This course has concessions available

Illustration For All Levels

This course focuses on illustration projects that are suitable for all levels, including those looking to build a portfolio or move into a career in illustration. The course will help you to develop the skills required to illustrate a range of projects from editorial, narrative and design based 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 course is ideal for students of all levels. If you are new to illustration it is important that you have done a bit of drawing before: More experienced students might wish to develop a personal style, prepare an illustration portfolio or just learn more about illustration. You will all learn to follow a brief and deliver a finished piece of artwork within a set time frame.

What does this course cover

Each term/course we look at a different area of illustration. Students can either pick the course to suit their interests or complete all 3 over the year to gain a good understanding of the range of illustration available.
Term 1 is an introduction to illustration. We will look at general illustration themes, hand drawn text, narrative and editorial illustration.
In Term 2 the focus is book illustration in many forms such as children's, character design, adult fiction, graphic novels and zines.
In Term 3, the focus is illustrating for design. We will look at illustrating posters, packaging and live projects amongst others.
Across all 3 terms we will look at the specific skills needed for different types of illustration. You will learn how to work through a brief from rough ideas to finished artwork. We will examine how text and image work together and you will be shown examples of leading illustrators within the different fields of illustration to inspire you and create an understanding of what makes a successful illustration and how it communicates to the viewer. Through looking at a variety of illustration based projects you'll get the chance to use your imagination and develop your narrative and design skills alongside your drawing skills.
Students will be introduced to a range of different materials provided on the course and encouraged to experiment with different ways of working. Through experimenting with hand-made processes (not digital) you will develop a personal way of working and improve your visual language.

What will it be like

The learning atmosphere is friendly and relaxed in a small class of 12 students. You will learn through self-directed exploration and development with the encouragement of a practicing illustrator and your peers. You will be working on drawing and painting exercises and individually on briefs that are set or are welcome to develop your own personal projects, such as a children's book. During each class you will have one to one individual advice and support from the tutor.
A typical class begins with a quick 'round the table' look at student work in response to the current brief. This is a chance to bond as a group and learn from your peers in a positive way, as well as being inspired by others' 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

It is highly recommended that you provide your own paintbrushes and be prepared to buy and use a hardback A4 sketchbook (preferably bound, rather than spiral for durability) for personal development and research for illustration projects, warm ups and drawing etc. Basic materials are supplied but if you can invest in a range of your own materials especially for use in your own time and to complete homework, you will be able to develop your work further.

What this course could lead to

Other illustration courses such as the Drawing & Painting skills for Illustration, 3 day Children's Book Illustration Course, or other drawing and print courses at Mary Ward Centre or elsewhere.
Some students have gone on to study MA, sometimes choosing to maintain links with the course whilst working. Exhibiting/selling work. Individual advice will be available.

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.

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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.’