Writing Picture Books in Perth

It was a hot weekend in November when we held our Writing Picture Books course in Perth, the last for 2019. Five students from across the city got together to spend two days learning about the craft of picture books with award-winning author Judith Rossell.

In fact, one particularly eager mum had left her three-month old baby with dad for the weekend just so she could come!

“It was such a nice group,” course presenter Judith Rossell told us. “I always meet the best people when I go to Perth.”

To say that Judith loves going to Perth is an understatement. The classes are held upstairs from a pub, and you can hear the sounds of people and music drifting upstairs, giving the whole experience a friendly vibe. And it’s a wonderful opportunity for like-minded people to come together, learn a lot, and form friendships.

“It's a big deal,” Judith says about students making the time to go to a course. “It feels like an indulgence, especially for the new mum. But it’s so important to do something creative and meet people who are on the same page.”

On the second day of the course, the weather was a little kinder, so the group grabbed pies and sandwiches from the bakery across the road and sat on the balcony for lunch.

“It’s nice to look at the view,” Judith says. “Sitting out on the balcony and watching the world go by. It was hard to get them back into the classroom afterwards though!”

Fortunately, Judith always brings lollies to lure students back to the course.

Our Writing Picture Books course teaches students the fundamentals of the industry, how to create characters, and the use of language and rhythm. On the second day, students read out their own stories, workshop ideas, and give and receive feedback. There’s a lot to learn! With 20 years’ experience writing and illustrating books, Judith is the perfect teacher. She has written over a dozen books and illustrated more than 80.

“We’re super proud to have Judith as one of our presenters,” says Sarah Jordan, Course Concierge at the Australian Writers’ Centre. “She’s one of the most accomplished picture book writers and illustrators in Australia. Our students absolutely love her.”

For Judith, one of the best parts of going to Perth is seeing students come together, get energised and carry on working together.

“You might feel like you’re the only creative person in Perth,” she says. “It’s harder because there aren’t a lot of options for conferences and things. Last time, the Perth class formed a writers’ group and they meet periodically. Hopefully, this group will too. Anything that makes you write!”

Judith heads to Perth again in November 2020 and this time she’s keen to sample some local delicacies.

“I really want to know what I should eat next time I’m in Perth,” Judith says. “If there's a Perth thing, I will eat it. That's what I like to do. Eat the thing. The weird cake or whatever.”

If you have recommendations for what Judith should sample in Perth, or if you want to find out more about our other Perth courses, get in touch! We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at [email protected].

Our graduates love Judith. Here’s what they have to say about her classes.

“Judith was incredibly generous with her time and knowledge. The support and encouragement she offered each and every student was genuine, practical and succinct. Her wealth of experience in writing and illustrating picture books left me humbled that she could share so much in such a short amount of time.” – Misha Lee Cooper

“This course exceeded my expectations because of two things. 1) Jude was a wonderful presenter and her enthusiasm and encouragement made for a great space, especially when sharing work. 2) The attendees were fantastic. A great group of people who already possess wonderful stories (and I am sure will be published). It was great to meet like minded people and the entire weekend inspired me.” – Emma Armstrong

“This course took away that daunting factor of ‘how do I go about writing a book’ and laid it out in a very easy-to-follow and comprehend way. Judith was an excellent guide and I felt very comfortable being back in a classroom environment after more years than I care to remember! I enjoyed the clarity of presentation and being able to express myself in a friendly environment. Judith loves her subject and had the perfect balance between being serious and amusing at the same time – very down to earth. This course tears down the wall of fear and lays out how simple the task is, except of course for the missing ingredient – which is your own original idea.” – David Richards

“The whole two days was enjoyable for me. I am a beginner in this area of writing, so I was a big ‘sponge' for the whole weekend. Judith was incredibly professional, knowledgeable and interesting. 

I don't think you could have chosen a better person for the course. She had so many resources to share too. Follow your dreams and enrol in the course(s) of your choice – you won't be disappointed.” – Sue Lill

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