Children's Book Portfolio Assignment: Plan, Sketch, and Create a Double Page Spread

Romica Jones,

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6 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Introduction - Is this class for you?

    • 2. My process Part 1: tools, planning and sketches

    • 3. My process Part 2: more tools, light box, and speed drawing

    • 4. Prompts for your picture book idea

    • 5. Final thoughts and words of encouragement: you are needed

    • 6. How to find examples for double page spreads

25 students are watching this class

Project Description

Now that you picked a prompt for each of the sections let's get started.

These steps will take time, so come back and update your project each time you made a step forward. You will only make progress towards your dreams if you do the work, so do the work :)

PS: Leave as little or as much time between these steps as you need. Sometimes I'm in a flow and get a lot done, but most often it takes hours or several days between idea and final image. Be gentle with yourself. With passion and hard work you will get there :)

  1. Start NOW: Think a little bit about your story. Create a quick, rough sketch (e.g. character, a scene, piece of clothing, anything). No hesitation. Start your project: write one sentence what the story is about and post your sketch.

  2. Celebrate, this was the first important step! Give yourself some credit. Prepare a (cheap) sketchbook and a pencil. No pressure. They are just ready for when ideas come.

  3. A few minutes/hours/days later: Think more deeply of who those characters are, where they are from, what are they good/bad at, what are their quirks? Where do they come from, where do they go? What are they wearing? What's going on? Reflect about this for a while. You can do other stuff in the meanwhile. Great ideas come at surprising moments. True story: I have my best ideas in the bathroom.

  4. Over the next few minutes/hours/days: jot down ideas, create as messy and loose sketches as you like to create this world you are envisioning for your story. Great things take time. Start to develop your characters and things that are in this world.

  5. Now it's time for your spread's birth: think of a scene in your story you would like to show (you can use one of the mood-prompts if you need ideas). Quickly thumbnail some ideas. Don't get too attached or detailed. Remember I created a very rough sketch (and the one I showed is just one of many).

  6. Give your little babies (sketches) some time. Then pick one that you would like to develop further. Think of the size of your final book. How big will the final spread be? Then create your sketch at the right dimensions (ratio). You can do what I did and divide the dimensions by 2 or 4 to work smaller.

  7. Refine lines, add details and check composition. You can do this in any way you like. If you work traditionally it can help to do what I did with printing out your small sketch and drawing over it for later tracing.

  8. If you are happy create the final outlines (at correct final size) and add colours. Share some in progress pictures. It really shows how far you've come.

  9. Share your final spread (with watermark if you want to protect it) and add it to your portfolio (e.g. on your website, instagram, behance, etc. wherever you showcase your work)

  10. Breathe. You've done an incredible job.

  11. If you are super serious about becoming a children's book illustrator make sure to check out the resource document where I share what really moved my career forward.


Invest into your career. Take care of yourself. And know that you are unique and only you can contribute this uniqueness to the world.


lots of love,


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