Children's Book Illustration



FACILITATOR: Marjorie Van Heerden



Illustrator’s course; The Children’s Book Illustration Course is open to anyone with basic skills as a graphic artist and who wants to develop their proficiency as an illustrator of children’s books specifically. This is quite a competitive field, but publishers are always looking for new artists with applicable talent and imagination.


The programme is designed to cater for published as well as unpublished illustrators and also writer/illustrators of picture books for children. Although it is specifically aimed at illustrators, the course can also be of benefit to authors of children’s picture books and other illustrated children’s books.

This course provides the opportunity to work with award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Marjorie van Heerden, who has illustrated more than ten dozen published trade and educational children’s books, some of which she had written as well, in South Africa and abroad over the past thirty years.


In the 2012 course Marjorie will concentrate on specific areas that publishers have pointed out as being problematic for many illustrators of children’s picture books. She will guide the group through a number of critical areas, including; today’s best techniques for children’s book illustration, what art materials can be used effectively, how to draw children and animals, how to portray character development through illustrations, how to prepare a dummy. Other topics that will be explored, include: portfolio expectations; self-promotion; finding a market. During this intensive, hands-on learning experience each member of the group will sharpen her/his personal skills and explore exciting new techniques, all under Marjorie’s guidance.


One of the course days will be a visit to Marjorie’s studio where she will show the group the process of creating a picture book. She will also graphically illustrate the areas discussed during the classes with examples from a large variety of children’s picture books from her own personal collection.

At the end of the course each participant will receive a one-on-one critique with Marjorie.




From an early age Marjorie loved drawing animals and fairies and people and dinosaurs and children and dragons and monsters and today they appear in all shapes and sizes in the more than 120 children’s books that feature her work. Since the publication of her first children’s picture book in 1983 Marjorie has been published as illustrator or writer/illustrator in 33 languages in Africa, Britain, Europe, the East, Canada and the USA – she is currently working on a pair of Chinese children’s picture books.

In 2008 Marjorie, with children’s book author, Wendy Hartmann, won the M.E.R. Award for best illustrated children’s book, for Nina and Little Duck published by Human & Rousseau (SA) in 2007 (also available in Afrikaans).

In 2009 Human & Rousseau Publishers commissioned her to illustrate André P. Brink’s Afrikaans translation of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). The publication coincided with the celebrated novelist, scholar and translator’s 75th birthday.

Marjorie tirelessly works for the development of South African children’s book writers and illustrators and in 2003 she started the South African chapter of the international Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI – based in Los Angeles and active in more than 70 countries around the globe. She is currently the co-regional advisor of the South African chapter. (She also started the SCBWI chapter in Greece in 2000





· A tracing paper pad – A3 size 90gsm.

· A sketch pad – A3 size 190gsm.

· A few graphite/drawing pencils HB – (preferably the green Faber Castell pencil but any HB drawing pencil will be fine).

· Eraser.

· Putty eraser.

· Pencil sharpener.

· Fineliner pen.

· If you have a journal, bring that along. - If not, bring an A4 or A5 artist’s (ring-bound) sketch book that you can use as a journal.

· A notepad and pen to make notes.

· The art materials you usually work in. (Including a small jar for water and a roll of toilet paper).

· A board as a working surface (hardboard or thick cardboard – at least A3 size


Last Updated on Monday, 06 June 2016 00:00

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