Illustrating Children’s Books – Deepthi Horagoda Post Two

Second in a feature of two posts by Deepthi Horagoda. The first post can be found here – Illustrating Children’s Books

The brief titled ‘Row, row, row your boat’ for the illustrating children’s books course that I am currently taking, was also a challenging assignment. It is an open brief, leaving us to come up with our interpretation of ‘life is but a dream’ from a child’s perspective. It was also challenging for me personally as I had not done such a large illustration before. However, all these factors ultimately made this brief a rewarding experience.

Initially I considered 3 different concepts. I finally decided to illustrate a child dreaming of a squirrel rowing down a river in a coconut shell ‘boat’ fantasizing about tropical fruits. The illustration could be described as ‘a dream within a dream’. The sleeping child on the top left serves as an introduction to the dream aspect of the story. The child’s tresses of hair depicted in stylized format acts as a border framing the child’s ‘dream’.

Double Page Spread Illustration Work In progress 1

I decided to extend the whimsical nature of the squirrel and the ‘boat’ to the entire illustration. Consequently, the anatomical accuracy of the animals was retained whilst adding fanciful details such as a bandana, sun glasses and garlands. I felt these small additions would make the characters more appealing to children.

Double Page Spread Illustration Work In progress 2

In the same vein I added juvenile characters to make them more relatable. A terrapin learning to swim indicated by the flippers and a baby elephant wearing a banana leaf bib were thus added. Since some children prefer animal characters and others prefer child characters I incorporated both into the illustration.

The elephant characters have been illustrated bearing in mind their behaviour patterns as well as their dietary habits. The two adult elephants have been illustrated as females since elephants live in a matriarchal society. I have used garlands and anklets to define the female elephants in the illustration.

Double Page Spread Illustration Work In progress 3

The ‘fruit barrow’ is a part of an arecanut palm tree. Although it would be unfamiliar to many foreign readers, it would be easily identified by South Asian readers. In fact, taking a ride on such a ‘buggy’ pulled by an older child has been an integral part of childhood for many generations. I decided to include this item as it fits the overall concept of the elephants’ picnic since it is a part of their environment. Furthermore, its role as a cart can be appreciated by all regardless of their background or location.

The tree framing the right side of the illustration is based on a golden shower tree. This particular variety of trees come into bloom during the fruit season in the South Asian region. I added some whimsical elements to make it ‘come alive’. Hence the eye and nose, whilst the hollow in the tree’s trunk gives the impression of a mouth wide open in amazement.

Double Page Spread Illustration Work In progress 4

Mrs.Maggy Roberts our tutor has described the illustration as “a really atmospheric piece of work… full of interest, engaging, a really charming piece”. She has stated that “The overall feel is suitable with some very original elements and suitable for the children’s market. You have done well here and produced an image that combines a child-friendly style with good observation and decorative elements that appear to lift it from the ordinary”.

I hope what I have written helps those who are beginning the illustrating children’s books course as well as those of you who maybe considering enrolling for the course. You cannot go wrong with an experienced professional like Maggy Roberts guiding you.

Double Page Spread Illustration

Illustrating Children’s Books – Deepthi Horagoda Post One

We have two most wonderful blog posts by student Deepthi Horagoda for today and tomorrow. Deepthi is studying with Maggy on the Illustrating Children’s Books Online Art Diploma Course. This is the first instalment….

I found the first set of exercises and brief of the Illustrating Children’s Books course both fun and challenging. Although I had done collages in school, this particular exercise taught me a new technique.

Initially I had to create 4-5 separate sheets of coloured watercolour paper using the ‘wet-on-wet’ technique. This required applying a wash of watercolour and applying a second wash whilst the first one was still wet. Once the papers were dry I had to cut out shapes such as leaves, flowers, etc. and form a picture. The exercise requires the use of a variety of interesting, bold shapes whilst paying attention to the surrounding negative space.

Bearing in mind all the requirements I did this waterfall scene:

Illustrating Children's Book Course

First of all I drew the entire scene on a sheet of paper and traced the elements onto the appropriate coloured papers. I used swirling shapes to convey the swift movement of water. These shapes were cut out of parts of the sheet of blues which had retained the white sparkle of the watercolour paper. I felt it helped to create the impression of sprays of water and the sparkle caused by sunlight falling on water. I retained a white space between the water and the leftmost blade of grass to create an impression of depth. The grass and flowers are depicted as being on the edge of a hill or a mountain with the waterfall cascading. Although cutting the curved shapes was a bit difficult, seeing the picture take on a 3D look was a fantastic experience.

