Illustration of a bear
Illustration by Petr Horacek

Mentoring Programme

Mentoring Programme

Our mentoring programme is now closed for applications. Thank you to everybody who sent in their submissions.

Who is the programme for?

Our mentoring scheme is designed for emerging illustrators ready to take the final step into a career in children’s picture book illustration. Perhaps you have completed a degree in illustration, or already have a portfolio of work and are looking to polish your craft and build connections in the industry. Our mentoring programme will help you take off as a fully-fledged children’s picture book illustrator.


Emerging illustrators will be matched with eminent and established illustrators for nine months. You and your mentor will focus on aspects of the illustrator’s 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 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 Picture Hooks events taking place throughout the year.

Showcasing your work

Towards the end of the process, you will be given the opportunity to show your portfolio to UK publishers and the Picture Hooks team will take your work to Bologna International Book Fair. We also intend that the work you make during the mentoring scheme will be displayed in the Picture Hooks Festival of Illustration.

Meet our previous mentors and mentees

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.

“My mentor helped me to create a book I’m really happy with, and shared many brilliant tips that I can apply to future projects.”
– Laura Darling, mentee 2020-21

“Fundamentally, through Ross’ fantastic straight-talking mentoring, and a series of insightful masterclasses, I feel – cliché coming – I have found my voice. I am incredibly fortunate to have been a part of Picture Hooks 2021.”
– Chris Knight, mentee 2020-21

No illustration experience but interested to give it a go? Check out our Buddy Scheme for creative artists.