: bio’s, contact info, titles, comments, networking, motivating and inspiring each other/social media.

Go over Homework assignment.

Session 11) (last class)

Group Crit/Feedback on Students homework

In Class Composition Exercise:

-Creating compositions using the amazing composition device.


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