Writing & Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book

Bringing together the teaching materials from our two individual courses – for people who want to write and the illustrate children's picture books.


Oct 06 2022 - Dec 15 2022

Create a Picture Book

Make great stories for young kids


Hosted on our bespoke learning platform

Course fee £370

Includes professional feedback on your draft picture book


This online course brings together the teaching materials from our two individual courses – Writing a Children’s Picture Book and Illustrating a Children’s Book for people who want to do both. If you love to write children’s stories and to create the artwork for them, then join this course for expert advice from popular children’s author-illustrators Sarah McIntyre and David O’Connell. The two are friends and have collaborated on the picture book Jampires (David Fickling Books) – as well as working individually and collaborating with others. Unusually, both Sarah and David are writers and illustrators, and the course features filmed conversation in which they talk about their work in both areas and 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. It’s also suitable for people who’ve previously written in different forms (eg novels for older children or adults), and for people who’ve taken creative writing courses with universities or other organisations (as well as other CBC courses). We can’t promise this course will get you an agent or a publishing deal, but it aims to demystify the world of children’s picture book publishing and help you to understand what publishers look for in a submission. This great learning package features teaching videos and substantial notes organised into ten weekly modules designed for flexible study, so you can take part at times to suit you and from wherever in the world you are.

‘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!’
Sandra Russell, former Writing and Illustrating a Children’s Picture Book student


David O'Connell, Author-Illustrator

David O’Connell is a writer and illustrator living in London, UK.  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  Sarah McIntyre on the picture book Jampires, inspired by a comic they improvised together. He has also collaborated with Sam Watkins, Francesca Gambatesa and Tom Nicoll. His latest series is the Dundoodle Mysteries, illustrated by Claire Powell.

Sarah McIntyre, Author-Illustrator

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, Gillian Rogerson, and Alan MacDonald. She first got into publishing through comics, where she met her Jampires co-author David O'Connell.  These 'comic jams' eventually led to a Jampires comic, which they later took to a publisher and turned into a picture book.


Weekly Modules

A clear path to a finished picture book

Work through ten weekly modules containing teaching videos and substantial notes specially written and produced by picture book illustrator Sarah McIntyre and author David O’Connell.

Dedicated Teaching Videos

Children’s writers Sarah McIntyre and David O’Connell guide you through the course.

Watch specially filmed, informative teaching videos, presented by Sarah McIntyre and David O'Connell. Including footage of Sarah drawing to demonstrate techniques and ideas, and David and Sarah discussing the world of picture books. Each weekly module includes at least three videos.

Resources & Notes

Comprehensive teaching notes and reference materials which are yours to keep.

These 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.

Curtis Brown Creative learning platform forum

Student Forum

The hub of our online courses; find your community.

Upload your completed writing tasks, give and receive feedback, and discuss the week’s topics with your fellow students and the CBC team.

Writing and Illustrating Tasks

Custom tasks from Sarah and David to help you learn practically.

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.


Get feedback from your peers and an expert CBC editor

Each week, an author-illustrator will be viewing the work posted and offering some focused comment on a few students' work – every student will get 400 words of written feedback on their final task.


You can follow the course at your own pace, but to get the best out of this course, allow plenty of time to watch the videos, read and reflect on the notes and resources, complete the writing and illustrating tasks, and take part in discussions in the forum.

You’ll undertake weekly practical tasks set by Sarah and David, designed to help you develop your writing and illustrative techniques, and progress through the stages of creating a children’s picture book: planning your story, sketching your thumbnail roughs, writing your final text and creating your full set of preliminary drawings – followed by your final illustrations. You’ll be posting your writing and artwork in the forums and we encourage students to offer positive, constructive feedback as the course progresses.

All students receive 400 words of written feedback on their final task from one of our expert tutors/editors.


We also offer students the option to obtain a 30-minute video or telephone tutorial with one of our tutors/editors to discuss your final task – for an additional fee of £95.

Students who would like to gain further written feedback from a CBC editor on their final illustrations may do so by sending them to the CBC team within three months of the end of the course and on payment of a further £125 fee (full information about this extra feedback service will be given to students during the course).


Each week students will gain access to a new module based on a practical picture book illustrating or writing topic. Our bespoke learning platform features separate forum spaces for all ten teaching topics, arranged in a clear structure that’s easy to use. Our online learning space allows students to quickly find and take part in discussions and to easily locate task materials they’d like to refer back to.



Study the market and learn from the work of other children’s book writers and illustrators.


Inspiration: Writing

Where to find inspiration and develop story ideas into text.


Inspiration: Illustration

Find your artistic inspiration and develop those ideas as illustrations.


Characters and Setting: Writing

Make your characters and settings stand out.


Characters and Setting: Illustration

Bring to life vivid settings and worlds with your illustrations.


Technique: Writing

Picture books use minimal text, so finding the right words is crucial.


Technique: Illustration

There are many ways to create a picture from pencil drawings and paintings to digital work. Explore different media.


Planning: Writing

Plan your story and work to the 32-page format.


Planning: Illustration

Plan your story and spreads – with thumbnail sketches and pencil roughs.


Next steps

Professional development in both writing and illustration; learn how to approach publishers and agents; work on your final illustrations and create a portfolio.


We’re excited to have you join our community of writers and illustrators. Choose your preferred option from the right-hand-side and click the ‘Pay & Enrol’ button by midnight, end of day on 4 Oct 2022. Make sure that you agree to the Terms and Conditions. If you have a discount code you can input the details at payment. You will be shown a secure credit card form for payment. Once you enrol we’ll send you a confirmation email. The day before your course begins you will receive a welcome pack explaining everything you need to know about the course.

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