Picture book week





We are excited to present our Picture Book Week!


This is a 7 day Children’s Picture Book Online Course which offers you the opportunity, time and guidance to work on your very own picture book project.


The week is designed for anyone interested in children’s picture books, illustration, story, drawing or looking for a new creative experience.


The fabulous Beaky programme for the week includes:


  • 10 talks

  • 2 guest lectures

  • 5 industry professional tutors

  • 5 daily 1 to 1 tutorials

  • Mini group sessions and a group review

  • The opportunity to rewatch the talks on a private channel

  • The chance to meet other creatives while devoting time to your picture book work.

  • Also INCLUDED in your ticket is a FREE place to our ONE DAY ILLUSTRATION EVENT on September 25th. This will be a full day of talks from creative professional speakers. 


The Picture Book Course will enable you to work on your own picture book idea, while being guided by the tutors. The aim is for you to have a resolved rough picture book draft by the end of the week. We want you to leave the course feeling you have the knowledge to continue with your project and to work on your future story ideas with confidence.


It is a jam packed week full of all the ingredients you need to make a picture book!


You will learn about:


  • Generating picture book ideas

  • Character design

  • How to edit text

  • Story pacing

  • Sequence

  • Composition and page layout

  • Text and image interplay

  • Materials


You will also have the opportunity to hear insights from each tutor about their working process, to ask them questions, to meet the other attendees, to receive one-to-one tutorials and to take part in a group review. 

The week is designed to suit everybody, from absolute beginners to practising illustrators. You may be looking for a career change, or you may have book ideas and are unsure how to take develop them, or you may just be interested in having a go - everyone is welcome!

Please see FAQ below for more information & any other questions please email 


July 3rd-9th 2021



Saturday 3rd 9.30-16.30

Sunday 4th 10.30-16.30

Monday 5th 9.30-16.30

(Optional 17.00-18.00 event!)

Tuesday 6th 9.30-16.30

(Optional 17.00-18.00 event!)

Wednesday 7th 9.30-16.30

(Optional 17.00-18.00 event!)

Thursday 8th 9.30-16.30

(Optional 17.00-18.00 event!)

Friday 9th 9.30 - 12.30

There is a daily mix of time online via zoom listening to lectures/talks and time away from your screen for you to work and have a break!


Online, Zoom


Ness Wood

Maisie Paradise Shearring

Sophie Burrows

Birgitta Sif

David Barrow




Early Beak price!

Book and pay by 2nd April to take advantage of this great offer! 

The Early Beak offer includes the option of a deposit scheme.


Full price from 3rd April

Bookings open 9am Monday 1st March

Bookings and payments are organised by our Admin Beaker - Tony


"Orange Beak have boosted my confidence AND given me invaluable practical advice and direction for my work!"

"Orange Beak are like a daily dose of vitamins"

About the team

Ness Wood is an award winning book designer, art director and lecturer having taught at Goldsmiths, Cambridge School of Art, University of Brighton and UCLAN. She has works with many major publishers and is known for her encouraging and collaborative approach with illustrators. Ness has been a judge for the Bologna Ragazzi Award and was part of the winning team at the British Design and Production Awards, in the Graphic Novel Category. Ness is an Orange Beak co-founder and tutor.


You can follow Ness on instagram here

Maisie Paradise Shearring is an international award-winning and published author-illustrator. In 2015, Maisie received the prestigious Bologna International Illustrators Award in recognition for her graphic novel, Susan's School Days. Maisie's picture books include, I'm Actually Really Grown-Up Now and Anna & Otis, both published by Two Hoots. Maisie has also recently illustrated, The Boy Who Loved Everyone, a picture book story written by Jane Porter and published by Walker Books. This book was awarded The Little Rebels Children's Book Award. Maisie has post-graduate teaching experience and is an Orange Beak co-founder and tutor.


You can follow Maisie on instagram here

Sophie Burrows is an author, illustrator and comics creator. She is a graduate of the MA Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. During her studies, she won the V&A Illustration Award for Student Illustrator of the Year with her graphic short story Crushing. Her illustration work has been published internationally, and her debut picture book as author/illustrator, Ig Pig & Og Frog! was published by David Fickling Books. She also works as an associate lecturer on the MA Children’s Book Illustration, and is currently developing her next picture book and her first graphic novel.


You can follow Sophie on instagram here

Birgitta Sif is an award winning children's book author and illustrator. She was born in Iceland, lived in and around Scandinavia and America while growing up, and worked as a graphic designer in New York before graduating with a Masters in Children's Book Illustration from the Cambridge School of Art. She is the creator of the Kate Greenaway shortlisted picture book, Oliver, which was also shortlisted for the Nordic Children's Book Literature Prize. He books Frances Dean Who Loved To Dance and Dance and Oliver were both endorsed by Amnesty International. Birgitta has written and illustrated numerous picturebooks that have sold all over the world. Her most recent picturebook, Hugo, is published by Walker Books UK. She is currently working on a book series with Candlewick Press in the US. 


