Writing Picture Books Writing Picture Books Writing Picture Books

Writing Picture Books

Everyone's first favourite book is a picture book. Immerse yourself in the craft and magic of this vital form.



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5-12 weeks
  • Time
  • Wednesdays, 19.00–21.00

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£300 / month for 2 months and a £395.00 deposit


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Learn to write picture books that captivate

Join award-winning poet and author Laura Mucha as we explore how to write and edit picture books that children and adults will enjoy reading again and again (and again).

Although they usually contain 1,000 words or fewer, picture books have a reputation in the industry for being incredibly difficult to write. Perhaps it's because they have to entertain children and adults at the same time, or be read hundreds of times by the same people – and the best ones never get tiresome. Perhaps it's down to the fine balance between text and illustration.

This course will look at ideas and how to have them; the constraints of writing for three- to six-year-olds; the interaction of words and pictures, the basics of story (including plot, character and dialogue), poetic technique, how to edit (edit, edit...), and getting published. We'll look in detail at the best published picture books and there'll be plenty of exercises to get you developing your own writing as we go.

Is this the right course for me?

This course is aimed at writers who are just starting out, and those who wish to develop their work. It may be that you have written some poems or picture books for children but haven't yet shared them with anyone. Or you might have been reading picture books critically for some time, thinking that you would quite like to write one, without actually putting pen to paper. Or perhaps you write for a different age group and have always wanted to venture into picture books. Wherever you are in your writing, this course will help you develop your skills, understanding and ideas, and to move towards publication.

    The course will take place on Wednesday evenings between 19:00 and 21:00, at the Faber offices in Bloomsbury.

Course Programme

Session 1

Wednesday 23 March, 19.00–21.00

Writing picture books

Session 2

30 March, 19.00–21.00

Exploring story

Session 3

6 April, 19.00–21.00

Hunting, detecting and recording ideas

See remaining sessions

Course Programme

Writing Picture Books

Session 1

Wednesday 23 March, 19.00–21.00

Writing picture books

An introduction to writing for children, with a focus on the practical considerations and constraints of picture books and writing for three to six year olds.

Session 2

30 March, 19.00–21.00

Exploring story

What makes readers (and listeners) want to turn the page? An introduction of the basics of story writing for this age group – exploring plot, character, dialogue, point of view, voice, tense, and the importance of page turns.

Session 3

6 April, 19.00–21.00

Hunting, detecting and recording ideas

Practical exercises designed to get your imagination whirring, from looking at the picture books of others, to writing while listening to music, to responding to art and poetry. The aim is to start growing ideas that you can develop throughout the course.

Session 4

13 April, 19.00–21.00

Publisher point of view

Your chance to meet an editor at a major publishing house and hear their insights on picture books – what they're looking for, dos and don'ts, common misconceptions.

Session 5

20 April, 19.00–21.00

Six line stories

It's easy to spend hours perfecting sentences before you've pinned down the story... This session will focus on analysing and summarising the plots in published picture books and coming up with your own. It's one thing to understand the theory, it's another putting it into practice...

Session 6

27 April, 19.00–21.00

Poetic technique

With so few words in a picture book, each one has to work very hard. So having thought about the bigger picture (story, structure etc), this session focuses on the detail of language: metre, rhyme, repetition, line breaks, use of the page.

Session 7

4 May, 19.00–21.00

Thinking Visually

Words are only part of a picture book – this session examines the interaction of words and image, examples of books that do this well, how illustration notes work, and the importance of thinking visually when writing.

Session 8

11 May, 19.00–21.00

Non-fiction / non-narrative picture books

Not all picture books are stories... This session looks at non-fiction and non-narrative picture books, strong examples of each, the dos and don'ts, and industry trends.

Session 9

18 May, 19.00–21.00

Edit, edit, edit

Editing is key to most successful writer's work – Cressida Cowell does at least 17 rewrites of each of her books. In this session, we examine the editing process, looking at numerous drafts of Laura's work to see how it moves from idea to finished text, including changes made during the illustration process.

Session 10

25 May, 19.00–21.00

Reviewing ideas, getting published

A chance to look at the idea(s) you have been working on throughout the course and edit, edit, edit. We'll also explore the role of an agent, whether and how to get one, and the realities of submitting to publishers.

Session 11

1 June, 19.00–21.00

Literary agent insights

Hear from a children's literary agent re what they're looking for, common mistakes, and trends in the industry – and have the chance to ask them any questions that have been bubbling away during the course.

Session 12

8 June 19.00–21.00


Picture books can provide a way in for adults to discuss important issues with young children, from climate change to mental wellbeing, physical sickness to death. This session explores books that have done this well, and considers our responsibility as children's writers – including the role of diversity in children's literature.


Laura Mucha

Laura Mucha

Laura Mucha

Guest Tutor

Lucy Farfort

Lucy Farfort


Bloomsbury House

74 - 77 Great Russell Street

London WC1B 3DA


While we hope this course will take place in our London offices as normal, we’re always monitoring the situation with COVID-19, both nationally and locally, very carefully. We have extensive Covid safety measures in place in Bloomsbury House and are continuously re-evaluating these according to and beyond current Government guidelines.

Should any change in situation regarding the virus require us to move a portion of your classes online, we now have both the expertise and the technology to do so without disrupting your experience with us. If we do need to pursue this option, using video-conferencing software and our bespoke virtual classroom, we will also offer a discount for the affected sessions.

Find out more about our Covid safety measures and refund policy here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this course teach illustration?

Laura won’t be teaching you how to illustrate, but there will be a focus on thinking about illustration as it’s key to writing a good picture book. Illustration, and working with illustrators, will be discussed throughout the course, including in the guest sessions with an agent and editor. Laura will also be asking you to make dummies of your books so that you can think visually about what action will be happening and where. That won’t require any drawing skill or experience – it’s just a way of marking out where things will be happening and trying to practise thinking in terms of pictures as well as words.

I'm a published children's author but have never written a picture book. Will I find this course useful?

Yes. Picture books have very particular constraints that do not apply to books for older children as they rely less heavily on the interaction of words and pictures and have much larger word counts.

Will board books for infants be covered in this course?

No (with the exception of picture books that have been published in board format, as well as paperback).