From Sketch to Finished Illustration

Taking your ideas through to completed art

Series 3 | Lesson 7

Creators | James Foley & Anna McGregor

In this lesson, James and Anna will show us how they take their art from an idea to a finished illustration. They’ll explain how the images in their head come to life via SKETCHING; and they’ll tell us how we can develop finished illustrations of our very own.

This lesson is an overview of how professional illustrators take their ideas from the thinking and planning stage, to polished, final art. Students will hear how creating great work is a journey for all creators, no matter how expert, and often requires many versions, roughs and sketches, plus experimentation and mistakes. They will learn the value of drafting and editing, as well as persistence and ‘trial and error’ in all kinds of creative work.

Key Concepts:

  • The many steps between an idea and a finished piece of art.
  • The importance of sketching, redrafting, practise, and trial-and-error.
  • How the sketching and drafting journey can help develop a story.


  • All creative work required practise, patience and mistakes.
  • Techniques and advice for reviewing and developing work.
  • Getting your ideas down on paper should be fun, no matter your skill level.

Resources for From Sketch to

Finished Illustration

Resources include lesson plans for middle and upper primary students, each with their own activities and supporting resources.

Series 3 Lesson 7 resources on green background
  • Worksheets for practising sketching and experimenting with different techniques.
  • Examples of professional illustration work and the development of an award-winning book.
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About From Sketch to Finished Illustration Creators

James Foley

James Foley makes picture books, middle grade novels and graphic novels for kids.

His picture book ‘Stellarphant’ was an Honour Book in the 2022 CBCA Picture Book of the Year category; it was voted into Australia’s Top 50 Kids Books; and it was selected for the International Youth Library’s prestigious White Ravens List.

He is a massive Marvel movie nerd. He comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts.

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Anna McGregor

Anna McGregor is a creator of modern, quirky and conceptual stories with humour and heart.

Having begun her career as a graphic designer, Anna is now emerging as an award-winning Author/Illustrator. Anna has a deep curiosity about all things and finds her ideas by turning the mundane on its head, merging ideas or exploring wordplay — but always with a story that connects to the human experience.

Learn more