Our Instructors

Our courses are taught by a magnificent gaggle of talented professionals from all facets of the children's book industry.

Instructor Directory

Jim Averbeck

Jim Averbeck recently moved to Colorado, after spending many years in San Francisco, California. His first book, In a Blue Room, was a Charlotte Zolotow Honor book. His popular books, Except if and Oh No, Little Dragon! feature charming protagonists with pointy teeth.

His picture book, The Market Bowl, and his middle-grade novel, A Hitch at the Fairmont, were Junior Library Guild Selections. One Word From Sophia, was an Indie Next Top 10 pick for Summer 2015.

WEBSITE

Spy agencies can find Jim online at jimaverbeck.com.​

JIM'S BOOKS

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Arree Chung

Arree's Ninja! series has received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. Kirkus also gave a starred review to Mixed, which recently won the FCGB award.

Today Arree lives a creative life, making stories for children. Arree spends most of his time making picture books, writing middle-grade novels, and sharing his love for art, design, and storytelling with kids and dreamers everywhere.

WEBSITE

ARREE'S BOOKS

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Carter Higgins

Carter Higgins wrote A Rambler Steals Home, a middle-grade novel from HMH, and three picture books from Chronicle Books: This Is Not a Valentine (Lucy Ruth Cummins), Everything You Need For a Treehouse (Emily Hughes), and Bikes for Sale (Zachariah Ohora). Carter has spent over a decade as an elementary school librarian, reading thousands of books to children. Her experience has made Carter a picture book wordsmith. She looks forward to helping you develop your own wordsmithing toolkit so that you can create amazing read-aloud experiences.

WEBSITE

CARTER'S BOOKS

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

instructor photo: Alex Leon

Alex Leon

Alex Leon is a painter and a designer with years of experience in the game and animation industry, working with companies such as Warner Bros. Studios, TitMouse Animation, Pixar Animation, BrainZoo Studios, Crowdstar Games, and Red Robot Labs. He has worked on Cars 2 and Scooby Doo. The mobile games he's worked on include: Life Is Magic and Life Is Crime. He has also worked on a series of fine art gallery paintings.

Alex earned his BA at Art Center College of Design and UC San Diego. His experience at Art Center, as well as his work in the animation and video game industry, has given him a broad perspective of what it takes to succeed in the art industry.

WEBSITE

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Vanessa Brantley-Newton was born during the Civil Rights movement and attended school in Newark, NJ. Being part of a diverse, tight-knit community during such turbulent times, Vanessa learned the importance of acceptance and empowerment in shaping a young person's life. When she read The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats, it was the first time she saw herself in a children's book. It was a defining moment in her life, and has made her into the artist she is today.

As an illustrator, she includes children of all ethnic backgrounds in her stories and artwork. She wants all children to see their unique experiences reflected in the books they read, so they can feel the same sense of empowerment and recognition she experienced as young reader.

WEBSITE

VANESSA'S BOOKS

Vanessa Brantley Newton Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Melissa Manlove

Melissa Manlove is a senior editor at Chronicle Books. She acquires both non-fiction and fiction. Melissa looks for fresh takes on familiar topics, as well as the new and unusual.

WEBSITE

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Ariel Richardson

Ariel Richardson is an Editor in Children's at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She primarily edits picture books and board books, working on titles like What Color Is Night?Like the Moon Loves the Sky and A to Z Menagerie. She loves books with a global perspective, books about religious literacy and intersectionality, books that celebrate the power of the imagination, and books that push the boundaries of traditional bookmaking. She’s a children’s bookseller in her spare time and has a master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College.

WEBSITE

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Jannie Ho

Jannie Ho has been an illustrator of children's books for more than ten years.  Her work has appeared in both trade and educational books, magazines, toys, crafts, and digital media.  Currently based out of Boston, MA, she's also known as Chicken Girl. Jannie (pronounced Jane-nee) received her BFA in illustration at Parsons The New School of Design in New York. After graduating, she worked as an in-house graphic designer at Nickelodeon, Scholastic, and an art director at TIME Magazine for Kids. She left to pursue illustrating full time and hasn't stopped drawing since.

WEBSITE

JANNIE'S BOOKS

Jannie Ho Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Ken Lamug

Ken Lamug is an author/illustrator and web developer based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

During the day, Ken builds websites, and in his evenings, you can find him making picture book stories, comics, and graphic novels. Nevada’s Featured Title at the National Book Festival for 2020 is Ken's wordless graphic novel, Petro and the Flea King.

