Looking for Illustrators

I am looking for illustrators to take part in my
Picture Book Illustration e-Course Pilot Program.

The 6-week Pilot Program starts Thursday 26th October, 2017
(with a Thanksgiving break Thursday 30th November)
finishing on Thursday 7th December 2017

Picture Book Illustration e-Course

The Picture Book Illustration e-Course (PBIC) will walk you through the entire process of illustrating a picture book from start to finish. Offering support, guidance and projects to keep you on-track while you develop your story. With weekly lessons, printable resources, set projects and feedback (on coursework) from me and the online community.

During the 6-weeks, I will share the process that I use when working on a story from generate ideas, designing character, developing a storyboard, all the way through to producing a final artwork. The weekly projects are designed to keep you on track and to bring you ever closer to your picture book dream.

The process of illustrating Florence Fox

You can either choose to work on the ‘Florence Fox Goes to School’ class text (and be in the running to have your illustrations selected to accompany Ben Whittacker-Cook’s manuscript) or you can work on your own story, using the course classes and resources to pace yourself or to kick-start your project.

A Little About Me

I’ve been illustrating picture books since my first publication Little Platypus receiving a CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Notable Book Award in 2000. Since then, I’ve had more than a dozen picture books published worldwide, winning some awards along the way.

I’ve enjoyed teaching picture book illustration since 2007, using interactive white boards and video conferencing technology to deliver talks and workshops to schools across Australia with Literature Live!  (2010 – 2012). More recently, I’ve been teaching regular character design and illustration classes with Skillshare (since May 2016) having taught more than 10,000 students to date.

Nina Rycroft’s Picture Books

Course Outline

OCT 26 : WEEK ONE is all about introductions and discussing the things that you will need to consider before starting work on your story. Gathering inspiration and learning how to organise your collections into workable resources.

Generating Ideas for the Florence Fox character

NOV 2 : WEEK TWO is learning the character mapping process and exploring character within the context of a story. I’ll be walking you through what you need to consider before designing a character, showing how to transform key words and phrases from the manuscript into your first character sketches.

Character Mapping for Florence Fox

Starting with the face, you’ll explore multiple possibilities, then…

you’ll work your character as a whole, focusing on the entire body.

Florence Fox character ideas

As a picture book illustrator, you will need to be able to draw your character over and over, and in multiple positions. A character map not only helps you understand what your character looks like from every angle, but it also helps keep your character consistent throughout the story.

I’ll show you some simple techniques on how to bring movement to your character, using key ‘action’ phrases from the manuscript to draw a series of character vignettes. This will set you up for next weeks storyboarding.

Bringing Florence Fox to life

NOV 9 : WEEK THREE is all about storyboarding. Using text breaks and illustrations to influence the pace, rhythm and flow of your story. I will show you how to use this to your advantage, while you set to work on your thumbnail sketches.

Thumbnail sketches for Boom-Bah! (Phil Cummings)

NOV 16 : WEEK FOUR you will be transforming your thumbnail sketches into a larger storyboard format. Adding in detail, learning about composition and the need to consider both the image and the text. I’ll discuss setting and how this can dramatically change the tone and mood of your story.

My storyboard for ‘Pooka’ (Carol Chataway)

NOV 23 : There will be a break over thanksgiving. Time to catch up (or rest).

NOV 30 : WEEK FIVE is when you set up your final illustration, keeping in mind crop-marks, bleed, the gutter, cleanliness and or course readability. After deciding on technique and style, you’ll then draw-up and start producing your final artwork.

‘Florence Fox Goes to School’ illustration layout

DEC 7 : WEEK SIX is the final week. By now, you have designed a character, developed a storyboard and produced a final artwork for your story, sharing your journey with your online community. So…to wrap things up, there will be a ‘live’ video conference session discussing “What Next?”

Picture Book Illustration e-Course Showcase

Following the completion of the Picture Book Illustration e-Course, you’ll be invited to submit illustrations to feature in the Picture Book Illustration e-Course Showcase, which will be posted 1st on January 2018 and shared across multiple online platforms.

Will I complete a picture book by the end of the course?

Illustrating a picture book is a marathon not a sprint, it can take me anywhere for 3-months to 3-years to illustrate a story, so please don’t put that pressure on yourself (or your artwork). I don’t expect anyone to finish a picture book in 6-weeks. Instead, look at the Picture Book Illustration e-Course Pilot Program as an opportunity to get a real understanding of your story, expand ideas, map out characters, develop a storyboard and use the time to connect with like-minded people.

