If you would like to learn more about the craft of writing or illustrating, you may want to consider some of the courses available in Ireland and abroad.
Note: SCBWI Ireland is not affiliated with any of these courses. From time to time, we do run workshops and retreats for our members; for more information about these, keep an eye on our Events page.
The following list is not exhaustive, and you will need to check whether the course you are interested in is being run this semester (or year!)
Write and Illustrate a Picture Book
(with illustrator/author Adrienne Geoghegan)
This course is suitable for aspiring, beginners, or emerging children’s writers/illustrators, and those with a love of children’s literature and art and enthusiasm to learn more.
Illustration Boot Camp
(with illustrator/author Adrienne Geoghegan)
This course will especially appeal to those who wish to spend time on personal illustration projects, to those who want to build a strong illustration portfolio, and to visual art practitioners who have an interest in pursuing a career in illustration, either part or full time.
Graphic Design Courses
(Dublin Institute of Design)
Not specific to book illustrators, but a good way to hone elements of your craft. Dublin Institute of Design’s Certificate and Diploma course provides students with the latest skills and techniques used by professional graphic designers.
Run by the School of Creative Arts, MA Illustration Programme aims to provide you with an understanding of the cutting-edge of Illustration and related disciplines. It helps you develop your creative potential as an illustrator and provides you with the entrepreneurial skills to work as a successful practitioner.
For eighty years, the London Art College has run successful Distance Learning art courses. They offer an Illustrating Children’s Books diploma.
Arvon offers 5-day writing courses and tutored retreats in England. Arvon’s four historic houses are in rural locations in Devon, Shropshire, Inverness-shire and West Yorkshire. Arvon offers grants to help with course fees for those on a low income.
Ask About Writing is run for distance learning courses, which include creative writing. Each is a ten-week course, which includes ten assignments with feedback from a personal tutor.
Belfast Metropolitan College offer a variety of creative writing courses and workshops available at different venues.
Big Smoke Writing Factory offers a range of on-site courses and workshops including a Beginning to Write class for those just starting off, and a variety of specialist workshops for those interested in writing fiction, poetry, novels, children’s and young adult fiction, memoir, or work for the stage and screen.
Creative Writing Ink offers online creative writing classes to writers around the world together with editing and critique services.
Dingle Writing courses offer a range of courses including children’s fiction, poetry, fiction, or starting to write. These are available for emerging or established writers.
Force 12 is a creative writing weekend held in Belmullet, Co. Mayo in June, and attended by over 80 writers from groups throughout the country. The weekend features workshops and readings by both published and unpublished writers, local tours and music.
Led by Imogen Cooper, previously Head of Fiction for Chicken House Publishing, and based at her house near Bath, England, Golden Egg provides talks, workshops, and one-to-one editorial support. Golden Egg caters for writers who wish to submit their work to agents and publishers. Golden Egg works closely with Barry Cunningham at Chicken House Publishing, and has strong links with other companies.
This evening course in Dublin offers a Diploma in Creative Writing.
The Irish Writers’ Centre provides a wide range of courses for writers at all levels and stages of development (aspiring, emerging, and mid-career) facilitated by experienced creative writing tutors and high-profile writers.
Kilroy College is based in Dublin and offers a creative writing distance learning course aimed at people who wish to develop this special skill with confidence.
North West Regional College offers creative writing courses in Derry.
The Oscar Wilde Centre is the home of the Trinity College Dublin M.Phil in Creative Writing. The course is intended for students who are seriously committed to writing, are practising, or prospective writers, and who wish to develop their writing within the framework of a university course and in the context of an Irish literary milieu.
This online course is taught by author and SCBWI British Isles’ member Benjamin Scott.
You will find your own voice and your own niche in writing for young adults, in sub-genres from realism to the supernatural. You will become confident in writing convincing dialogue and gripping narrative, and in creating situations and characters with which young adults can identify. You will also learn to critique and edit your own and others’ work.
The Patrick Kavanagh Centre hosts an annual creative writing weekend. The weekend is intended for beginners and those already in the process of writing who want to develop their writing and gain valuable feedback on their work.
South Eastern Regional College (SERC) has a range of creative courses available at different venues.
QUB offer an MA in Creative Writing for students who want to continue their specialisation in either prose, poetry, or drama. The study of a chosen genre is augmented by additional, non-assessed modules on life writing, short story, poetic form, and the poetics of translation.
UCD offers an MA in Creative Writing.
UCG offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in creative writing.
Writer’s Digest is offering the Fundamentals of Writing for Children online course, which starts October 6, 2011 for 12 weeks. Does not cover picture books but books (fiction and nonfiction) for ages 5 to 15.
This course runs two or three times a year.
This online course covers the basics of storytelling and the specific aspects of writing for children and young adults. Areas that will be looked at include: how to generate ideas; how to use observation; description of both character and setting; using dialogue and ensuring a good pace and plot, as well as how to tailor your writing for different age groups. There will be short practical exercises at each stage of the course. Oisin will also be giving tips on how to get published, and how to market your books once you get published. Places are strictly limited to 12 – early booking advisable.