Andrea Cascardi at Transatlantic Agency represents Ken's creative work.

WEBSITE

KEN'S BOOKS

Ken Lamugs Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Marcie Colleen

Marcie Colleen's books are The Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series (Macmillan), Love, Triangle, illustrated by Bob Shea (HarperCollins), and Penguinaut!, illustrated by Emma Yarlett (Scholastic).

Through the years her books have garnered accolades and awards. Love, Triangle was named a Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children's Book of 2018. And Penguinaut! was voted One Book Colorado for 2019! Over 75,000 copies were distributed to every four-year-old in the state.

Her latest picture book, The Bear's Garden, illustrated by Alison Oliver (Macmillan) was called “a well-illustrated, beautifully written tale of encouragement” by Kirkus and given a starred review.

She is a frequent presenter at conferences for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as a faculty member for The Writing Barn, San Diego Writer's Ink, and the University of California San Diego Extension. Her educational work in children’s literature has been recognized by School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Children’s Book Council.

WEBSITE

MARCIE'S BOOKS

Marcie Colleen's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Ben Clanton

Ben Clanton is the bestselling author/illustrator (or “authorstrator” as he says) of the Narwhal and Jelly series. He's also written and illustrated many picture books, some of which are pictured to the right. He wrote Curious Encounters, illustrated by Jessixa Bagley. And he has also illustrated several picture books with different authors.  Ben and his characters are represented by Marietta Zacker of the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.

WEBSITE

BEN'S BOOKS

Ben Clanton's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Myrna Foster

Myrna Foster is the Education Director for Storyteller Academy and the WriteRiders Newsletter Editor for SCBWI Nevada. She has spent over a decade teaching and coaching children, including five years as a preschool teacher. She's also worked as a journalist, and Highlights High Five has published six of her poems. 

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Tim McCanna

Tim McCanna has been an actor, musician, musical theatre writer, graphic designer, and dad. That last one led to an interest in picture books.

Tim debuted as a picture book author with Teeny Tiny Trucks in 2013. He's also the author of the following picture books: Bitty Bot, Watersong, So Many Sounds, Barnyard Boogie!, Jack B Ninja, Boing! A Very Noisy ABC, and Bitty Bot's Big Beach Getaway, which was an ALA/LITA 2019 Golden Duck Notable Picture Book. 

As a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), he also served as Assistant Regional Advisor for the San Francisco/South chapter for five years. 

Caryn Wiseman at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency represents Tim's work.

WEBSITE

TIM'S BOOKS

Tim McCanna's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Kathryn Otoshi

Kathryn Otoshi is a bit of a unicorn: she's an author, illustrator, graphic designer, and publisher – all wrapped into one. Her mission “is to introduce young readers to big issues through the power of reading and literature.” To this end, she founded KO Kid's Books and Blue Dot Press.

Kathryn is an award-winning author/illustrator. Her books include: One, Two, Zero, Draw the Line, Beautiful Hands, Simon and the Sock Monster, and What Emily Saw. 

KATHRYN'S BOOKS

Katheryn Otoshi's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Kenard Pak

Kenard Pak has worked on animation for Dreamworks, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Disney Television, PDI Dreamworks, Laika, Blue Sky, Hornet, and Oculus Story Studio. 

He wrote and illustrated the following picture books: Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter; Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring; and Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn. He has also illustrated various books.

Kirsten Hall at the Catbird Agency represents Ken's work.

WEBSITE

KENARD'S BOOKS

Kenard Pak's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Jessixa Bagley

Jessixa Bagley graduated with a BFA in painting and printmaking from Cornish Cornish College of Arts. She has worked in comics, fine arts, and illustration, with her work appearing in publications like the following: HighlightsNickelodeon MagazineThe Chicago ReaderThe Stranger, and The Seattle Weekly. Working on picture books has been a lifelong goal for her.

Jessixa's picture books have all received a lot of positive attention. Her debut picture book, Boats for Papa, won many awards, including: a Fall 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection, the SCBWI 2016 Golden Kite Award for Best Picture Book Text, and the 2016 Washington State Scandiuzzi Children's Book Award. The following year, Laundry Day garnered a Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall 2016 and a 2018 Ezra Jack Keats Honor Award for Writing. She collaborated with her husband on Vincent Comes Home. And her latest book, Henry and Bea, launched October 29, 2019! 

Alexandra Penfold at Upstart Crow Literary represents Jessixa's picture books, and Neal Porter edits them.