Next I wanted to try out a collage which narrated a story. This was the result:

Illustrating Children's Book Course

The idea for this picture came from an actual incident which happened in our fish pond. I used shades of blue intermingled with the white of the watercolour paper for the waves. As in the waterfall scene, my aim was to create an impression of sparkling water. I incorporated the negative spaces between the shapes into the composition such as in the white stripes on the body of the fish. The leaves and the chameleon were cut into shapes which would stand out against the white background.

By now I had begun to enjoy this exercise so much that I wanted to do a third version. So I decided to do one which could be either a part of a story or the depiction of a scene. A bird flying home was the result:

Illustrating Children's Books

Although I drew the bird from real life reference I gave it a fanciful touch by using different colours for the plumage. The leaves and stems of flowers surrounding the stand of the birds’ house were cut to give an impression of movement. I incorporated the negative space between the various shapes into the composition as in the tiles on the roof of the birds’ house.

I sent all the collages to our tutor stating that I preferred the one of the fish as it combines varied, bold shapes and presents a visually arresting story. She agreed, stating that it is “a great balanced composition with real personality and good use of the wet-in-wet technique. I especially like the use of the shapes of the waves and curls of water, which give a great feeling of rhythm and pattern”.

Deepthi Horagoda


Pet Portrait Online Art Course – Mel Newing

We have received a wonderful email from student Mel Newing who is currently studying with tutor Gayle Mason on the Pet Portrait Online Art Course

Mel said …

“I’ve just submitted my first assignment into Gayle for the Pet Portrait course which I recently signed up for.  I’ve been drawing since 2012 teaching myself along the way, but finally decided that I needed some direction to take my work to the next level.

The first piece we had to submit was a still life of a jug.  I was slightly apprehensive – the last time I drew anything like this was at school in about 1994!  This is the graphite pencil section so it’s all about tonal work.  The first animal piece was a chocolate labrador.  Here’s my attempt – I can see where I need to improve and the things I need to work on but I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this character!”

We are thrilled that Mel is enjoying her course and the assignments and are looking forward to seeing more of her work in the coming weeks and months. If you would like to join Mel on the Diploma, why not pop over to our Pet Portrait Online Art Course page where you can find out lots more about the course and tutor Gayle.

Pet Portrait Online Art Course

Pet Portrait Online Art Course

Post by Shevaun Doherty – Botanical Drawing Course

I have a really promising student, Hilde Orye, whose work for assignment 1 (line drawings) is superb. I am impressed with how she has managed to convey the sense of space within her work, by simply adjusting the weight of her lines. This is a great example of what I am looking for in Assignment 1 and hope that this blog post serves as inspiration for my students!

Botanical Drawing Course Botanical Drawing Course

Cartooning Online Art Course – Rosalyn Van Loock

My name is Rosalyn Van Loock. While studying under John Byrne over the past year on the Cartooning Online Art Course, I simultaneously produced a book which is 50% Illustrations. I am really excited as it has just been accepted for publication. All proceeds will go to charities that support people with independent living in the community. Thanks to London Art College for your encouragement!

Book Synopsis:

“Dr. High Would Like to Review Your Medication” is a light hearted and comedic autobiography. It details the life story of a woman diagnosed with Schizophrenia from her early twenties.

Focusing on bridging the divide between wellness and illness, it opens the world of a “Mental ill Health” patient. With a funny take on the tragic elements and the periods of wellness, the protagonist seizes the day and travels to seek adventures.

Interspersed with intermissions where Mental ill Health issues are addressed from the “Horses Mouth” there is much to explore, discuss and consider for patients, professionals and anyone with an interest in Mental Health.”


Rosalyn Van Loock
Cartooning Online Art Course 

Cartooning Online Art Course

Cartooning Online Art Course

Cartooning Online Art Course

Cartooning Online Art Course

Cartooning Online Art Course

Pet Portraits Online Art Course

Student Valerie Nicola  is currently working though our Pet Portraits Online Art Course and these are her latest two portraits for submission. We love the horse painting with the green coloured background, the colours really set off the the horse beautifully. Valerie has taken time over working out how to paint the tack which can be quite tricky and it looks lovely and shiny.  The coloured pencil drawing of the German Shepherd is superb too.

