Online Summer Camp Intensive in Illustration 2020

July 16 - 20, 2020

Join Us Online

We’ve reinvented our Illustration Summer Camp as an online experience, with four whole days of faculty demonstrations, mentorship, portfolio/dummy feedback, and peer community. We’ve been doing this for over 35 years, and within this year’s unique structure you can expect the same focus on craft, community & mentorship that we’ve always provided. Join us for:

  • An immersive experience rich in community, craft, and mentorship that will keep you inspired and accountable this summer.
  • COMMUNITY: Meetups with peers in small group sessions facilitated by publishing professionals, and informal gatherings to discuss goals, art supplies, and more.
  • CRAFT: Daily LIVE faculty lectures and demonstrations (6 pm EDT) followed by a Q & A session with each faculty member.
  • MENTORSHIP: 1:1 feedback on a full picture book manuscript, or dummy, or ten pages of a longer illustrated text, or digital portfolio review, followed by a 20-minute video call to review the written feedback. In addition, peer review sessions with an art director or editor to share character sketches and discuss projects.

Note: All faculty demos will be recorded so that you can follow along during the live session, or watch and try your hand at the demonstration on your own time. You will have access to recordings for 30 days.

Online Workshop Participant Cap:


What You’ll Learn & Experience:

At our online Illustration Summer Camp, you will:

  • Discover the professional journeys of each faculty member.
  • Immerse yourself in illustration techniques and gain tools for storytelling.
  • Explore the children’s book market with authors, illustrators, and art directors currently in the field.
  • Attend a Q&A with an editor and an art director.
  • Find and advance ideas through play, doodling, book dummies, character development, and more.

Attend If:

  • You’re new to children’s book illustration. You’ll get a one-to-one critique that will help you get ready to start submitting, and you’ll learn about what art directors expect when you do.
  • You’re an experienced artist who is curious about how to get started in children’s publishing. You will find out about the children’s market, learn about and get feedback from faculty mentors.
  • You’re a published children’s illustrator. Learn new illustration techniques! Find and advance ideas through play, doodling, book dummies, character development, and more.
  • You’re in need of some artistic inspiration. Join us for four unique demos, discussions on character, creativity, and more!


True Confessions of a Picture Book Illustrator
In two blog posts, Elizabeth Rose Stanton comes to some peace with her issues, including her “colored pencil problem” and her realization that “my supply of watercolors will probably outlive me.” Read Part 1, and then read Part 2. Be ready to laugh!

Steve Light: Creative Spaces
In this video from All the Wonders, you will get an insight into Steve’s illustration process, learn about the tools he used as a child, and hear wonderful advice for any aspiring artist. Watch the video.

Author-Illustrator Spotlight: Kathryn Otoshi
Great interview on Kidlit411 with Kathryn Otoshi about process and publication. Read it here.

Crafting Your Picture Book Dummy
Lisa Cinelli gives you step-by-step instructions for how to create a picture book dummy, ready for submission. Find out how!

Let the Book Come to You
Robert Blake shares his best practices for using journals and sketchbooks. Can you believe he has 25,000 pages in his personal sketchbook library? Read about them here.

Graphic Novelists Need to Write in Pictures
Matt Phelan shares his particular method for creating comics. Find out what it is

Get It Right With Research
Don Tate shares the process he went through to get the details right for his nonfictionpicture book biography about the creator of the Super Soaker water gun. Glimpse his process here.


“The experience I had at the Illustrators Intensive was absolutely invaluable! The highlight (ha) for me was meeting my mentor (Mike Curato). He provided really focused feedback on my dummy and helped me push it to be so much better. Seeing his demos were magical, as was getting to hang out with him as a fellow artist and human. I appreciate how supportive and kind he was, in spite of being a kidlit world rock star. Thank you for providing a place where you foster these creative connections, and helping us inch closer to making our dreams come true!”–Saki Tanaka

“I highly recommend the Highlights Illustration Intensive to anyone who is just beginning or wants to hone their skills as an illustrator. The faculty was a well-rounded group of talent that were extremely welcoming and shared much guidance in the field of children’s books. I enjoyed the variety of techniques that were taught and the opportunity to play with mediums and methods I don’t often use. “–Gael Abary


Steve Light

Steve Light grew up in an enchanted place known as New Jersey. He went on to study Illustration at Pratt…
Learn more

Joe Cepeda

Preferring grace over style, insight and message over technique, and story over extravagance, Joe seeks to create work with integrity…
Learn more

Mike Curato

Special Guest Mike Curato loves drawing and writing almost as much as he loves cupcakes and ice cream (and that’s…
Learn more