This course has concessions available

Drawing and Painting Skills for Illustration

Are you interested in illustration, but not confident in your drawing or painting skills? Or maybe you are interested in drawing and painting with a narrative feel?
This practical course covers drawing and painting skills needed for illustration.

Tutor Bio: Sophie Ambrose is a published children's book author and illustrator. Her first book, The Lonely Giant was published in 2016 and Bedtime for Albie was published in 2019, both with Walker Books. Sophie enjoys teaching illustration and drawing to adults and running author illustrator workshops in schools.
If you would like enrol at the concession rate, please request and complete your enrolment by contacting: or calling 020 7269 6000 Mon- Thu

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

This new course is for beginner/intermediate students or for those who wish to brush up their drawing and painting skills. You will learn how to apply practical skills to illustration projects.

What does this course cover

Each term will have a different focus. In term 1 drawing with black and white media, In term 2 colour and composition and term 3 people and places. There will be a mixture of practical exercises and experimenting with different materials and ways of working. We'll also look at examples of illustrators and artist's work related to each project.

In term 1 (Autumn) we will focus on drawing skills using different medias in monochrome and introducing colour nearer the end of the term. We'll use a mixture of drawing from observation and reference material. You will learn how to use your drawings as source material for simple illustration briefs.

In term 2 (Spring) we will examine colour and composition, looking at different ways of composing illustrations and experimenting with different mediums to create colour. Projects will vary from practical exercises and workshops to illustration projects.

In term 3 (Summer) we'll focus on people and places. We'll look at reportage illustration and draw outdoors. We'll learn how to draw the figure, and use those drawings to create illustrations for a story brief. We'll also look at drawing children (through ref material) and use those skills to create characters for children's books

What will it be like

The learning atmosphere is friendly and relaxed in a small class of 12 students. The projects will vary from practical drawing and painting exercises, to simple illustration or narrative projects where you can apply your drawing and painting skills and use your imagination. You will learn through self-directed exploration and development with the encouragement of a practicing illustrator and your peers. During each class you will have one to one individual advice and support from the tutor.
A typical class begins with either a demo/handouts/slides of artists and illustrators work in relation to the project of the day. At the end of a project there will be time to see each other's work and discuss in a positive and supportive way, as well as being inspired by each other's work. Your tutor, Sophie Ambrose is a published children's book author illustrator who has worked with leading UK publishers such as Walker Books and Heinemann, as well as experience illustrating within the design and advertising industries.

Teaching methods: Visual demonstration and verbal explanation. Written handouts with visual diagrams. One-to-one teaching. Group discussions
Learning methods: Hands-on practical activities, Reading handouts and following instructions.
One-to-one and group discussion.
How students are assessed: Questions and answers during group discussions and one-to-one teaching.
Record of students' progress and achievement on an assessment sheet as they achieve the course objectives. Practical work produced is evidence of learning.

What else do you need to buy or do

You will need: A4 or A3 hardbacked sketchbook (preferably bound rather than spiralbound for durability) a range of soft sketching pencils, eraser, sharpener, roll of masking tape, a
range of coloured pencils, range of synthetic brushes round and filbert (flat with a rounded edge) At least one larger brush for painting larger areas (brush width 20 - 25cm) DIY stores are a good place to buy half or 1 inch pointed and flat brushes. Basic materials are supplied but if you can invest in your own paints and materials, you will be able to develop your work further in your own time and for homework.

What this course could lead to

Other illustration courses such as Illustration For All Levels, the 3 day Illustrating Children's Books or other drawing and print courses at Mary Ward Centre.

There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre. Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: and from the following websites:;;;;

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I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’