Tutor Gayle said about the painting….

The subtle background is excellent, it complements the horse perfectly without drawing the viewer’s attention. I would have left out the little bit of fence as without seeing the photograph it would be really hard for the viewer to decide what it was. Think to yourself does this object add anything to my painting? If the answer is no then leave it out.

If you enjoy drawing and painting animals and would like a little guidance from a professional pet and wildlife artist, why not head on over to our website to find out more. The Pet Portraits Online Art Course is a great foundation for any artists from beginner to intermediate and those who wish to become a professional pet portrait artists too.

pet portraits online art course

pet portraits online art course

Botanical Drawing

Todays post is about two very talented students who are studying on the Botanical Online art course with Shevaun Doherty. This section of the course specialises in botanical drawing. Both Sian Jones and Lynda Newnes have created two beautiful pieces for their course work.

Tutor Shevaun said

Sian Jones did a lovely piece  in graphite for Assignment 2 and Lynda Newnes did a superb piece in pen and ink for assignment 4, another artichoke. It’s funny but the pen and ink assignment is the one that they all fear the most, but the results are always impressive. I loved this because it had an almost vintage style to it. 

Botanical Drawing Course

Botanical Drawing Course 

Landscape Online Art Course – Jackie Davies

Jackie Davies has created two beautiful paintings for the Landscape Online Art Course which you can see below. Jackie also completed our  Illustrating Children’s Online Art Course too. Jackie has been painting for about 10 years and has even run some local mixed media art courses near to her home town of Swansea, UK.


Jackie said…

I work mainly in acrylic and mixed media in which collage often plays a part. I like to experiment in my work. I also work in watercolour usually very loose wet in wet. I exhibit and sell locally. Although I have been painting for a few years, mostly flowers and local seascapes I still feel I have so much to learn. I would like to depict the lie of the land and the way the light hits it and convey the beauty of trees. I especially love windswept trees and those on the skyline. I would also like to depict headlands in seascapes which have contours rather than just a dark mass. Im looking forward to working with Alan on the Landscape Online Art Course.


We love Jackie’s artwork and are positive that she will go on to have many exhibitions and create some stunning artwork in the months and years to follow. We hope our readers find them inspiring! If you would like to have a go at painting and drawing landscapes, have a look at our course details on our website.

Our tutor Alan, is extremely experienced in both landscape painting and working in all media. His Landscape Online Art Course Diploma is excellent for beginner and intermediate artists alike. If you prefer only using watercolour for your landscapes, you might also like to check out Jem’s Watercolour Course too. He creates some absolutely stunning landscapes and is a superb tutor. Visit our website for more details…London Art College


Landscape Online Art Course

Landscape Online Art Course

Illustrating Children’s Books Online Art Course – Michelle Thomas

Michelle Thomas is currently studying with Maggy Roberts on the Illustrating Children’s Books Online Art Course. The first piece of artwork which you can see below is wonderfully designed. Michelle has created a double page spread for a Children’s book about a cat floating down the stream. Is the cat really dreaming though?! We have added a detail of each side of the painting below to show it in more detail.

Maggy said

The little cat character is well seen and the sense of space and depth is good. Michelle has a well-developed personal style, which she can utilise a lot throughout the course.

The second illustration Michelle submitted was a collage style piece. It utilises Michelle’s own wet in wet washes cut into shapes to create a scene. We love the colours Michelle has used and the shapes she has cut are bold and strong which makes for a good narrative within the piece.

We hope you enjoy viewing Michelle’s work. If you would like to have a go at Illustrating children’s books and with the online guidance of a personal tutor, why not pop over to our website to find out more. Illustrating Children’s Books Online Art Diploma Course >>


Illustrating Children's Books Online Art Course

Illustrating Children's Books Online Art Course


Coloured Pencil Drawing – Alison Hughes

Alison Huges has created another superb piece for her coursework on the coloured pencil drawing course. Its amazing how drawing very simple objects like these can turn into a stunning drawing.

Glass is not an easy subject to draw either. With all of the reflections, distortions and the liquid inside, it can take a lot of concentration to get it right.

Alison has done a wonderful job here and we understand as the viewer, that the glass is solid yet see through and we can see the objects behind too. We also love the build up on the coloured pencils in the greens and reds of the can and sweets.

Overall this is a superb drawing and Alison should be extremely pleased with her results!