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Mentoring Programme

Our 2020-2021 Mentoring Programme.

Our next mentoring scheme will open for submissions in June 2020, interviews will be held in Autumn 2020 and with the mentoring will start in January 2021. Keep an eye on our social media where we will announce full details when we launch.

Find out more about Picture Hooks mentoring for illustrators.

Current Programme

It was an incredibly strong year for applications and we had a wonderful time working with our mentees throughout 2019 you can find out a wee bit more about everyone on our blog. And don’t forget you can see their work at National Gallery of Scotland Modern One until May 2020.


Five emerging illustrators will be matched with five eminent and established illustrators for nine months.  You and your mentor will focus on particular aspects of the illustrators’ work.

For the mentee, it is a similar experience to working closely with an editor for a year, but with the additional opportunity to experiment and work outside your comfort zone, trying new techniques and methods.

One mentee will be awarded the title of the Picture Hooks Illustrator of the year.


There will be a training session to establish how you and your mentor will work together and to discuss your processes and intended outcomes.

The mentees will also be given further training during the scheme, which may include a trip to a publishing house in London to see the publishing process at first hand, and sessions on self-promotion, portfolio presentation and running events.  You will also be encouraged to attend the other training classes on offer to Picture Hook Illustrators throughout the year.

Showcasing your work

Towards the end of the process, you will be given the opportunity to show your portfolio to publishers and the work made during the mentoring scheme will be displayed at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art for 3 months and then tour the UK.

Applications will open in June 2020 for the next mentoring scheme

You can apply via our online entry form. Please make sure you read all the guidance before submitting your application. The deadline for submitting your application is midnight on September 30th, 2018.

Extra information

Please note that the final details of the mentoring scheme will be dependent on funding.

The five chosen illustrators from the 2018/19 programme were:  Anna Gordillo, Chie Hosaka, Francis Martin, Helen Kellock and Will Hughes. Read more about all our illustrators here.

Previous mentors on the scheme were: Debi Gliori, Brita Granström and Mick Manning, Cate James, Natalie Russell, and Nick Sharratt.

Past stories

We have had a lot of talent pass through the mentoring scheme, and successes have included beautiful published picture books by our mentees, such as Lesley Barnes and Maisie Paradise Shearring. For information on previous mentees and their mentors, you can see the illustrators section of our website.

Each year, we collect feedback from our participants in order to improve upon the scheme. Below you can find some closing comments from past mentees.

“It has been a great process. In comparison to this time last year and thanks to the Picture Hooks mentorship year I feel in a much better position to continue working towards book illustration work.” – Rachel Everitt, mentee 2017-18

I think the scheme is a great stepping stone to getting your foot in the door and learning about picture book making, especially if you haven’t specialised in illustration.” – Hlin Davidsdottir, mentee 2017-18