Buddy Scheme

Our first buddy scheme is now open for applications. Keep an eye on social media and our website for further details.

Find out more about how the scheme works and look at the FAQs at the bottom of this page.

Who can apply?

Anyone aged 18+ who has a talent for art and an interest in exploring a career in children’s picture book illustration. You may not have done a relevant degree or be from an arts background – what matters is passion, talent and enthusiasm to commit six months to learn more and develop picture book illustration work with your buddy. 

Who will be successful?

Our panel will be looking for evidence of talent, creativity and passion in your work. The successful applicants will demonstrate enthusiasm and potential to develop as children’s book illustrators. We are interested to see work from artists without a traditional illustration background with new styles and perspectives to share. 

How do I apply?

You can apply for the Picture Hooks buddy scheme via our online entry form below. The deadline for applications is midnight on Tuesday 31 May 2022.

Applications guidelines

Entry Fee

There is a £15.00 entry fee to cover the cost of administration. Please note that your entry will not be considered if we have not received this fee. When you submit the entry form you will be redirected to PayPal where your secure payment can be made.

Entry Requirements

To enter, please submit:

1. Three examples of your artistic work (colour or black and white) that give us an idea of your style and potential. 

2. A cover letter telling us why you wish to be considered for the scheme and what you are hoping to gain from the process. You may also include a link to your website or online presence if you wish.

Preparing your entry

• All entries should be submitted via our online entry form.

• All entries should be in .pdf or .jpg format. 

• You should submit three art files in total: three examples of your artistic work, divided into three separate files)

• Each of your submitted files should not be more than 2 megabytes.

• Your artwork does not have to be high-resolution or print quality at this stage (i.e. make sure it is no less than 72 dpi, but there is no need to go as high as 300 dpi).

• Make sure that your artwork displays well on screen. 

• When naming your files please use this system: SurnameInitial1.jpg, with consecutive numbering for each piece i.e. Catherine Rayner’s three samples would be called: RaynerC1.jpg, RaynerC2.jpg and RaynerC3.jpg.

• Your samples must be entirely your own work. Any copyright issues existing, or arising, are the applicant’s responsibility.

What happens next?

Our panel of experts will compile a shortlist of candidates and invite them to an interview (either online or in person if possible) to take place in June 2022.

For the interview, each illustrator will be asked to show their portfolio or sketchbooks as we love to see work in progress.

The decision will be communicated shortly after the interview stage at the end of June, and the five successful artists will then be matched with an appropriate professional. The scheme will take place from September 2022 to February 2023.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide individual feedback to or enter into any correspondence with unsuccessful applicants. To access further support from Picture Hooks, keep an eye out for the workshops, talks and events that we hold throughout the year.


Do I have to pay to enter? 
There is a fee of £15 which goes towards the costs of administration.

When is the deadline?
The deadline for applications is midnight on Tuesday 31 May 2022.

How does the buddy scheme work?
Five creative artists will be matched with five established children’s book illustrators. You’ll find details here about how the scheme works.

What is the difference between the buddy scheme and the mentoring programme?
Our Mentoring Programme is designed to support experienced emerging children’s illustrators with professional and/or degree experience as they embark on their careers. The Buddy Scheme is an introduction to illustration for creative artists who may not have considered the craft before. You can read more about the difference between the schemes here.

I am doing an MA in illustration, can I apply?
For those with degree or professional experience in illustration we suggest applying to our Mentoring Programme for emerging illustrators, which will open in July 2022.

Are there any additional costs for the buddy scheme?
No, there is no cost to take part in the scheme, if you are selected as one our of five illustrators.

When will successful candidates be informed? 
All applicants will be contacted in June 2022 to let you know if you have been shortlisted for interview, or if we are unable to take your application forwards this time. 

Can you give me feedback on my entry? 
We’re sorry but we’re unable to provide individual feedback or enter into any correspondence with unsuccessful candidates, but please keep an eye out for workshops and other events that are coming up.

What size should the illustrations be? 
We don’t mind – just whatever size you like. But remember that the digital file size should be in RGB format and should not exceed 2MB.

Does it matter what medium I use? 
You can use any medium that can be saved into a .jpg or .pdf format. 

What format should the files be in? 
The digital files should be less than 2MB and saved as a .jpg or .pdf. If you are successful, Picture Hooks will contact you to discuss the specific file formats we need for your work to be displayed in print.

How do I compress my files?
If using Photoshop you can use ‘Save for web and devices’ to compress your artwork as a .jpg file. Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat also allow for compression and optimising of artwork when creating .pdf files.

Can I submit animations?
No, unfortunately not, as this buddy scheme is for potential picture book illustrators.

I live overseas. Can I apply?
Yes, we would be delighted to hear from you. We are not able to refund travel costs for taking part in the scheme, but you are welcome to meet with your buddy online.

Is there a minimum age for applicants to the scheme?
Yes, the scheme is only open to those aged 18 or over.

I still have questions, who can I contact?
Send us an email on info@picturehooks.org.uk and we’ll get back to you.

When you are ready to submit your application, please complete this form:

    Your full name (required)

    Email address (required)

    Phone number (required)

    Postal Address (required)

    Link to online presence or type 'No online presence'

    Personal Statement (required)

    Portfolio image 1 (required)

    Portfolio image 2 (required)

    Portfolio image 3 (required)

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