Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Illustration Masterclass: The Wonderful World of Non-fiction Illustration

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Date(s) - 11/05/2019
1:00 pm - 7:00 pm

House of Illustration
2 Granary Square - London, N1C 4BH

A unique collaboration between House of Illustration and the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.

Join author and illustrator Helen Ward and art director Nghiem Ta for this special one-off event for illustrators both published and unpublished.

Illustrations by Helen Ward.

Non-fiction illustration has a long history and encompasses a wide variety of styles and techniques. The clarity of illustration has always made it a natural bedfellow for non-fiction and contemporary forms are more exciting than ever, bringing science, biography, technology, art and difficult topics together. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to find out if this kind of work might be for you.

Helen Ward, author illustrator and Nghiem Ta, art director at Walker Books, will take us through the process of illustrating in this very interesting area. There is also an optional challenge of a short brief to inspire you. Helen and Nghiem will also be giving feedback on the work brought in on the day of this Masterclass.

The Challenge!
Present a creature on a double page spread.  

Size: A3 with gutter/fold down the middle. You can alter the height a little if you prefer something more square.

Illustrate a creature of your choice within its habitat  or with additional drawings showing things that make this creature particularly interesting or beautiful.

It could be one drawing or several drawings… If you wish you can use diagrams, maps, cutaways, flaps, folds, close-ups etc to get information across. 

A glued mock up at the right size would be helpful for anything complicated or if anyone is going to draw at a bigger (or smaller) size than the proposed printed size, or if you don’t want to cut, clip or glue any careful drawing(s) you have done.  

If text is needed to give more information about this creature, give consideration to where text might go (though not expecting typesetting).

Please bring along any working drawings and research so we can see your thinking.

The aim of the double page spread is to inform and intrigue the viewer. To draw the viewer into the spread to find out more.

So think about how you present the creature and the information you need to get across, how to make the information clear and easy to absorb. It’s not a bad idea to have an idea of  the audience your ‘book’ might be aimed at. 

Be creative and inventive.


Note: If you intend to use other people’s photos, drawings or text as source material, please be very careful to not copy or plagiarize the work of others.

All tickets are booked at the House of Illustration. Follow this link to book:

Helen Ward is an award-winning, critically-acclaimed author and illustrator with a longstanding interest in natural history, both real and imagined. She graduated from Brighton Polytechnic with a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration.







Nghiem Ta is an award-winning art director at Walker Books Publishing. She oversaw the hugely successful Ology series which has sold more than 17 million copies worldwide. She graduated from Buckinghamshire New University with a degree in Graphic Design and Advertising and has worked for publishers and freelance as a paper engineer, digital content coordinator and designer.