Online Community

A key part of the PBIC success will the online community. A ‘closed’ group designed only for students enrolled in the Picture Book Illustration e-Course Pilot Program. If you decide to join the Pilot Program, you’ll be one of the founding members of the community, setting the tone of future members. The group has been designed to safely share your coursework and engage with other members. I’ll be popping in once a week (for the duration of the course) offering feedback, guidance and the occasional ‘live’ feed.


Following the completion of the Picture Book Illustration e-Course Pilot Program…

  • I’ll be leaving the online community ‘open’ so that you can continue to support each other’s picture book journeys (and successes).
  • I’ll also be offering life-time access to the Picture Book Illustration e-Course video’s
  • as well as valuable Picture Book Illustration e-Course Printables


Do I need to draw like you?

The exciting thing about picture books is that they offer a wide variety of styles and techniques. During the course I’ll be drawing and demonstrating with my illustration style – and you are more than welcome to try it out. It’s perfectly normal to ‘copy’ as your work through the lessons and projects. Eventually, as you gain more confidence you’ll learn to translate what I teach to your own skill set. Across the 6-weeks, I’ll be encouraging you to gather inspiration from a wide variety of sources to help you discover (or solidify) your own visual ‘voice’ … whatever that may be. Whether your style is naive, emotive, graphic or cartoon-like, I want you to be able to celebrate you and to be able to bring this to your story.

Who Can Enrol?

The Picture Book Illustration e-Course is open to all levels as it is designed to allow you to take your individual skill set and build on that.

You may have no art experience, just a great story idea or you may like to learn how to translate your fine art, etchings, collage, appliqué etc … into the picture book format. Perhaps you are an animation or design student, wanting to up-skill or break into the publishing market with a comprehensive portfolio piece. Or maybe you’re looking to self-publish or to find a publisher. You might be working on a competition piece or perhaps you’ve just signed your first picture book contract and you’re looking for some guidance.

Either way this course is the perfect accompaniment for your creative project, designed to keep you on track, expand your story ideas and offer support while you to develop your project.


Can I publish and sell my e-Course illustrations?

  • Can I use my ‘Florence Goes to School’ character designs and illustrations for my own personal portfolio? Yes you can. As long as you credit Ben Whittacker-Cook as the author.
  • Can I publish my ‘Florence Goes to School’ character designs and illustrations as a picture book, an e-book, or for my own personal book? Absolutely not. As the author of ‘Florence Fox Goes to School’ and the creator of the Florence Fox character, Ben Whittacker-Cook has allowed the Picture Book Illustration e-Course to use his unpublished manuscript ONLY for your personal and creative development.
  • Can I sell the illustrations that I make on the e-Course? That depends. If it is a copy of the Picture Book Illustration e-Course work, then no. If the work you create is just inspired by a technique or lesson, and isn’t recognisable as Nina’s, then by all means, sell it with pride.
  • Can I send my ‘Florence Goes to School’ character designs and illustrations to a publisher? Yes, as long as you credit Ben Whittacker-Cook as the author.

What the program asks of you

  • Work your way through the weekly projects
  • Post and engage with the online community
  • Offer feedback and ideas to improve future Picture Book Illustration e-Courses

What the program offers

  • Weekly feedback from me
  • A ‘live’ video conference session with me and the PBIC members
  • Ongoing community support from other PBIC members that will continue even after the pilot program is complete
  • A signed copy of my ‘Ballroom Bonanza’ picture book
  •  (While you wait for class to begin) you’ll get free access to my ‘Face Shapes’ Skillshare class
  • A marketing feature in the Picture Book Illustration e-Course Showcase video
  • Limited to 25 seats
  • Heavily discounted at US$99.00 (the price for PBIC will then be set at US$247.00)

How do I enrol?

There are no more spots available in the ‘Picture Book Illustration e-Course’ Pilot Program. If you would like to be put on the waiting list for the ‘actual’ Picture Book Illustration e-Course starting 22nd Feb 2018 at the cost of US$247.00, please email me at nina@ninarycroft.com

To get a better idea of what you you’d like out of the course, let me know…

  • if you planning on working on your own text or the course manuscript?
  • What you would like to get out of thePicture Book Illustration e-Course?
  • Where did you heard about the Picture Book Illustration e-Course Pilot Program?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Nina x