Illustrated Books

Illustrated Books

A whole class art and literacy workshop where Year 5 and 6 pupils make illustrated books for a younger audience. The group devise a story and create illustrations inspired by a visit by ZSL London Zoo outreach team and a Macaw, but any animal will do. The workshop is artist led and was filmed in a London school.

Key Stage:

KS2 English National Curriculum: KS2 English, Year 5 and 6 Writing – Composition.


The nine films show how the group we worked with created an illustrated book telling a story inspired by contact with and life drawing of, an animal. In this case the animal was a Macaw from ZSL London Zoo but any other animal will do. The workshop was delivered over two days by artist Jane Porter with a group of Year 6 pupils. We suggest you break the workshop into two sessions as this allows the pattern sheets created with acrylic paint to fully dry.


A feathered celebrity pays a classroom visit. An overview of what is covered in this workshop and source of inspiration


Quick initial sketching using brightly coloured pastels. And more posing from the celeb! Drawing from life

Making a Pattern Library

Making a bank of patterns by scratching into acrylic paint. Creating textured sheets with acrylic paint Jane uses acrylic paint as part of this workshop and old clothes are advised for this part of the process.


Using a set of given words as a starter for story-writing. The group receive words to help their story along. In clip 4 you will see that the group using words supplied on printed sheets. We recommend you allow your class to also write additional words to improve the flow of their storylines using the preprinted words as inspiration for stories and sentences only.

Planning sheet

Sketching the layout of the storybook. Tips on planning your page spreads


Gutter space explained. How to make collage images using cut-out shapes. Creating the images for the story


Binding the pages. Putting the pages and covers together


Stitching the book. Sewing the book together The stitching section involves making a hole through the layers of paper and card with a bradawl or other sharp implement. This is best done by an adult.

End Product

Reflecting on the process and finished storybooks. Feedback on the activity,

Development Activity:

Using our interactive activity Picturebookmaker pupils can create their own children's picture book and send the results to a friend or print. You can also show the pupils the work of Sarah Dyer on Culture Street who draws animals at ZSL London Zoo.

Learning Objectives:

Pupils should increase their proficiency in the handling of different materials.
Pupils should be taught: To plan their writing by: identifying the audience for and purpose of the writing selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own noting and developing initial ideas, drawing on reading and research where necessary in writing narratives considering how authors have developed characters and settings in what pupils have read, listened to or seen performed

Research, Notes and Links:

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