Summer school proves a massive draw

Published: 31 July 2012 at 14:56

Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler is guest speaker on special Anglia Ruskin course

A Children’s Book Illustration summer school designed to show budding artists how to transfer their work from sketchbook to picturebook has proved a massive draw, with only a handful of places available.

The summer school, which is open to the public and takes place on Anglia Ruskin University’s East Road campus in Cambridge from 6-11 August, will feature lectures by leading international figures including Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo.

Studio sessions will be on a one-to-one basis and run by experienced tutors from Anglia Ruskin’s world-leading MA Children’s Book Illustration course.  Teaching is supported by high-profile speakers such as Professor Martin Salisbury, Paula Metcalf and Alexis Deacon, winner of the New York Times Book Review’s Best Illustrated Book of the Year award.

MA Children’s Book Illustration students have taken first prize in the prestigious Macmillan Prize for Children’s Picture Book Illustration for the past three years.  Many others have gained national and international recognition, with over 50 graduates having gone on to sign major publishing deals.

Pam Smy, Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin and herself a published illustrator, said:

“To many people the process that an illustrator goes through to get their book on the shelf is a bit of a mystery.  The summer school is a great opportunity for us to introduce students to the creative process involved and to encourage illustrators to look afresh at what makes a picturebook successful.
“We have a very hands-on, one-to-one approach to teaching, so we can work with students whatever their previous experience, and we can never predict at the beginning of the course the fabulous variety of results the students will produce by the end of the week.
“This year we are especially lucky to have a series of guest speakers throughout the week and it is wonderful that professional, award-winning illustrators are prepared to share their ‘behind the scenes’ work with the students.  It provides a direct link between what we are working on in the studio and those who are out working in the industry; writing and illustrating the books we have on our children’s bookshelves.”

The price of the summer school includes attendance at a one-day conference ‘Out There: How to Get Your Children’s Book Illustration Published’ on Saturday, 11 August.  Tickets for the conference – which features tips and insights from key people working within the industry such as David Fickling, the publisher responsible for the Horrible Histories series and publishing novels such as Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Helen Mackenzie Smith, Publishing Director at Harper Collins Children’s Books, and leading literary agent Elizabeth Roy – are also available to book separately.

The five-day Children’s Book Illustration summer school costs £490 and places at the Out There conference cost £80.  To reserve places, visit and