Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators




The SCBWI Conference is a superb opportunity to focus your creative craft and hone up on the Industry  with leading illustrators, agents, art directors, publishers and editors covering the breadth of children’s illustration. Come and discover fresh perspectives for your illustration practice, connect with the best in the business, and share your experiences with fellow artists and writers. Leave inspired, recharged (and a little bit wiser!) about the best career on the planet.

Keynote Speaker

Author & illustrator Mini Grey is our keynote this year, talking about her adventures in telling stories and making picture books. Mini studied sequential design at Brighton University before launching her first picture book, Egg Drop, in 2002. Trained in puppet making, set design, welding and carpentry, Mini’s style has an unconventional flare and instantly recognizable quirkiness.

Her picture books include Traction Man is Here, Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog, Biscuit Bear, Egg Drop and The Pea and the Princess. Amongst numerous nominations & prizes, Mini has won the Smarties Book Award and the Kate Greenaway Prize for The Adventures of the Dish & Spoon. 2010 saw the launch of the delightful Three by the Sea and an adaptation of Hillaire Belloc’s cautionary tale Jim. Hermelin the Detective Mouse was longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2014. Mini’s most recent titles are Space Dog, The Bad Bunnies’ Magic Show, and The Last Wolf.




Aimée Felone (Knights Of and Round Table books co-founder) and Selom Sunu (illustrator and character designer) will be discussing how taking positive action, wider commissioning and being inclusive in your approach to books can create magical moments for readers.

For the first time we will be having a First Impressions panel – comprised of Strawberrie Donnelly (Art Director at Scholastic), Arebella Stein (Agent at The Bright Agency), and chaired by illustrator Bridget Marzo– the panel will be looking at illustration submissions and sharing their valuable insights. Come and find out what an exciting submission looks like and what common mistakes you can avoid, whilst looking at real examples. Willing delegates (selected beforehand) will be able to hear the initial reaction to their work. Read the First Impressions page find out more.


Our fabulous keynote Mini Grey returns on Sunday to host two hands-on workshops:

Sunday Morning: How To Not Draw Things: Adventures in picture-book making with pictures and words and scissors and glue. We will explore ways to creep up on ideas unawares and collect visual story material. Drawing may well be involved! (Suitable for illustrators primarily, but anyone welcome)

Sunday Afternoon: Books: the Masters of Disguise. In this session we’ll explore different formats books can have and the different sorts of object a book can be. We’ll look at easy ways to make home-made books and make one to take away. (Suitable for: anyone)


Jude Evans, Art Director at Little Tiger Press, will be leading an Art Directors Brief session giving you chance for some real professional practice.  The brief will be announced in August, this session will give you tips on how to get the most out of a brief, and suggest ways in which you can be commercially successful and still creatively satisfied.


Illustrator 1-1 portfolio reviews

Perhaps the most important 25 minutes of your conference!  You, your portfolio, one-to-one with a leading industry professional for 25 minutes of direct feedback and empowering constructive criticism. Get your work right under the noses of Art Director – Strawberrie Donnely from Scholastic, Arabella Stein form the Bright Agency, Jude Evans – Art Director at Little Tiger, or Bethany Sparks from Plum Pudding Illustration internationally-acclaimed illustrator.

Please note – Portfolio 1-1s must be booked in advance and cost an additional £30 (or £35 for non-members) on top of your Conference fee.

SCBWI 1-1 Portfolio Reviews

Other Events and Activities

Join Jeff Crosby for a Drink & Draw session during the Friday Fringe. We’ll be getting together at  The Green Man, 53 Southgate St, Winchester SO23 9EH  2pm and doing a few drawing challenges whilst having a drink and a chat. Get to meet the other illustrators who are coming to the conference, and have some scribbly fun at the same time. Just bring your sketch books and favourite drawing materials.

Then you are welcome to join the tour of Winchester, to get your bearings, before the Friday Night Crit. The Crit is open to all so don’t worry if you don’t have a dummy book or manuscript, Jeff Crosby will be hosting a portfolio crit giving you a chance to get feedback on your work before 1-2-1’s over the weekend.

scbwi for illustrators

Competitions running throughout the Conference

Best Portfolio

Exhibit your portfolio in our illustration exhibition space during the conference weekend and have your best work seen by all of the amazing industry professionals on the hunt for talent. What’s more, exhibited portfolios are automatically entered into our annual Best Portfolio competition, which will be judged by our team of industry professionals.

Once again, we’re delighted to team up with the Association of Illustrators (AOI) to award the winning artist the prize of a year’s AOI Folio membership worth £100. Your Folio of 20 searchable images will be searchable, optimised and promoted to commissioners in the UK. You manage your folio site, meaning you can upload and change your work as often as required so you can keep your very best work on display all year round.




Beginning Middle & End

Once again we will be running the ‘Beginning, Middle, End’ SCBWI Illustration Competition – it is open to all!

Beginnings, middles and endings are crucial to all types of stories, in print and moving image. Our interest is specifically for stories for the children’s market. For this competition you will need to submit three scenes showing the beginning, middle and end of a story of your choice, at any age level.

In keeping with this year’s theme it would be great to see illustrations inspired by the modern, mythical or magical. Maybe a modern version of a traditional fairy tale, or something inspired by a Greek myth, or your own magical story… we are looking for lots of character and a sense of narrative.

Winning illustrations by Elina Ellis.


The competition will be judged by a panel of three industry professionals at the annual SCBWI Conference. The winner will receive a one to one portfolio with an agent or art director. The 1-2-1 appointment will be arranged after the close of the conference and may be conducted on skype.


Please download the How to enter instructions to enter here.






Our main sponsors are:


Society of Authors Main Sponsor: Golden Egg

SCBWI would like to thank the sponsors for their support. SCBWI is a non-profit organization
and does not endorse any products or services provided by external companies.


Illustrations © Mini Grey 2019