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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


StartsWeek beginning Monday 22 August 2016

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


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 30 July 2016

Location Sydney
Ground Floor
55 Lavender Street
Milsons Point NSW 2061

WhenSaturday and Sunday classes
(2 consecutive days)


Presenter Cathie Tasker

Book Now


StartsWednesday 19 October 2016

Location Sydney
Ground Floor
55 Lavender Street
Milsons Point NSW 2061

WhenWednesday MORNING classes
(once a week for five weeks)


Presenter Cathie Tasker

Book Now

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


StartsSaturday 6 August 2016

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

WhenSaturday and Sunday classes
(2 consecutive days)


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!


StartsNew date to be announced soon!

Location Perth
3/185 Eighth Avenue
Inglewood WA 6052

WhenSaturday and Sunday classes
(2 consecutive days)


Presenter Danny Parker

Booked Out

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:

  • The format of different types of children’s picture books.
  • How to work with illustrations.
  • Creating characters children will enjoy
  • How you should use language and rhythm.
  • Finding the right topic, tone and themes
  • What you need to know about point of view, structure and pace.
  • How to find the right voice for your book
  • The industry: market, gatekeepers, legal and financial considerations.
  • What you must include in your picture book manuscript
  • 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. She has mentored many manuscripts to publication and... 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

  • "I never thought I'd say this, but I really enjoyed the homework assignments. They kept my mind in a place I love to be all week long. Cathie is an expert and gave valuable advice on how to improve our writing. Do the course! It will set you free. Thank you Australian Writers' Centre!"

    - Kelli Thomas

    "Judith Rossell was fantastic. I really warmed to her and I would go to any future course she is presenting. My advice to anyone thinking about doing Writing Picture Books is: don't hesitate to enrol. You can only get better by attending courses and workshops. It is great to hear from someone who has been published and learn from their experiences. If you want to write children's books, this is definitely one to do. Judith is obviously passionate about books and writing, which is very infectious."

    - Heidi Mulligan

    "What a bundle of energy and enthusiasm, Danny made us feel that we could achieve and encouraged us to keep trying, we will not all be published authors but the knowledge we have gained from the course will stay with us and be a highlight to remember for a long time to come. It is actually an essential course for confidence building and to ensure we approach our writing for publishing or even to self-publish, in the best way possible. Lots of useful hints and insight into the world of writing."

    - Christine Kelly

    "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

    "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