Past Events

Speed Dating

We at Picture Hooks love playing matchmaker, and so for our October Speed Dating event we did just that. We invited professionals from all corners of the children’s publishing industry to Edinburgh to meet not only our five mentees, but ten more illustrators who came to us from Scotland as well as the north of England.

Each pairing had ten minutes to go over the illustrator’s portfolio before we rang the bell and moved them on to the next one. It was a fantastic event, and opened the door for our emerging illustrators to break into the publishing world and introduce the industry to new talent.

A big thank you to all who attended – and watch this space!

Picture Hooks Conference 2017 with Association of Illustrators and Manchester School of Art

Picture Hooks held its fourth conference this year in partnership with The Association of Illustrators and Manchester School of Art.

It was a brilliant day, and great opportunity for emerging illustrators and graduates to get an insider’s view into the picture book industry and other commercial opportunities, with illuminating talks from leading publishing experts and agents.

We were joined this year by Tessa Strickland, the co-founder of Barefoot Books, and Tiffany Leeson, the Creative Director of Egmont Publishing.

Illustrator Robert Hunter along with Zoe Aubugeau-Williams of Nobrow Press spoke about Robert’s hugely successful career in print and moving image. Rob discussed the vital relationship between agent, illustrator and publisher, as well as the importance of promotion.

The AOI presented a special edition of the hugely popular series AOI Discusses: Making More Money with Amy Veried (agent at Handsome Frank) plus illustrators Matthew the Horse and Sonny Ross. They shared their experiences and offered practical tips around contracts, negotiation and the awkwardness of pricing your work.

You can read recaps of the sessions and interviews with the panelists here.

Exhibition 2016

Picture Hooks Macrobert 005 copy

The work from 2014/15’s five selected illustrators and their mentors went on a tour of Scottish venues. It was first on display in the National Portrait Gallery from 30th October 2015 – 26th February 2016 before moving to the MacRobert Arts Centre in Stirling from July 15th – August 31st and Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries from November 12th – January 7th 2017.

Conference 2016

Our 2016 conference was a great day, with interactive and informative sessions from experts in the industry of children’s publishing and plenty of opportunities to network with other emerging illustrators.

Picture Hooks began five years ago, when literary agent Lucy Juckes and author Vivian French noticed that there wasn’t a programme supporting illustrators. There were lots of courses and opportunities for writers, but nothing for illustrators. They set up a scheme to provide support, through a conference and mentoring scheme, master classes and portfolio surgeries and also to raise the profile of illustration, particularly through an exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of the mentors’ and mentees’  work.

To find out more about the programme head over to this great article from BookBrunch here.

If you weren’t able to make it along to this fantastic day, we’ve recapped all the sessions for you! Have a read and be sure to keep an eye out for the details of the 2016 mentoring scheme.

Session 1 with Tessa Strickland, Co-Founder and Editor in Chief at Barefoot Books

Session 2 with Session 2 with Nicki Field, Head of Illustration at Jelly London


Viv and Lucy enjoying the day


Lecture 2016

On February 25th 2016 the leading literary commentator, writer, critic and broadcaster, Nicolette Jones (shortlisted for the Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished service to the world of children’s books) gave a key note speech on children’s book illustration to celebrate the 2015/16 Picture Hooks exhibition.