Experimental Techniques for Picturebooks

A course by Catarina Sobral
Author, Illustrator, and Director. Lisbon, Portugal.
Joined August 2020
, Author, Illustrator, and Director

Tell an original story using tempo, tension, and plot to create a wordless visual narrative from scratch

  • 100% positive reviews (211)
  • 2890 students
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch

Tell an original story using tempo, tension, and plot to create a wordless visual narrative from scratch

Picturebooks are a form of visual storytelling that act as an exercise in synthesis. Oftentimes, what you do see is as important as what you don’t. By considering each and every visual element of a picturebook, you can tell a memorable story that captures a reader’s attention and reflects on some of life’s most interesting moments. Discover the art of picturebooks and learn how to use color, texture, and composition to add plot and tension to your next visual narrative.

In this course, illustrator and author Catarina Sobral teaches you the fundamentals of visual storytelling for editorial projects like picturebooks. From conceptualizing your narrative to making first contact with a publisher, learn the essential steps for creating your own wordless picturebook. Continue to grow as an illustrator or author by exploring tempo and tension, experimenting with new techniques, and producing a printed mock-up of your final project.

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What will you learn in this online course?

21 lessons & 28 downloads

What Will We Do in This Course?
2 minutes, 38 seconds
Colour Theory
9 minutes, 54 seconds
Text and Image Interplay
7 minutes, 28 seconds
Materials and Techniques 1
18 minutes, 23 seconds
  • 100% positive reviews (211)
  • 2890 students
  • 21 lessons (3h 53m)
  • 28 additional resources (11 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: English
  • English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

What is this course's project?

Create an entire storyboard and complete a final illustration for a wordless picturebook using mixed media techniques.

Who is this online course for?

This course is for anyone who wants to draw to communicate meaning, including visual artists, illustrators, designers, art students, and other creatives who are passionate about reading, watching, or telling stories through images.

Requirements and materials

To take this course, you should be comfortable with sketching your ideas. You don’t need to be a professional illustrator, but having some basic drawing skills will be helpful.

You will need a spacious and comfortable workspace, sketching paper (or a sketchbook), mixed media paper, wax oil crayons, markers, colored pencils, a graphite or an oil-based pencil, a low odor solvent suitable for oil, ink, brushes, tape, a scanner and a computer with your image editing software of choice.


2890 Students
211 Reviews
100% Positive ratings

Catarina Sobral

A course by Catarina Sobral

Teacher Plus
Author, Illustrator, and Director

Catarina Sobral is a Portuguese illustrator, author, and director for animated films. Before launching her career as a freelance illustrator, she studied graphic design and illustration, developing a unique style blending her eye-catching illustrations and strong narrative voice.

Catarina’s work can be seen regularly in illustrations for press, album covers, posters, and of course, picturebooks. Her award-winning picturebooks have been published in sixteen different languages and exhibited around the world, gaining recognition from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the Portuguese National Illustration Award, the Portuguese Authors’ Society, the White Ravens catalog, and 3x3 magazine. She is a teacher and writer, produces her own radio show for children, and is currently directing her second animated film.


  • U1


    • Introduction
    • Influences
    • What Will We Do in This Course?
  • U2

    The Stair - Starting From the Ground, Before Moving Up

    • Picture Books: Definition and Mechanics
    • Colour Theory
    • Composition: Theory and Practice
    • Text and Image Interplay
    • Materials and Techniques 1
    • Materials and Techniques 2
  • U3

    The Diving Board and The Trapeze - From Above, Before the Jump

    • Problem, Solution, Catharsis 1
    • Problem, Solution, Catharsis 2
    • Storyboard 1
    • Storyboard 2
    • Vocabulary and Grammar 1
    • Vocabulary and Grammar 2
    • Final Illustration 1
    • Final Illustration 2
    • Final Illustration 3
  • U4

    The Jump... and The Safety Net

    • Scanning and Retouching
    • Mocking-up
    • Children's Book Industry and Final Tips
  • FP

    Final project

    • Experimental Techniques for Picturebooks

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

    Enjoy learning from home without a set schedule and with an easy-to-follow method. You set your own pace.

  • Learn from the best professionals

    Learn valuable methods and techniques explained by top experts in the creative sector.

  • Meet expert teachers

    Each expert teaches what they do best, with clear guidelines, true passion, and professional insight in every lesson.

  • Certificates

    If you're a Plus member, get a custom certificate signed by your teacher for every course. Share it on your portfolio, social media, or wherever you like.

  • Get front-row seats

    Videos of the highest quality, so you don't miss a single detail. With unlimited access, you can watch them as many times as you need to perfect your technique.

  • Share knowledge and ideas

    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

  • Connect with a global creative community

    The community is home to millions of people from around the world who are curious and passionate about exploring and expressing their creativity.

  • Watch professionally produced courses

    Domestika curates its teacher roster and produces every course in-house to ensure a high-quality online learning experience.


Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

If you're a Plus member, when you complete a course you've purchased, you'll instantly get your personalized certificate. You can see all your certificates in the Certificates section of your profile. You can download your certificates as PDFs and share the link online. Learn more about certificates.
Experimental Techniques for Picturebooks. Illustration course by Catarina Sobral

Experimental Techniques for Picturebooks

A course by Catarina Sobral
Author, Illustrator, and Director. Lisbon, Portugal.
Joined August 2020
  • 100% positive reviews (211)
  • 2890 students