Writing Picture Books

Writing Picture Books

Create memorable stories for the youngest of readers

This course is ideal for: Anyone who wants to write a picture book that publishers and kids adore

You will:
Learn about the picture book industry
Create characters children will love
Use language and rhythm to tell your story
Explore point of view, structure, pace and voice
Get guidance on publishing and illustrations

“I never realised HOW MUCH went into a picture book story. The course was very informative and helpful. If you have a dream to write a picture book, start here first.”
– Jacqueline Tjorpatzis






Starts Saturday 17 August 2019 , 10am–4pm
2 consecutive days
Book Now
Starts Saturday 19 October 2019 , 10am–4pm
2 consecutive days
Starts Saturday 9 November 2019 , 10am–4pm
2 consecutive days
Book Now
Starts Saturday 9 November 2019 , 10am–4pm
2 consecutive days
Book Now

Writing Picture Books is also offered in an online classroom.


Writing Picture Books

2-day weekend workshop – an overview

In this exciting and inspiring weekend, you’ll discover what you need to do to turn your story idea into a real picture book that kids – and their parents – will love to read. (Don't worry if you don't yet have a story idea – you'll receive plenty of inspiration across the two days!)

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 is an art. But there are clear guidelines you can follow.

Across both days, you will work through lessons that cover the fundamentals of writing picture books and will have the opportunity to ask your presenter any questions along the way.


  1. The big picture (book)

    What is a children’s picture book? To begin the weekend, you’ll explore examples of children’s picture books and how the text and illustrations should work together. As a class, you’ll discover the topics, themes and emotions that drive these stories.

  2. Structure, pace, action and more

    You will look at page count – in particular the constraints and joys of writing for the 32-page format common to picture books. You’ll discover how to write a “3-act structure”, and understand turning points, climaxes and resolutions. You’ll also learn about planning techniques, point of view and “show, don’t tell” and how to create clear main characters.

  3. Technique, self-editing and trouble-shooting

    Rounding out day 1, you’ll learn some key author secrets that will elevate your story – including ‘the rule of three’. As a class, you’ll look at various picture book formats and go through the suggested writing process and tips on editing your own work.


  1. We suggest setting some time aside on Saturday evening to complete a small assignment, to cement what you’ve learnt on day 1.


  1. Language, word choice and rhythm

    Now it’s time to look at poetic text to make your prose sparkle. You’ll also learn about some common traps for new picture book authors and discuss how to polish and edit your writing. Plus discover how different voices and reading patterns can change the rhythm and meaning of your work, as well as how to use onomatopoeia, repetitive texts, page breaks and ‘invisible punctuation’. As a class, you will look at the work of some of the greats: Julia Donaldson and Lynley Dodd.

  2. The publishing process

    In this final part of the weekend, you’ll learn “what makes a great picture book?” – how to submit your manuscript to a publisher, what to expect when working with an editor, and some legal and financial aspects. You’ll gain some great ways to research the industry and discover new trends. Finally, you’ll bring together all of the skills you’ve learnt and apply them to your own story, including editing and marketing blurbs, and leave with plenty of resources to continue your learning.

Did somebody say "course outline"?

Yes AWC, it was me:

And I'd love your free weekly newsletter:

Please note: We’ll never sell or distribute your personal details. Any details collected will only be used by the Australian Writers’ Centre to notify you of relevant course information every fortnight or so. Read our full privacy policy.

Shelly Unwin completed Writing Picture Books

“If it wasn’t for this course I would most likely have started submitting and wondering why nothing was sticking. We learnt so much about the conventions of structuring a story, and identified the patterns in successful stories. We looked at pace, rhythm and cadence, voice and characterisation. It was all tremendously valuable. It was a really great course, I learnt what I didn’t know, and there’s so much that you don’t know about writing picture books, it’s such a craft. From reading a picture book it looks so simple, it’s only when you start to explore what’s involved that you learn how much there is to it. Go NOW and sign up!"

– Shelly Unwin, published picture book author

“Is this course for me?”

Writing Picture Books does not require any artistic skills (although if you have them, good for you!). It’s a course in storytelling for anyone keen to explore this magical genre. People like these:

Ongoing story and publishing support

Writing Picture Books provides you with all the foundation skills you need to start creating fantastic picture book stories. And when you’re ready to take your story to the next level, our Writing Picture Book Masterclass will cast an expert eye over your work. It’s the polish and publication advice all good stories need!

By the end of the weekend you will have:

KNOWLEDGE: There’s a surprising amount to learn about the mechanics of putting a picture book together.
CONFIDENCE: Having the skills to create your own stories and knowing the formula is a fantastic thing!
INSPIRATION: Even if you didn’t have ideas before, the weekend will help unleash your creativity.
MOTIVATION: The positive support and forward momentum this course offers, along with a continuing online community, will drive you to write your own picture book!

Graduates have gone on to score book deals and work with illustrators on their own picture books. It’s an exciting marketplace to be a part of!

But don’t just take our word for it…

“I really appreciated that the course was run over a weekend, this made it easier for me to attend. The presenter was very down to earth and humble, who made everyone feel their dream was achievable. The course was held at a fantastic location. I enjoyed the small class size, and the classroom helped to build a connection amongst the group.”

– Janet Crothers
(completed in Sydney)

“The content was detailed and clearly worked through with lots of opportunities to ask questions. The presenter was excellent – humble, (though she has a lot of experience and success in the field) approachable, knowledgeable, encouraging and sensitive in the way she gave us feedback on our work. If you’re serious about taking your writing to the next level – do it!”

– Lynelle Kendall
(completed in Brisbane)

“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 comprehensive way. 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.”

– David Richards
(completed in Melbourne)

“There were excellent notes to take home with us – very comprehensive and useful to refer to at any time. The presenter made us feel that we could achieve our goals and encouraged us to keep trying. The knowledge we have gained from the course will stay with us and be a highlight to remember for a long time to come. One of the best weekends I have had for some time.”

– Christine Kelly
(completed in Perth)

Picture an exciting future!

  • 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!

Enrol in this weekend workshop today and get ready to unlock a new world of picture book storytelling … you won’t regret it!

The top schedule will be cloned and stored here. See 'Layout CSS / Javascript' under the Beaver Builder dropdown for the code.

Writing Picture Books is also offered in an online classroom.