Writing & Illustrating a Children's Picture Book

10 weeks
Start Date
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Writing & Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book

Do you want to create brilliant stories for young readers? Then join this course for expert advice from popular children’s author-illustrators Sarah McIntyre and David O’Connell.

Sarah and David share insights into their work in both areas of picture book creation as they offer insider tips.

This course is ideal for aspiring writers or illustrators who want to learn the fundamentals behind making a picture book. The course is suitable for complete beginners as well as those who have already written picture book texts but want to learn more and improve their skills.

David is brilliant, intelligent and straight to the point helping us focus on the storytelling, and I love multitalented Sarah more and more with her clever insights into various ideas and techniques for the illustrations!

Fiona Thomson


David O’Connell

David O’Connell is a writer and illustrator living in Brighton. He works mostly in children’s books, particularly humorous picture books and young fiction. His best known books are The Naughtiest Unicorn series, the Sunday Times bestselling How to Grow Up and Feel Amazing (both as illustrator) and The Chocolate Factory Ghost (as writer). His first book was Monster & Chips, the first of a series of funny (and revolting) adventures of ‘hooman’ Joe Shoe whilst working at the Monster Diner of friendly monster Fuzzby Bixington. He then collaborated with the brilliant Sarah McIntyre on the picture book Jampires! After illustrating the Creature Teacher series by writer Sam Watkins, he worked with illustrator Francesca Gambatesa on a series of picture books all about families, as well as illustrating Boyband of the Apocalypse books for funny writer Tom Nicoll.

Sarah McIntyre

Sarah McIntyre works as an illustrator and writer from her studio in south London. Her solo picture books include There’s a Shark in the Bath, Dinosaur Firefighters and The New Neighbours, and she’s worked with writers such as Giles Andreae (Morris the Mankiest Monster), Gillian Rogerson (You Can’t Scare a Princess!) and Alan MacDonald (The Prince of Pants). She also creates longer illustrated chapter books with her co-author Philip Reeve, such as Pugs of the Frozen North and Oliver and the Seawigs. She first got into publishing through comics, where she met her Jampires co-author David O’Connell. She’s delivered a TEDx talk on learning how to grow from our mistakes, spoken internationally at book festivals, and led a campaign called Pictures Mean Business, encouraging the book industry to credit illustrators properly for their work.


  • Video modules: Work through ten modules comprising teaching videos and substantial notes from Sarah and David, including footage to demonstrate techniques and ideas.
  • Writing & illustrating tasks: Tasks designed to help you develop your writing and illustrative techniques, plan your story, sketch your thumbnail roughs, write your final text and create your full set of preliminary drawings – followed by your final illustrations.
  • Resources & notes: Comprehensive teaching notes and reference materials, include a reading list, a glossary of useful children's publishing terms, and a template showing how a children's picture book should be set out.
  • Professional feedback: An expert CBC editor will give brief written comments on several of the students’ practical assignments each week, with all students receiving 400 words of written feedback on their final task. Students are also given the option to purchase an end-of-course tutorial with an expert editor.
  • Student forum: Find your writing community on our private student forums. Upload your completed tasks, give and receive peer-to-peer feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.


Our online courses are designed for flexible learning. Allocate your own study time and take part from wherever you are in the world. Each week, we recommend spending at least four hours on the course.

  • WEEK 1
  • WEEK 2
    Inspiration: Writing
  • WEEK 3
    Inspiration: Illustration
  • WEEK 4
    Characters & setting: Writing
  • WEEK 5
    Characters & setting: Illustration
  • WEEK 6
    Technique: Writing
  • WEEK 7
    Technique: Illustration
  • WEEK 8
    Planning: Writing
  • WEEK 9
    Planning: Illustration
  • WEEK 10
    Next steps


In addition to the 400 words of written feedback that all students will recieve on their final task from an expert editor (included in the course price), students will be given the option to purchase a tutorial to discuss their final task with their CBC editor.

  • CBC tutorial: For an additional fee of £95, you can have a 30-minute video or telephone tutorial with your editor to discuss your work.


If you love the idea of writing a picture book but don’t feel the desire to illustrate it (or vice versa) – then our six-week picture book courses could be the perfect option for you. Choose between Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book with Sarah McIntyre or Writing a Children’s Picture Book with David O’Connell.