Online Class

People in Picture Books: Developing Your Main Character

Get own-forever classes for less than $8 a month!
As an annual Bluprint member, you'll choose one own-forever class to add to your library each month
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Learn to develop and draw original characters brimming with personality for picture books that kids (and adults!) can't put down.

Skill Level


What You Get

  • 7 Streaming HD video lessons with anytime, anywhere access
  • Class materials
  • Hours of close-up instruction
  • Answers to student questions from instructor Doreen Mulryan
  • Closed captioning available (web only)

How it works

  • Once you purchase, find your class in your class library.
  • Watch on any device anytime.
  • Find downloadable class resources in the class viewer.


Create strong picture book characters for your stories! With picture book illustrator Doreen Mulryan as your guide, you'll start with finding inspiration for your character by building a mood board. Next, learn to draw your character's basic anatomy in a variety of poses and get tips for adding facial features, hands and feet that look just right. Make your characters unique as you establish their body type, select their clothing and explore different aesthetic styles. Get to know your protagonist's personality through a character sheet and create a turnaround that will help you draw characters from any angle. Plus, build confidence telling your story visually and get Doreen's tips for using color to bring your character to life.

Lesson Breakdown

1. Warm-Up
Meet Doreen Mulryan, children's book illustrator extraordinaire and your guide to developing a strong main character. In this first lesson, you'll learn all about how to get started. From picking the right materials to brainstorming your character's personality traits, Doreen has you covered!
2. Basic Pose & Construction
3. Faces, Expressions, Hands & Feet
4. Types of Characters
5. Developing Your Character
6. Finding Your Story
7. Incorporating Color

Recommended with this class

  • Standard art supplies: pencils, pens, surfaces, kneaded eraser
  • Watercolor paints, watercolor brushes
  • Colored pencils

Taught by

Doreen Mulryan
Doreen Mulryan
For as long as Doreen can remember, all she's ever wanted to do was draw and ice skate. She carried her love of drawing into college, attending Carnegie Mellon University as a fine arts major, before moving on to New York's School of Visual Arts, where she received her degree in illustration and cartooning. After graduation, Doreen worked at Marvel Comics as a production assistant before designing children's toys at Russ Berrie. Now, when she's not skating with her roller derby team, Doreen teaches art to kids and illustrates children's books. Some of Doreen's books include Frankly Frannie and Pinkabella.

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