Pictures on a Page: a Brief History of Illustration

Ref: C2341798

What is illustration? How should we evaluate it in comparison to, say, a fine art painting? This one day course will provide a potted history of illustration and consider how it has responded to artistic and cultural developments as well technological innovations, from manuscript illumination to the age of full colour printing. The afternoon session will be specifically devoted to looking at the emergence and development of children's book illustration in the 19th and 20th centuries, focusing on renowned illustrators such as Beatrix Potter, Arthur Rackham and Maurice Sendak.

Course aim

From an Egyptian Book of the Dead to a bedtime story book; this course will look at the various roles played by illustration as part of artistic and cultural movements down the ages, as well as considering its defining, universal characteristics.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Define what illustration is
  • Identify similarities and differences in relation to illustration the prevailing art of the time
  • Form an opinion of the significance of illustrated stories in childhood development
  • Identify key technological and social developments that had an impact on illustration, such as innovations in printing, or the creation of public libraries

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • Students are welcome to bring illustrated books or posters etc from their personal collections

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

Pictures on a Page: a Brief History of Illustration

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This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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