Illustrating narrative with Haydn Cottam

Ref: SWE13265

About this course

Learn how to illustrate a piece of text of your choice, producing a series of images and working your rough ideas through to a finished piece.

Course Description

Learn how to illustrate narrative through sequential images, either through a storyboard or series of images depicting key events from a text. The text could be anything from a short poem, nursery rhyme, fairy tale or novel. Or anything you feel has a story which could offer up visual possibilities.

The course will begin with a slide talk and briefing about the expected outcomes, which might differ from student to student, but usually consist of at least three or four images. This would be followed by a brainstorming image making session, which would lead to a period of research and image sourcing from the internet.

Time would then be devoted to developing and delivering roughs of the sequential artwork, which would need to communicate your intentions. You would then take this work to completion as a finished artwork, storyboard or graphic novel segment.

You will be working with drawing media and paint on paper, or digitally if this is your preference (you would need to bring your own iPad/drawing tablet).

By the end of the course, you will have learnt how to research your ideas, make a series of rough sequential artworks and developed these into a final piece.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course, the College will supply some paper to get you started.

What students need to bring

  • A short piece of text that you find interesting and could be visually stimulating i.e. a passage from a book, a poem, nursery rhyme, or a newspaper story as a source of inspiration.
  • Drawing materials, waterbased paints, brushes, palette
  • Sketchbook for ideas
  • Optional – iPad/drawing tablet if you would like to work digitally (bring leads etc.)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of drawing materials, paints, brushes and paper are available in the shop.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Haydn Cottam

Haydn Cottam is a painter who trained at St Martins College of Art, London and since graduating has exhibited in Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Cardiff, Leicester, East Anglia, Cheltenham and Sussex. He shows at the Catto Gallery, Hampstead. Haydn has won painting prizes at the National Portrait and Mall Galleries and his work is part of the BBC archived National Art Collection.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.