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Planning a Non-Fiction Picture Book

Online course for adults
26 April – 5 July 2024
Fridays, 10:00 – 12:00 BST

There is no class on Friday 31 May

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This in-depth intermediate level course will support you to create your non-fiction book, focussing on how to plan books that display information in an accessible and engaging way for your audience.

With guidance from award-winning illustrator Owen Davey, you will learn how to research effectively and plan your pages, while developing your unique way of creating images. You will get valuable insight into how to take your book to the next level by presenting it to publishers.

Our small class size of no more than 16 students will ensure that you receive personalised feedback from Owen in a relaxed and friendly learning environment. By the end of ten weeks, you will have a plan for your book, some finished spreads and the knowledge you need to take it forward.

A double page spread of a picture book with illustration of a rodent outside scratching their ear with a text box full of text about fleas.
Please Don't Bite Me © Owen Davey

Course content includes:


  • Effective research techniques
  • Approaches to non-fiction
  • Refining your project goals
  • Condensing text


  • Layout
  • Pace and flow
  • Style
  • Colour theory
  • Converting thumbnails into sketches
  • Refining final artworks

Professional development

  • Finding an agent
  • Contacting potential clients
  • Contracts, advances and royalties
  • Presenting your work
A double page spread of a picture book with many illustrations of insects with a text box introduction on the right hand side page.
Please Don't Bite Me © Owen Davey
Single page from a picture book with illustrations with wasps on a picnic with text about what a wasp eats.
Please Don't Bite Me © Owen Davey

About Owen

Owen Davey is an award-winning illustrator who has worked with clients including Lego, WWF and National Geographic. He is the lead illustrator on the award-winning app Two Dots. His picture books have been published in over 17 languages. His Fanatical About Books was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards and longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal in 2020.

What people say about this course

“The book I've ended up developing is not the one I had in mind to begin with - it's better. The course has helped me pick the right topic, develop my thinking, colour choices, art style. I don't think I could have asked for more!”

“Owen is wonderful at building trust and comfort in a group and he is extremely generous with information about his process and the business of illustration.”

“A good balance between lecture-style content, feedback and time to work on our own projects with Owen there as a guide”

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