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Children’s Book Illustration

Children's book illustrators capture the imagination, delight the senses, and engage the minds of kids.

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About the Children’s Book Illustration Program

UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your educational goals. We have transitioned many of our courses to an ONLINE* or LIVE ONLINE* format, in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We will resume in-person classes when it is deemed safe to do so.
*ONLINE classes have pre-recorded lectures each week and guided assignments from the instructor.
*LIVE ONLINE classes are fully online with live virtual class meetings each week using our Zoom conferencing system.

Engage the Minds of Children by Learning the Skills to Become a Successful Children’s Book Illustrator

Gain the skills and education needed to become a children's book illustrator when you enroll in the Children’s Book Illustration certification program. Learn how to capture the imagination, delight the senses, and engage the minds of millions of children daily. You will focus on learning how to translate text into imagery that children can process and enjoy while also sharing accurate information. The program focuses on three areas to help you become a successful illustrator: Know the techniques and skills that captivate children's minds, sustain their attention, and enrich the reading experience.

  • A solid foundation in the specialized skillsets that improve your chances of getting published.
  • An introduction to a wide variety of media and advanced topics required for a thriving career.
  • How to build an illustration portfolio in preparation for a capstone Getting Published course.
  • Figure drawing, how to draw animals, digital illustration and how to use Adobe products to support production of imagery.
  • The art of navigating the children’s book market.
  • The history of children’s literature, to provide a deeper understanding of the evolution of this genre.
  • How to think in pictures and focus on style as it relates to illustration.

You will also learn to understand storyboarding, basic book structure and format, character development, style, and self-promotional strategies. Lastly, participants will gain knowledge of how to work effectively with designers, editors, and sometimes directly with authors to create the best possible manuscript.

  • Children’s book creators who are seeking to hone their skillset and enhance their abilities.
  • Artists looking to expand their illustration and design expertise.
  • Writers seeking to craft a children’s book from content to creation.
  • Designers, creative writers and authors desiring to expand their versatility and increase career opportunities.
Format: In-Person, Online

Varies by course and quarter.

Estimated Cost: $2,500

Early enrollment discount available. Cost does not include textbooks, materials or parking.

Duration: 12 -18 months

Dependent on number of courses taken per quarter.

Contact
Department
Arts, Humanities, Languages & Digital Arts
Phone
858-534-5760
Email
ahl@ucsd.edu

Courses

Delivery Method
Show Legend
  • Live Online
  • In-Person
  • Online
  • Hybrid
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Information Session

(Learn more about the program in a free, online Information Session)

Children's Book Illustration & Writing Programs - Information SessionINFO-70117

Units: 0.00

Free

Interested in learning more about breaking into the field of Children's Book illustration or Writing? In this free, on-demand information session, find out about our Children's Book Illustration and W...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Required Courses

12 units

Children's Book Illustration I: Thinking in PicturesART-40634

Units: 3.00

$395

Children s Book Illustration I: Thinking in PicturesDo you have an idea for a children s book? Or have you always wondered how to make a story come alive through art? Learn to create stories through ...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Winter, Summer

Children's Book Illustration II: Focus on StyleART-40635

Units: 3.00

$395

Build on your illustration experience and develop your style with this fast-paced children s illustration course. We will focus on developing your children s illustration abilities by experimenting wi...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring

History of Children's LiteratureLIT-40093

Units: 3.00

$395

Gain a deep understanding of the history of children s literature by studying classics of post-enlightenment writing for children. This course provides children s book writers, illustrators and enthus...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring

Final Required Course

(All other Required Courses and Electives must be completed first)

Getting Published: Navigating the Children's Book MarketART-40636

Units: 3.00

TBD

#blankSection {display:none !important;} Getting Published: Navigating the Children s Book MarketCourse Overview This final, required course in the Children s Book Illustration Certificate and Childr...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Winter

Electives

Min 6 units required (Offerings subject to change. Certificate students must follow Matrix as listed in their MyExtension account.)

Illustrating Children's Books: Portfolio DevelopmentART-40388

Units: 2.00

TBD

Designed for advanced students who have fulfilled most certificate requirements, this course focuses on examining a variety of traditional contemporary illustration styles, and completing a series o...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Writing Children's Picture BooksWCWP-40261

Units: 3.00

$350

Let the wild rumpus begin! Do you dream of imaginary lands and mythical creatures? Learn how to inspire a child s imagination by giving them the tools necessary to explore the world around them. The ...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring

Adobe PhotoshopART-40311

Units: 3.00

$570-$595

Adobe Photoshop I: Introduction 9 Weeks | $595 | Online In-ClassAn introduction to Adobe Photoshop, the imaging software application used by professional graphic artists to create and modify images...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Digital Illustration Using a Graphics TabletART-40651