You can follow Birgitta on instagram here

David Barrow has been a shelf-stacker, a library assistant, a call-centre worker, a civil servant and a printer, so obviously it was only a matter of time before he tried his hand at writing and illustrating children’s books. He joined the world-renowned Children’s Book Illustration MA at Anglia Ruskin CSA. It turns out he actually found it a lot harder than all of the above, but ultimately a lot more rewarding.

Whilst on the course, David won the Sebastian Walker award for new talent in children’s book illustration at his degree show in 2015, and his first book Have You Seen Elephant? was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and won the Zilveren Penseel. Since then, he has both written and illustrated books for several publishers and has been published internationally. He lives in Kettering with his toughest critics: wife Jo and son Teddy.

You can follow David on instagram here

Frequently asked questions

What if I am unable to attend one of the sessions?

The course will run live during the times below: All times are UK (BST) Saturday 3rd 9.30-16.30 Sunday 4th 10.30-16.30 Monday 5th-Thursday 8th 9.30-16.30 (Optional 17.00-18.00 event) ​Friday 9th 9.30-12.30 This is a live course but if you are unable to attend one or more of the sessions they will be available to view on a private channel. Everyone will be sent a daily schedule of what is going to be covered during that day so you will be able to plan your day. There are some elements that will not be recorded. It is important to note, tutorials will always be held live during the day, and you will be allocated your time in advance so you know when to attend. This will be between 10.30 - 16.15. We will try to accommodate any specific requirements. However, the tutors will only be available for one to one sessions within the advertised allocated times. There are also break out Zoom sessions on most mornings, so small groups of attendees can get the opportunity to meet and share ideas. These are intended as a personal space for the attendees to share ideas, opinions and examples of their work and will not be recorded.

How many people will be attending the Picture Book Week?

We are limiting the course to a small group of creatives, with a maximum of 40 attendees. We want to make sure you get the individual tutorial time and hope, by keeping it to a small group, you will all get to know each other.

What is Zoom?

Zoom is an online video conferencing software. We’ve chosen this platform as it has many features which are useful for the course. Zoom is free to download and is very user friendly. We will send more information about using Zoom after you have signed up.

What materials do I need?

You will need something to view the course on - a laptop/computer or iPad and a good internet connection. A notebook and pen to write with so you can make notes during the talks and your tutorials. You will need paper (this can just be cheap printer paper) and some tools to draw with. This is an ideas generating week and not about creating beautiful colour artwork. So, just your usual pencil case is fine. If you are new to drawing we suggest a pencil/felt tip/pencil crayon (something to draw with!) rubber and sharpener. You will also need a pair of scissors and a glue stick might come in use. You could also do the drawing work digitally.

Can I see the full timetable?

We will share the full timetable to those who book onto the course. All the details you should need are above. If you do have more questions, please get in touch here.

Will I have permanent access to the course?

No. The recorded elements of the course will only be available to view until 12th July and presentation slides won’t be shared by email.

Can I take part if I have never drawn before?

Yes! Your picture book draft book could consist of stick people, we are not looking for beautiful technically brilliant drawings, it is about pacing, page turns, story, design and layout. We have previously hosted events with people completely new to the subject and have always had positive feedback.

Will I be making finished artwork?

No the week is all about gaining the knowledge to structure and create a picture book. The work you make will be rough, it is about getting a successful draft of a picture book and not about making resolved work. However, we will be looking at examples of finished illustrations and there is a talk from the tutors about materials and process with the opportunity for you to ask specific questions.

Can I take part if I have never written a story?

Yes, of course. We will be giving your plenty of guidance to enable you to work on your story, whether you are new to it or an experienced storyteller.

I've booked my place, when will I hear from you with the full course details?

You will receive the full course details by 14th June. If you book after 14th June, you will receive them with the confirmation of your booking.

How do I book a place?

All bookings are done via email with our administrator, Tony. You can email here

I am a published illustrator, can I take part?

Yes please do! At Orange Beak we work with illustrators at all stages of their careers. It might be you’re stuck on a project, are new to writing a story, want a week of feedback and guidance or to block out time to focus on your work. The course is aimed at all levels and experiences. It is also a great opportunity to meet like minded creatives.

Is there a refund policy?

If you have booked and paid, and are then unable to attend the course, a 50% refund will be offered if notification is received before 3rd June 2021.

Is the course content new or is there an overlap with other Orange Beak talks and workshops?

There will be nothing repeated from any of our recent Orange Beak Evening guest talks or lectures. Certain elements from both the Character Design and the Picture Book Insides Workshops will be covered in the Picture Book week long course, however both these workshops are more comprehensive in what they include. Content from the Cover Desugn workshop is not covered on the Picture Book week. The Picture Book week is about the overall creating of a book. It will give you the tools to be able to put a dummy book together - starting with an idea and then working through thinking about text and editing text on the page and pacing and page turn and how the text and image work together.