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Writing Picture Books

Where a picture is not actually worth 1000 words...

Want to be the next big thing for little people? Learn the essentials to creating the perfect picture prose that will delight small folk every time. More detail

Upcoming course dates

StartsMonday 3 August 2015

Location Online
New module released each Monday.
You can complete the module any time during that week.
All you need is an internet connection.
Learn from anywhere.

WhenFive-week online course

Price$395

Presenter Cathie Tasker

Book Now

We run this course Online every four weeks (or so). Click here to be the first to know about new dates!

StartsSaturday 31 October 2015

Location Sydney
Ground Floor
55 Lavender Street
Milsons Point NSW 2061

WhenWeekend classes
(Two consecutive Saturdays)
10am-4pm

Price$395

Presenter Cathie Tasker

Book Now

We run this course in Sydney every two months (or so). Click here to be the first to know about new dates!

StartsSaturday 15 August 2015

Location Melbourne
The Abbotsford Convent
1 St Heliers Street
Abbotsford VIC 3067

WhenSaturday and Sunday classes
(2 consecutive days)
10am–4pm

Price$395

Presenter Judith Rossell

Book Now

We run this course in Melbourne every four months (or so). Click here to be the first to know about new dates!

StartsSaturday 5 September 2015

Location Perth
Wembley Hotel
344 Cambridge Street
Wembley WA 6014

WhenSaturday and Sunday classes
(2 consecutive days)
10am–4pm

Price$395

Presenter Danny Parker

Book Now

This course runs in Perth every four months (or so). Click here to be the first to know about new dates!

Course description

A magical combination of words and pictures

  • Imagine being able to capture the imagination of children.
  • Imagine their wide-eyed wonder as they read their favourite stories.
  • Imagine … writing those stories yourself.

What is it that makes popular picture books so magical? How do you really know what appeals to children? Writing a picture book that publishers want to pay you for is an art. But there are clear guidelines you can follow.

Discover exactly what you need to do next

In this course, you’ll discover what you need to do to turn your story idea into a real picture book that kids will love to read.

Say you have a beautifully-crafted story – funny and lively, sad, or with a deep insight. Is it a first draft, or is it ready to submit? How can you tell? What should you do next? Should you get your story illustrated?

One of the most common phrases used about picture book texts is “deceptively simple”. And that’s just it – the writing is deceptive. It appears simple, but requires a lot of skill to be effective. In this course we plan to show you some of the secrets and techniques you need to write a good children’s picture book.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Understanding the nature of children’s picture books.
  • Working with illustrations.
  • Language and rhythm.
  • What’s so different about the picture book?
  • Point of view, structure and pace.
  • Finding the right voice.
  • Choosing your topic.
  • The industry: market, gatekeepers, legal and financial considerations.
  • And MUCH more!

The course is also suitable for illustrators interested in working on picture books. While the focus of the course is on writing, there is a lot of information about the way authors and editors think, which will show you how to better interpret the text and improve the characterisation. Learn how to make your illustrations better – how to extend the text and make it into a completely new jewel-like work.

This course focuses on picture books for younger children. If you’d like to write for slightly older children, please go to our course Writing Books for Children and Young Adults.

Prefer learning at home? Learn online!

If you have an internet connection, you’ve come to the right place! With our online courses, you get the same juicy content as the classroom course PLUS backstage passes to Q&As, assignments and feedback direct from your outstanding online tutor! You could be anywhere on the planet, or you could be just round the corner. Either way, you’ll be joining thousands of online graduates from here and overseas who’ve already had an awesome time learning online. Check out our demo today.

Online or classroom course – which one is better?

Ha! It’s a trick question… they both have the same high quality – it just depends on how you learn and sometimes where you live. In fact, we’re fanatical about consistency across all our courses, so rest assured that when a class begins in Perth (or Sydney, or Melbourne), it’s going to cover the same ground as its online cousin. Now, we’re not talking robots here. Each one of our talented presenters does of course bring their own unique flavour, but the core lesson material remains the same!

What internet connection is required?

To participate in any of our online courses, you will need high-speed internet. For us, high-speed internet means ADSL or Broadband/Cable, with a speed of 128kBps or higher.

Dial-up connections or using the internet on your phone are not recommended — you may find that the audio in the online course will pause, skip or completely stop.

Previous students have let us know that they have had no problems accessing our courses using Satellite internet or wireless broadband, but it depends on each connection.

If you’re not sure what kind of internet connection you have, there are two things you can check:

  • Speed – If you can play a YouTube video from start to finish without issues, your internet should be fast enough.
  • Download limit – We recommend contacting either the person who takes care of your internet, or your internet provider directly to see what your download limit is. Each week there will be 40-50MB worth of materials to download, so you need to make sure your internet connection will allow for that (times five for each week!) without speed limitations or excess charges.

If your connection is not fast enough but you’d still like attend the course, we recommend checking with your local library to see if you are able to download the files there.

If you can do that, you’d just need to pop them onto a USB drive and then take them home with you to listen to later.

Exclusive access to our AWC Graduates’ Club

Want to know where all the cool kids hang out? The Graduates’ Club of course! Now, calm down – there’s no cigars, leather armchairs or loud ticking grandfather clocks here. But it IS exclusive invitation only (on completion of a course) and it’s free!  Meet other writers online and share successes, seek help or just get something off your chest. Many students believe this ‘legacy learning’ is one of the most valuable things about our AWC community, and who are we to argue?

So if you want to receive feedback, support and a heads-up on opportunities … join the Club!

Your presenters

  • Cathie Tasker

    Cathie Tasker, Online, Sydney

    Cathie Tasker is a fiction editor with over 25 years’ experience. Her specialisations are in children’s and young... View Profile

  • Judith Rossell

    Judith Rossell, Melbourne

    Judith Rossell is a full-time writer and illustrator of children’s books. Over the past 15 years, she has... View Profile

  • Danny Parker

    Danny Parker, Perth

    A teacher for more than 20 years, father-of-two Danny Parker started writing picture books three years ago. His... View Profile

Graduate testimonials

  • "Cathie is extremely knowledgeable on the topic of picture books, and with so much relevant industry experience, her tips and insights were invaluable. The workshop aspect of the course and meeting other writers was terrific. Cathie was awesome. She was direct, honest, informative, funny – perfect!"

    - Natalie Keen

    "Danny has such a lovely presentation style, he shared his wisdom and experience as well as loads of humour thrown in. Danny was generous with his experience and his time and he was available throughout the entire course. His passion for the work shone through."

    - Karina Higginson

    "Thank you Cathie (and Valerie) for this course. Sincerely, I expected a great course from AWC, because all the other courses delivered by Valerie and her team of presenters are thorough and valuable, and simultaneously I am very grateful for another great course being delivered. It's really wonderful when you can trust in a company to deliver the high level of courses each and every time. Cathie, your input has been invaluable - being able to see the feedback, not only for our own assignments, but the feedback from each participant's assignments has enhanced our learning. The content has provided us with a great base for going forward in our writing careers; a big thank you!"

    - Marija Castellari

    "Danny was inspiring and entertaining. He definitely kept everyone engaged. Danny also offered real life experiences which was very helpful. The course was clear and realistic in terms of how to write and industry expectations. You should do this course, it really was useful"

    - Katie Gallagher

    "I thought Cathie was excellent. I appreciated her direct feedback and honesty. It was obvious that she had a great depth of experience and knowledge. I thought the course was interesting and Cathie's directness and sense of humour made it fun!"

    - Jodie Hamblin