Lorette Broekstra discovered her love of drawing and talent at a young age, initially drawing Disney characters from the card found in the bottom of bread packets. She continued to draw through her adolescence and dreamed of one day publishing her own book. Then in 1999, Lorette’s dream came true. Lothian Books published her first children’s book Baby Bear Goes to the Zoo, cementing her position as a successful children’s author and professional illustrator. 

Teacher Profile: Lorette Broekstra

Lorette has successfully authored and illustrated many children’s books since then and she has been teaching drawing short courses at CAE for over twenty years. Teaching at the CAE has provided her with the opportunity to share her love of illustration and help other aspiring artists achieve their goals. We recently sat down with Lorette for a chat, to ask what students can expect from her classes: 

“I wanted to do something with art when I grew up, so I studied graphic design and always really wanted to do illustration. I moved to Holland and I lived there for 8 years and I worked as a freelance illustrator. When I came back I had young children so I became really interested in children’s books. I’ve been doing children’s books for the last 22 years and I’ve been teaching the Children’s Book Illustration course at CAE since my first book.” 

Student 1-min

Despite Lorette’s success, illustrating and writing 16 books has not been as easy as it sounds. Her upcoming Children’s Book Illustration course covers the process of storyboarding, which Lorette explains is time-consuming but rewarding: 

“Storyboarding and planning are the hardest. Sometimes the story can be in my head for a year or more. It’s planning out the pages that is the longest part. It’s a short course so students might only do one version of a storyboard or work on one page. But people usually come out of the course saying they’ve learnt a lot. They look very inspired when they leave. I can tell it’s given them the nudge in the right direction.” 

Student 3-min

Lorette went on to say that the courses aren’t always structured around submitting a finished project but rather to teach students the skills needed and discipline. This applies to her Drawing for Beginners class too, which covers fundamentals of drawing such as perspective, tone, proportions and some art theory. Both of these foundation courses give students a chance to explore their creative potential in an informal environment with a professional artist to guide them.  

“The class tonight is Drawing for Beginners, which I love. It’s so good because they are absolute beginners. There are a lot of people that stop drawing at around 15. It’s great to see them pick it back up. Usually, they are quite nervous at the start of the course, so it’s great to see them get a bit of confidence by the end.” 

Student 5-min

Each student has their own set of skills and interests. That’s why Lorette takes a holistic approach to her drawing classes and students can expect to practice each element rather than develop a whole piece.  

“It’s supposed to be just a taster, touching on everything. They’re learning but there’s no expectation to submit a final piece. Last week we did perspective and some people find that really hard while other people love it because it’s structured. It’s an opportunity for people to discover that.” 

Student 4-min

We asked Lorette what the best part about teaching at the CAE is and if she has any advice for someone interested in taking up drawing or enrolling in a class.  

“I love meeting the people at CAE and meeting the students and their enthusiasm. They usually learn a lot and are quite pleased with all of their work. There’s also a lot of autonomy in class. For anyone interested, you always need to start somewhere. Classes give you the right tools to get started and some direction. It’s amazing how far a little encouragement and direction can go.”