Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Illustration Masterclasses: Portfolio Breakouts

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Date(s) - 13/06/2020 - 27/06/2020
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Online - Online,

Portfolio Breakouts is an opportunity to show your portfolio to an agent or art director screen to screen!

How is it going to work?

The Portfolio Breakouts will run over three consecutive Saturdays from 14:00 – 17:00 with an agent and an art director looking at portfolios on each Saturday. Bookings are for 20 minutes with one reviewer of your choice on Zoom. Your booking slot and Zoom link will be sent to you on your accepted registration.

The Saturdays will break down like this:

13 JunePortfolio Breakout 1

Alice Williams from Alice Williams Literary Agency – Alice set up her agency after representing children’s books for over ten years at David Higham Associates. She’s a passionate champion of the writers and illustrators she works with, and she’s frequently in awe of the beauty and sense of wonder (or absurdity) that her clients create! Alice lives and works in London and has an extensive network of industry contacts in the UK and abroad. She attends the Bologna and London Book Fairs each Spring, as well as writers’ conferences throughout the year.

Alice Williams Literary



Katie Knutton, art director from Bloomsbury Publishing – London based designer with over 10 years experience of working in children’s publishing who has worked both in-house and freelance for major publishers such as Dorling Kindersley, Bonnier Publishing, Scholastic, Quarto, Egmont, Tate Publishing and BBC Magazines. Currently with Bloomsbury Publishing, Children’s, non-fiction books.


20 June Portfolio Breakout 2

Mark Mills, Plum Pudding Artist Agency – Mark has lost his hair over the past twenty years. Ironically, this coincides with his career in children’s publishing! As a 1980’s art student Mark had a lot of hair, arguably too much hair! Post graduation as a Fashion and Furnishing Fabric Designer, (something reflected in his taste in flowery shirts), he worked in print and then shuffled sideways, and then further sideways, until finding his natural home in children’s publishing. Having settled in children’s books, he has been a designer at a variety of children’s publishers, including Walker Books, Egmont and Orchard Books before becoming the Art Director at Meadowside and having the ceaseless delight of seeing wonderful artwork daily. Finally meglamania brought him to establishing Plum Pudding in his back bedroom. Within two years there were more people arriving for work at Plum Pudding in the morning, and the business had increased turnover tenfold. Privately he’ll confess that he’s a frustrated illustrator himself: “If I had the talent in these hands…’. For Mark, PP is more than an occupation, it’s his world, and what makes it unique is the strength of the relationships he and the team have established with the clients they work with and the artists they represent. And that’s really all he ever set out to do: meet wonderful people and be involved in making wonderful products for children. As Mark often tells his sons, the thing that has made Daddy happiest in his life, is the ability to read. And that remains his greatest pleasure: a cup of tea, a bit of quiet and a book for a while. Oh, and he wants an English Pointer dog!

Libby Hamilton is editorial director of picture books at Andersen Press. She has worked in publishing for almost 20 years, and has been fortunate enough to edit some incredible authors and illustrators including Jonny Duddle, Levi Pinfold, Jeanne Willis, Tony Ross, David McKee, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Foreman and Joseph Coelho. Books that she has collaborated on as editor have won the Kate Greenaway Medal (twice) and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, among other awards.



27 June Portfolio Breakout 3

Ness Wood is an award-winning book designer and art director and she has worked for many major publishers. She teaches publishing at University of Central Lancashire and has taught on the Illustration MA course at Goldsmiths, University of London and Design History at the University of Brighton. Her wide-ranging accomplishments in practical design plus as a published author with qualifications in design history serve as a solid foundation for all her work. She is known for her encouraging, straight-forward and collaborative approach with illustrators and students. In 2018 Ness and Pam Smy were the winners of the British Design and production Awards in the Graphic Novel Category 2018.

I’ve worked with Ness Wood for over 20 years and hand on heart I can say that she is one of the most original designers of striking images in the world of UK book design. Ness has the ability to see the design whole and sometimes almost immediately. This means that beautiful design seems to manifest from nowhere, she is astonishing and even more, she is able to spot design and young artistic talent, crucially, before it has flowered. DFB is very lucky to be working with Ness Wood.
David Fickling, Publisher

27 June – Portfolio Breakout 3

Alice Curry, Founder and CEO founded Lantana Publishing to make sure her mixed-race nephew, Ryan, was going to grow up reading books in which the characters looked like him. Lantana, publisher of award winning books, is committed to publishing books that feature BAME characters and children’s book creators and those who identify as working class, LGBTQ+ or disabled. A former academic, and now a frequent keynote speaker across Europe and mentor to young publishers, Alice is the 2017 winner of the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for women in publishing.



The Process

Illustrators will need to prepare a portfolio as a multi-page pdf document or prepare a folder with jpgs numbered in the sequence you want them to be seen in. Make sure that your pdf document has your name, website and contact details, and if showing jpgs, make sure to name each (01,02.03 etc)-(title)-(first initial-surname). To make the most of your time with the reviewer of your choice be sure to have your portfolio ready on your desktop to point to when you go into, share screen. You can also pass documents through the same portal, so perhaps have a digital postcard with your details to share with your reviewer ready.

Book with one reviewer.

Cost: £30.00 for members, £40 for non-members.

Any questions or concerns, email


This event is fully booked.