Units: 3.00

$295

Digital Illustration Using a Graphics Tablet 9 Weeks | $295 | OnlineLearn to maximize the drawing and painting tools inside professional art and design programs while using a graphics tablet. Graphic...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Spring

Introduction to IllustrationART-40428

Units: 3.00

$295

Introduction to Illustration 9 Weeks | $295 | In-ClassLearn the fundamentals of illustration by exploring the link between language and image. Translate ideas, text, or narrative into pictures that c...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Summer

Animal IllustrationART-40162

Units: 3.00

$295

Animal Illustration 9 weeks | $295 | In-Class Focus for Spring 2021: PAINTING ANIMALS IN WATERCOLOR. Learn how to capture the spirit of animals in your artwork with a focus on using watercolor. Th...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Winter, Summer

Figure Drawing IART-40006

Units: 3.00

$315

Figure Drawing I 9 Weeks | $325 | In-ClassGain greater confidence in your ability to compose and render the human form. This course provides an in-depth study of how to draw the human figure using li...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Courses of Interest

(Not required/Does not count toward certificate)

Adobe IllustratorART-40527

Units: 3.00

$570-$595

Adobe Illustrator 9 Weeks | $595 | Online In-ClassLearn the industry-standard professional vector drawing program Adobe Illustrator. In this graphic design training course, students will gain pract...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Playing with Pen & InkART-40661

Units: 3.00

TBD

Playing with Pen Ink 9 weeks | $295 | In-Class Playing with Pen and Ink is an introduction to ink drawing and its unique effects. We will explore the broad variety and versatility of pen and ink ...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Winter

Drawing Ideas: Developing Your SketchbookART-40447

Units: 3.00

TBD

Drawing Ideas: Developing Your Sketchbook 9 Weeks | $295 | In-ClassDrawing in your sketchbook regularly is one of the best ways to improve your drawing skills and to exercise your creativity, as well...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Spring

Creative Process IART-40191

Units: 3.00

$295

Creative Process I 8 Weeks | $295 | In-ClassIn the supportive atmosphere of this studio class, you will explore a variety of art materials and techniques with stimulating projects that will spark you...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter

Introduction to PaintingART-40180

Units: 3.00

$295

Introduction to Painting 9 Weeks | $295 | In-ClassDevelop a strong foundation in painting. In this course, students have the opportunity to explore basic painting techniques while developing visual a...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring

Additional Information

For further information about this program, please enroll in the online on-demand Children’s Book Writing & Illustration Program Information Session. Questions about our classes or certificates? Contact our department at 858-534-5760 or ahl@ucsd.edu.

Conditions for Admission

Please see the application for specific admission requirements for this program.

Although a college degree or professional experience in the field are not required, applicants with such experience may receive preference for admission when program capacity is limited.

Current UCSD students may be considered for admission depending on their academic and career focus and educational performance.

Certificate Guidelines

The Specialized Certificate in Children's Book Illustration consists of 18 total units that can be completed in 3-6 quarters (taking 1-2 courses per quarter). Tuition is $395-595 per course.

About Online Courses

  • Online courses in this certificate are led by live instructors, but students may view lectures according to their own schedules. There are no set lecture dates or times; however, students will be required to meet weekly assignment deadlines, participate in critiques, and contribute to discussion topics.
  • Online students should expect to spend four to six hours per week per course.
  • Online students must provide their own software.
  • To preview our e-learning system, visit ucsdextension.blackboard.com.
  • For system requirements, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Expand All

Will I get hands-on experience in the program?

Most courses combine theory with hands-on exercises. Our courses are taught by professionals who work in the field they teach, and will bring real-life projects and examples to your course.
 

If I work full-time, will I still be able to complete this program?

Yes. Our programs are designed to be working-student friendly and most of our students are working professionals. Many courses vary between two and three units, which amount to approximately 18-20 hours of class time for a two-unit course and 27-30 hours of class time for a three-unit course.
 

How long is each course?

Most of the courses in this program are 3 units. 3-unit courses run for 9 weeks with 3 classroom hours per week (totalling 27 classroom hours). For exact course dates of upcoming sections, visit the webpage of the course you are interested in taking on our website.
 

How many hours can I expect to spend studying outside of class time?

Each student has their own learning style so this can vary greatly. As a rule of thumb, expect to spend an average of two hours studying for every hour you spend in-class. For online courses, students should plan to spend approximately 8-10 hours per week viewing lectures and completing coursework.
 

How long does it take to complete this certificate?

You officially have five years to complete all requirements for the certificate, although students can typically complete the entire program in 12-16 months (4-6 quarters) when taking 1-2 courses per quarter.
 

