Eric Makes a Splash by Emily MacKenzie (Bloomsbury, 2018)

Fearful/Brave – a Picture Hooks Competition

This year Picture Hooks competitions will invite aspiring children’s illustrators to submit a pair of original narrative illustrations. The theme for our February/March competition is Fearful/Brave.

We invite you to create two illustrations with the same original character or characters. Each illustration must show the character in a different emotional context: for this competition, one illustration should be themed ‘fearful’ and the other ‘brave’. Who is your character, what is making them afraid, and what would it look like for them to overcome that fear with bravery? We can’t wait to meet your character/s and see how they evolve between these two emotional states.

The Fearful/Brave competition will open for submissions on 12 February and close on 10 March 2024.

We can’t wait to see your illustrations and get to know your characters. Please note that characters must be wholly original and that two illustrations must be submitted by each entrant.

The competition

The competition is to find illustrations to establish this collection. There will be one Fearful/Brave competition taking place during February and March 2024.


The competition will have one winner, who will receive £500. There will be two additional awarded runners up, who will receive £250 each. Awarded illustrations will be displayed on the Picture Hooks social media in the first instance, and in a physical exhibition space one day. 


The Picture Hooks Fearful/Brave competition is open to all people of any nationality aged 18 and over, except employees of Picture Hooks or any agent or sponsor associated with the competition and members of their immediate families. Entries are limited to one entry (ie. one pair of illustrations) per person.

There is no fee to enter!

Further information

Please note, by submitting an entry you are confirming that both illustrations are your own, original work of which you are the copyright owner, and that you agree to the Terms and Conditions as set out on the Submission Form, including the granting of certain rights to exhibit your illustrations online and in a physical space and allowing for the option to further use your entry with your prior consent. Please read all Terms and Conditions and ensure you understand them before entering this competition.

Illustration Requirements: 

1. Your entry must be submitted in its final form and must be two wholly original illustrations created by you which contain no material taken from a third-party source. The illustrations must not have been published in any form (other than non-commercially on either your own website or your own social media platform) and must not have been submitted to any competition other than a Picture Hooks Fearful/Brave competition, or to any third party for publication previously. 

2. Your pair of original illustrations may be any size and medium; however, your final entry for the competition must be submitted as digital files of your pair of illustrations (see How to Submit below).

3. Your two illustrations must not be in portrait format, but may be square or landscape.

4. Your two digital submission files should be low-resolution digital files with the following specifications – file format: jpg | resolution: 72 dpi | colour mode: RGB | max file size: 3 MB per file. (Only the winners will be asked to provide high-resolution digital files.)

5. Label both of your digital illustrations file with your name and the title of the illustration pair – for example, “Paolo Rosso–Fearful and Brave”. 

6. If you are unable to scan your illustrations, then you may take a photograph of your illustrations using a digital camera or a smartphone, ensuring the Illustration Requirements are still met and that your photographs are clear and in focus. If you submit your entry using this method, please keep your original illustrations safe and in good condition until at least two weeks after the closing date of the Fearful/Brave competition.

Entries that do not meet the above Illustration Requirements may be disqualified.

How to submit:

1. Ensure you meet the Eligibility criteria (see above) and you have read and understood the Terms and Conditions (including the Licence) set out on the Submission Form.

2. Ensure your entry meets the Illustration Requirements above.

3. Submit the Submission Form.

4. Email your submission (with both illustrations attached to the same email) to

Submission and decision dates:

There will be one Fearful/Brave competition: 

Submissions will open at 01.00 am UK time on Monday 12 February 2024 and close at 11.59 pm UK time on Sunday 10 March 2024. The successful submissions (winner and awarded runners up) will receive an email by 11.59 pm UK time on Monday 25 March 2024. 

Please review the Frequently Asked Questions section below for further details on submitting your illustrations.

Good luck and thank you for reading!


What happens if I win?
The winner of each competition will receive £500, and two additional awarded runners up will receive £250 each. The prize-winning illustrations will be featured online – on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We may also show other highly commended entries but we’ll be touch with you if that’s the case.

If I submit illustrations on a different theme, can it still be considered by the judges?
Sorry – no. Please submit one pair of illustrations on the theme of Fearful/Brave.

Can I submit one illustration rather than two?
No – a complete entry must include two illustrations showing the same character/s before and after a transition. 

Can I introduce new characters in one of my two illustrations?
Yes, but the main character or characters must remain the same between both illustrations.

May I submit physical samples?
No. Entries are to be submitted online only.

Can I submit illustrations that I made for another purpose?
The aim of the competition is to inspire fresh creativity – our hope is that the competition will continue to spark original, creative ideas.

How many digital files must I submit?
We require you to submit two digital files, one of each of your illustrations – as low-resolution jpgs. (Only the winners will be required to submit high-resolution files.)

Can my illustrations be any size?
Yes, but they must be landscape or square, not portrait. And when you submit them, you must provide one digital file of each illustration with the following specifications: File format: jpg | resolution: 72 dpi | colour mode: RGB | max file size: 3 MB).

What colour format should the files be in? 
The digital files should be in RGB format and saved as a .jpg. If you are successful and if we wish to display your work in print, Picture Hooks will contact you to discuss the specific file formats we need.

What if I don’t have a scanner?
If you are unable to scan your illustrations, then you can take a photograph of your illustrations using a digital camera or a smartphone, ensuring the Illustration Requirements above are still met and that your photographs are clear and in focus. If you are a winner, we will be in touch with you about how to scan your work.

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

How do I know my Submission Form has been sent?
Your application is complete when you see the following message under the submission form:

When will I know if my submission is successful?
Successful submissions will receive an email from us to congratulate them on their win. If you don’t hear from us by the notification date, then we’re afraid you have been unsuccessful. We cannot email unsuccessful participants but we do however look at every entry we receive. We will publish the results on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Do I attach my illustrations to the submission form?
No, you submit them separately. Please fill and submit your submission form via our website, and then send us your pair of illustrations, both attached to the same email, to Please note that it is your responsibility to make sure your illustrations are sent correctly.

What happens if my entry doesn’t meet the time deadline?
If your entry is received after the deadline, it cannot be considered, so please make sure you send the artworks and submission form to us according to the deadlines for the competition, as specified above. And please remember that we need to have both your pair of illustrations and your submission form for your entry to be valid. We regret that we are unable to contact those who fail to follow these instructions.

If I win the competition, will I have to pay to print and frame my winning illustrations?
No, Picture Hooks can pay and organise that.

Is it possible to win more than once?
We judge entries blind so previous wins are not considered at the judging stage, however in the interest of opening the competitions to as many as possible from 2024 we will be trying to avoid the same individual winning more than once. It is possible to be a runner up more than once, or be a runner up on one occasion and a winner on another.

For more help, please contact