Online Class

Picture Book Illustration: Animal Characters

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
Gift Bluprint

Develop and refine enchanting animal characters that captivate audiences of all ages!

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 Eric Johnson
  • 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.


Join illustrator Eric Johnson and master the art of animal character design from start to finish! Learn how to conceptualize and develop an endearing, realistic character using thumbnail sketches, and add expressive human characteristics with Eric's expert tips. Create a captivating visual narrative as you explore a variety of poses, props and settings, and refine perspective, scale and balance for a lifelike composition. Experiment with various color palettes to convey mood and emotion, and delve into two mixed-media methods to enhance your work with depth and lively hues. From the celebrated ink-and-watercolor style of Randolph Caldecott to a layered approach that incorporates colored pencils, you'll learn how to bring your work to life with charm and whimsy. Eric also shares valuable troubleshooting techniques, along with inspiring design ideas that will delight children and adults alike.

Lesson Breakdown

1. Realistic Characters
Meet your instructor, children's book illustrator Eric Johnson. You'll gain an overview of the topics that will be covered in class before selecting an animal that you want to develop into a lovable character. Eric shares his tips for researching and selecting reference photos, as well as how to thoughtfully study your animal's features, movement and personality as you sketch.
2. Human Characteristics
3. Refining the Composition
4. Finishing the Drawing
5. Style One: Ink & Watercolor
6. Style Two: Colored Pencil & Watercolor
7. Finishing Touches

Recommended with this class

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

Taught by

Eric  Johnson
Eric Johnson
Eric Johnson received his BFA in commercial design from Kutztown University, and worked as a signwriter, muralist, and graphic artist before pursuing illustrations. He has illustrated four children's books: Henry's Hat, Phoebe's Sweater, Freddie's Blanket and Phoebe's Birthday, and his work has appeared in numerous publications.

If you're not delighted with your Bluprint experience, we'll make it right or give you a full refund.