Book Illustration

As an artist, it is important to challenge yourself and your creative ideas in order to grow. Without challenge, you will stagnate and your work may become stale. By limiting your color palette, your skills as an artist will be pushed to compensate for what is missing, encouraging new ideas and explorations as an artist and problem-solver. Also, by accepting creative limitations, you are allowed more time and energy to focus on other illustrative concerns that are often times more important than what was given up in the first place.

In this project, students will work together to create black & white book illustrations for a book of Gothic Horror Stories. As the illustrator, your focus will be on creating a work of art based on a story section chosen by you, with the text included within the picture plane.

By only using black and white, your focus will be on value, line quality, texture and composition to capture the stories atmosphere.

Your mission as an illustrator is to use key elements from the text, along with your own unique vision and voice, to create a drawing that grabs a viewers attention and drags them kicking and screaming into the story!

Project Book Illustration: Gothic Horror Stories

Gothic horror stories began in the late 1700’s and continue to the present day. Writers like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley have created characters like Frankenstein, Dracula and The Raven that has forever changed how scary stories are told. Gothic stories rely more on the disturbing power of the unknown, and the deeply psychological terror that lies within us!
The following is a list of the stories (or sections) that we will be reading in class;
Gothic Horror samples.pdf
Gothic Horror samples.pdf

Gothic Horror samples.pdf

  • The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Other by H.P. Lovecraft
  • Pickman’s Model by H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson


Download the following pages:

Gothic Pages16-17.pdf
Gothic Pages16-17.pdf

Gothic Pages16-17.pdf

In Photoshop, go to File>Open and choose the page to open.

8.5 x 11 sheet with 7 x 9.75 image area
300 dpi / RGB
(Only use Black, White & Gray – no color!)

Spanish Version:



Students will learn;
  • How to create an illustration within a pre-designed format
  • Creating a black & white illustration
  • Using different file formats for printing
  • Working with a group to create an illustrated book


  1. Read and discuss each story in class. Write down at least 3 stories that interest you in come way.

  2. Research the story. Using the internet, do research on what the story is all about. Try to get into the mind of the writer to help you make visuals from the word.

  3. Sign the contract! Choose one page to create an illustration that you will be responsible for.

  4. Thumbnails:

    Create three thumbnail sketches for the designed page.

  1. Final Sketch: Draw a final detailed sketch in your sketchbook or directly into Photoshop for the page you plan to illustrate. Download the book pages to make sure you are in the correct format!

  2. Digitally paint in the values.