Can you draw? Do you love illustrating?

Seeing yourself, your family, your culture and your community reflected on the pages of books is important at any age. It’s perhaps even more important for our youngest readers.

That’s why for the first time in 2018 we’re opening up WriteNow to include illustrators of children’s picture books.

"Illustrators bring words and stories to life - they create compelling characters, magical worlds and spark children's imaginations."

Anna Billson, Art Director, Penguin Random House Children's

Who are we looking for?

We’re looking for talented, creative people with a love of drawing who have the potential to illustrate our children’s picture books. You don’t need to have any previous experience as an illustrator, either in the children’s books genre or in any other book genre.

Through WriteNow we want to find new illustrators with different perspectives and experiences. This means:

  • We're looking for new illustrators - so you won't have published a children’s book in the last 10 years through a commercial publishing house. You also won't have an illustration agent or publishing contract at the moment.
  • You'll come from a background that is currently under-represented in books and publishing. We'll ask you to tell us in your own words what this means for you. For example, you could be from a socio-economically marginalised background, identify as BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) or LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer), or have a disability.
  • You'll also be at least 18 years old and be resident in the UK.

What's on offer?

We’ll invite 10 talented illustrators to attend our free Nottingham workshop on Saturday 29 September where you’ll hear from published picture book authors and illustrators, as well as designers and editors working in our Children’s team.

You’ll also get one-to-one feedback from a Penguin Random House designer on the artwork you’ve submitted, together with a portfolio of other work you’ll bring with you on the day.

We’ll then shortlist the most promising illustrators for our mentoring scheme, which will see you paired up with one of our expert designers for a year to develop your artwork and skills as an illustrator, as well as introducing you to an illustration agent. While there are no guarantees, ultimately we would love to publish illustrators we discover through WriteNow – pairing them up with an existing author or picture book text.

What do I need to do to apply?

Applications are now closed. Thank you for applying.

To apply, we’ll ask you to illustrate the text of the classic fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk.

Ordinarily as a children’s picture book illustrator you would be tasked with bringing to life an author's words – so we’ve replicated this process for WriteNow using an existing picture book text.

You will need to sketch out the whole book to show how your visuals will bring the story to life across the twelve spreads of the book. These should be in black and white and can be as rough or as detailed as you wish, but should convey a sense of the pacing of the story and your individual style. You will also need to submit one full-colour piece of art. You can pick your favourite spread from the twelve for this.

Download the text as a PDF laid out across the twelve spreads of the book here. You’ll then be asked to upload your sketches and your finished artwork as part of the application process.

You can draw it by hand, or you can use design software - it’s entirely up to you.

Please work to a page size of, or in proportion to, 250mm x 250mm. The spread size is 250mm x 500mm.

Get creative with your work! And don’t feel constrained by the traditional fairy tale look or existing characterisation – we want to see your potential, originality and flair. We want to see you depict the story as you think it should be represented through illustration.

The deadline for illustrators is Monday 23 July.

If you’re shortlisted for the mentoring programme following the Nottingham workshop in September, we'll then ask you to send us a revised colour spread from your Jack and the Beanstalk interpretation, taking into account the designer’s feedback from the one-to-one, and as well as two pieces of work from your portfolio or other things you have done which you are most proud of.

Nadia Shireen
Nadia Shireen
Nadia Shireen
Nadia Shireen
Nadia Shireen