Course at a Glance:
At the Time of My Review:
Course Title: Expressive Picture Book Characters
Course Subtitle: Use easy, effective techniques to draw believable human and animal characters with page-turning personality.
Instructor: Lynne Chapman
Platform: I took this course on Craftsy.com
Current Runtime: About 2 hrs 46 minutes
Number of Lectures: 7
Skill Level: Beginner
Promo Video: Yes
Audio/Video Quality: Both are good. The audio is clear. The video quality is great throughout the course. You can easily see the detail in each drawing lesson.
Accent/Speaking Pace: The instructor has an English accent that is easy to understand. The pacing is comfortable throughout. The lessons can be sped up or slowed down as needed.
Lecture Type: Talking Head, Over-the-Shoulder
Supplementary Materials (i.e. handouts): There is a supplies and resources one-page handout for the course. This handout lists the suggested supplies for you to use. It also lists the book information for all of the book illustrations shown throughout the course. All of the illustrations shown are actual illustrations created by Lynne.
Course in a Minute:
Expressive Picture Book Characters is a nicely thought out course that is perfect for anyone wishing to delve into children’s book character drawing. Lynne shows you step-by-step what goes in to creating illustrations and explains what she is thinking as she creates different characters. The course covers a lot of drawing territory while staying fun and upbeat. It has a high re-play factor and is a great course to take if you enjoy the fun of drawing. It would make a great gift if you are searching for a gift idea for an aspiring children’s illustrator.
Course Skill Level:
The skill level for this course is listed as beginner. Lynne starts with the very basics of cartoon character construction and her upbeat and friendly teaching style does make the course a perfect choice for the beginning illustrator.
However, I also think someone who has been drawing for a while as a hobby may also benefit from taking this course! Because Lynne explores some of the thought and technique behind this particular style of drawing, the course can actually help an amateur illustrator tighten up their illustrations and drawing habits in general. I know it has helped me!
In this course, Expressive Picture Book Characters, Lynne Chapman takes us on a journey into the wonderful and expressive world of picture book characters. Lynne teaches the nuances and thought behind drawing characters. Specifically we learn how to draw human characters and animal characters with a full range of emotion and personality. Lynne also explains how to convey the age of your character and what assets each character can have to make them unique, revealing how clothing, environment, and proportion can convey personality as well. She also teaches how characters can blend into a story that captures one’s attention and imagination.
After watching this course, you will understand what it is about picture book characters that gives them that special touch of whimsey.
I enjoyed seeing numerous examples of the techniques Lynne teaches. All of the illustrations were from Lynne’s own collection of over 30 children’s picture books. I actually went to my local library and discovered they had several of her books. I checked them out and analyzed them as I took the course.
This is one of the first drawing courses I have taken where I followed along with the instructor without pre-watching the course. This may be because I naturally gravitate toward cartoon picture book characters. Lynne has a great teaching style and had my full attention from the first lesson to the last. I kept up with her easily.
I highly recommend this course. I also think that this particular course would work well as a creative addition to an art class (take note homeschoolers!).
The way the course is produced, we see the whole drawing process as Lynne draws characters starting with a blank page and continues on until the character is complete for the lecture topic. When she is simply drawing and not teaching, the video is sped up slightly until she begins teaching again. I prefer this method of showing the full drawing process much more than cutting away to reveal an entirely finished sketch (as I have seen in other drawing courses I’ve taken). Seeing the full drawing process is part of the learning experience to me and in this course it is done well!
Lastly, the exercises Lynne encourages students to do are great. I thought her use of tracing paper to help you develop your expressive drawing skills was grand. And don’t forget to get your mirror out – trust me, it pays off!
I am so happy to have discovered this course. Its to-the-point style with a touch of whimsy has helped me become a more efficient illustrator while also retaining the fun of drawing in itself. Having a better understanding of what I should be thinking and questioning when I am dreaming up my characters has been a godsend.
Key Take-Away For Me:
The key take-away for me was Lynne’s teaching on movement. I am guilty of over using motion lines. Just on my first run through of the movement lesson, I could see instant improvement in my technique and planning.
Meg’s Content Cautions:
At the time I took the course, it was clean and free of objectionable materials.
For more information on the Meg’s Content Cautions rating system, please check out the FAQs page.
Where to Get the Course:
I took this course on Craftsy.
Instructor FAQs: Want to learn more about the instructor?
Craftsy.com Instructor Profile Page: http://www.craftsy.com/instructors/lynne-chapman