Masterclass on Picture Books

Masterclass on Picture Books by Anushka Ravishankar, India, Gavin Bishop and John McKenzie, New Zealand

Join the Masterclass on Picture Books and get this fantastic opportunity to take a peek into the wit, wonder and wisdom of some of the most celebrated experts in children’s literature today. Whether you are just beginning the path towards publication, or are already well-established, this Masterclass offers an invaluable guide to the craft of writing and illustrating picture books.

What’s different? Why sign up?

We’ll have hands-on mini workshops focusing on special interests:

  • The narrative structure and techniques
  • The value of pictures rather than words
  • Composition issues and storyboarding
  • The depth and layers that make up the genre “picture book” for various age groups
  • Interpretation/comprehension strategies
  • Picture books on subject matters for learning and advanced readers.

We’ll also have discussion sessions designed to bring diverse groups together and focus on some key issues:

  • What distinguishes between illustrated books as opposed to true picture books
  • The difficulties of telling and writing/illustrating a picture book that details another culture
  • Exploring how adult beliefs about childhood are embedded in stories we tell children
  • Exploring the hard side of life and the need for the “dark side” of childhood
  • How we can encourage critical thinking e.g. political, religious, gender perspectives
  • Violence, suicide and sexuality – Can books be dangerous for some children/young people?

The picture book often constructs an image of childhood that is “cute”.

Let us look into the possibilities of challenging children’s pleasures and popular culture.

Let us question – Are all award-winning picture books actually picture books?

The workshop leaders will also share about the real-world issues of getting published from their own experiences.

Who should definitely register?

Writers and illustrators, no matter if you’re just starting out or already have published works, teachers, librarians, parents and everyone who is passionate about picture books .

Can’t draw? Don’t worry – the class focuses on developing your vision for the imagery and pacing, visualising the pages and the reader’s interaction with the book.

Can draw? Brilliant – we’ll look forward to your sketches!

Workshop Leaders:

Anushka Ravishankar, India

Dubbed ‘India’s Dr. Seuss’, Anushka Ravishankar is one of India’s most celebrated children’s authors. A tremendously talented poet, she is often credited with being the first writer to adapt the difficult nonsense verse form to the cadences of Indian English. Anushka has won national and international acclaim for the 15 jubilant and artful verse-tales she’s released with Tara Publishing over the last decade, rights to these books have been snapped up in the US, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Korea, Italy, Japan and Spain.

Gavin Bishop, New Zealand

Gavin Bishop has published over 40 books that have been translated into nine languages. He has also written the libretti for children’s ballets for the Royal New Zealand Ballet as well as scripts for television. Gavin Bishop is widely travelled and has been a guest author and speaker, through UNESCO, in Japan, China, Indonesia and the USA. He was a guest lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1996. In 2003 with an Art and Science Collaboration Grant at Canterbury University he helped produce the world’s first 3-dimensional, animated picture book.

John Mckenzie, New Zealand

John McKenzie is a Principal Lecturer at the University of Canterbury College of Education, passionate about the centrality of story, in all its guises, in the curriculum. He designed and implemented the graduate level Diploma in Children’s Literature. He has many conference papers to his credit, is involved in the development of literacy qualifications in South Africa and has been awarded the Betty Gilderdale Award for services to NZ children’s literature.

Date: 29 & 30 May 2011, Sun & Mon
Time: 10.00am – 6.00pm
Venue: The Arts House

For more information or to register, visit us at

Tel: (65) 6848 8290

The festival organisers reserve the right to change speakers, events and/or session times, dates, and other details as necessary.

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