How much does this program cost?

All required courses cost $395 each. Electives range in price from $295 to $595. The estimated cost of the certificate program (not including  textbooks/materials) is $2,170-$2,500.
Students pay as they go when they register for classes, not in one lump sum.
 

Is the program accredited?

UC San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). UC San Diego Extension — like all other UC San Diego schools, colleges, and departments — is accredited by WASC through the University. All courses and certificate programs offered by UC San Diego Extension have been developed and are administered in accordance with Extension policy and the regulations of the Academic Senate of the University of California.
 

Is financial assistance available?

UC San Diego Extension facilitates private education loans through UC Approved Lenders for students officially enrolled in a certificate. Information on these programs can be found at extension.ucsd.edu/financial. State-Funded Training is available through EDD (Employment Development Dept.); more information can be found on their website: www.edd.ca.gov.
 

How do I get my certificate once I have completed the requirements?

When you have paid your certificate fee and successfully completed all program requirements, you will need to request an audit by Student Services. To request an audit:
•                In your My Extension account, click on “My Courses.”
•                On the right side of the page under “My Certificates,” click on the name of the certificate.
•                On the right side of the page under “Tools,” click on “Request Certificate Audit.”
•                Complete and submit the form that appears.
Once you have formally submitted your audit request, your certificate will be mailed to the address we have on file for you within ten business days.
 

Can I register for the certificate program at any time?

Yes, you may enroll in the program at any time. However, it is recommended that you enroll as soon as possible. The program curriculum may be updated at any time; if certificate requirements change, you must adhere to the curriculum at the time of your enrollment into the certificate. Enrolling in the certificate also gives you access to quarterly, personalized enrollment reminders from the program manager.
 

Can I take a course without registering for the certificate?

Yes, students have the option to take any course in this program without registering for the certificate, provided any and all prerequisites for the course have been fulfilled.
 

When should I enroll in my class(es)?

We recommend enrolling as soon as possible. Many of our core certificate courses may fill up before the course start date. Each quarter we also offer an early enrollment discount of $25 on select courses if you enroll by the discount deadline.
Students are advised to be enrolled no later than the day before the start date of the course.
 

How do I enroll in a class?

To enroll in a class, click on the class link in the course matrix above and that will take you to the specific class page. On the class page you can find additional details about the course such as start date, time, classroom number, instructor and textbook info.  To enroll click on “Add to Cart” which will lead you to complete the registration/payment process. You can also register over the phone with Student Services at 858-534-3400.
 

What are the grading options?

When students enroll in a class they are given three grading options: Letter grade, Pass/No Pass, or Not for Credit. Students taking a class as part of a certificate need to complete their classes for credit (i.e. Pass/No Pass or Letter grade) and receive a C-/Pass or higher grade.
Grades below a C-, No Pass, and Not for Credit do not count towards certificate requirements.
 

How are online classes formatted?

Online courses are asynchronous. Students do not need to meet at a specific time online, but will need to log in each week to view the lessons, participate in course discussion, and complete and submit coursework/quizzes/tests.
 

When will I have access to my online information session or course?

You will have access to an online class on the official start date of the class. Access will be available at 12:01am Pacific Time.
Enrollment to online classes can take up to 24 hours to process and sync with our online classroom platform. For example, if a class started on Tuesday and that is the day a student enrolled, they will likely not have full access to the class until 24 hours later on Wednesday.
 

Where are the in-person classes held?

All in-class courses take place at either our UCSD Extension Complex on the west side of UCSD campus, or at our University City Center building location off the 805 Freeway at Governor Dr.

Additional questions?

For questions regarding these courses and certificate, please contact us at ahl@ucsd.edu or 858-534-5760.
 

Advisory Board

Joy Chu, B.F.A.

Principal, Joy Chu Designs; Instructor

UC San Diego Extension

Edith Fine

Author

Deborah Halverson

Author and Freelance Editor

Seth Lerer

Dean, Arts and Humanities

UC San Diego

Annika Nelson, B.A.

Artist, Instructor; Program Manager

UC San Diego Extension

Brian Selznick

Author

Kelly Sonnack

Agent

Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Peter Thomas, M.A., Ed.M.

Assoc. Director, Arts, Humanities, Languages, Digital Arts

UC San Diego Extension

Blair Thornley

Illustrator, Painter and Animator

Sarah Tomp

Author

Andrea Zimmerman

Author

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This certificate requires an application before taking any courses. There will be a $0 fee to apply to this program. Students will also be required to pay a $95 certificate fee upon enrollment into the program after acceptance. View the complete Certificate Registration and Candidacy Guidelines.