WEBSITE

JESSIXA'S BOOKS

Jessixa Bagley's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Laurie Keller

Laurie Keller is an award-winning author/illustrator of many children's books. She won the 2017 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for We Are Growing, her first early reader. Many of her books have some kind of educational or nonfiction element. Some have even been turned into fun educational videos. 

WEBSITE

LAURIE'S BOOKS

Laurie Keller's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Diana Murray

Diana Murray writes poetry and books for children. Her award-winning poems have appeared in magazines including Spider, Ladybug, Highlights, and High Five, as well as several anthologies. Diana recently moved from the Bronx to a nearby suburb, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a motley crew of pets. She is represented by Brianne Johnson at Writers House literary agency. Diana currently has fifteen picture books in print, with more coming next year!

WEBSITE

DIANA'S BOOKS

Diana Murray's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Miranda Paul

Miranda Paul is an award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction picture books. Some of her titles include: Water Is Water, Nine Months, Speak Up, Little Libraries, Big Heroes, Mia Moves Out, Blobfish Throws a Party, Are We Pears Yet, One Plastic Bag, 10 Little Ninjas, The Great Pasta Escape, Adventures to School, Whose Hands Are These, I am Farmer, and Trainbots. She also works as a literary agent for Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

WEBSITE

MIRANDA'S BOOKS

Miranda Paul's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Kristine Brogno

Kristine Brogno spent over 20 years as the Art Director at Chronicle Books. She is currently the Associate VP, Design at Callisto Media.

Kristine has spent many years teaching and presenting at conferences.

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Isabella Kung

Isabella Kung is the author and illustrator of No Fuzzball! (Scholastic, 2020), a picture book about a fuzzy feline despot who rules the house with an iron paw. She also illustrated over 120 cats for the board books 123 Cats and ABC Cats by Lesléa Newman (Candlewick, 2021). Her illustrations have received accolades from institutions such as the Society of Illustrators, Spectrum Fantasy Art, 3×3, Creative Quarterly, and SCBWI. 

Outside the world of publishing, Isabella is an educator and has shown her original artwork at galleries in California, Spain, and Singapore. Isabella currently resides in San Francisco with her husband and two adorable cats. She represented by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary.

WEBSITE

ISABELLA'S BOOKS

Isabella Kung's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Julie Downing

Julie Downing was born in Denver, Colorado, graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives in San Francisco, CA, where she can see a corner of the Golden Gate Bridge from her studio window.

Noted for rich, jewel like watercolor illustrations, she has illustrated over 50 picture books. Titles include: Cubs in the Tub by Candace Fleming, Tessa Takes Wing by Richard Jackson, The Firekeeper's Son by Linda Sue Park, and First Mothers, a biography of all the mothers of the presidents. On First Mothers, Publisher's Weekly said: “Craftily mining the personalities of each woman, Downing contributes watercolor and colored pencil portraits of the mothers on their home turfs, humorously underscoring their many diverse eccentricities.”

Downing has also written and illustrated several books of her own, including: White Snow, Blue Feather, No Hugs ‘till Saturday and her newest book, Hello, Moon published in 2021.

Julie's work has been featured at The Society of Illustrator's Original Art Show in NYC and has been exhibited at galleries throughout the United States and England.

She has won numerous awards for her work, including a Parent's Choice Award, the New York Public Library Best Books Award, APAAL Best Illustrated Book, and the Irma Black Silver Medal. She was selected to appear in Talking with Artists Too, a book about 12 of the nation’s best Children’s Book Illustrators.

Julie teaches watercolor and children’s book illustration to both graduate and undergraduate students. 

WEBSITE

JULIE'S BOOKS

Julie Downing Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Sage Blackwood

Sage Blackwood was an ESL teacher for many years, mostly to Central Yup'ik-speakers on the Bering Sea Coast of Alaska. After that, she taught TESOL and linguistics in the graduate teacher education program at Salem College in North Carolina. She quit the day job after selling her second book, a course of action she very seriously does not recommend. After writing her way out of that mistake, she now lives in Upstate New York and writes full-time.

Her books include JinxJinx's MagicJinx's Fire, and Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded, published by HarperCollins. President Obama once bought a copy of JINX on a visit to a DC bookstore with his daughters.

WEBSITE

SAGE'S BOOKS

Sage Blackwood Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Shannon Anderson

Shannon Anderson is an award-winning author, speaker, and educator. She's the former SCBWI Regional Advisor and has published over a dozen books in the traditional market. To learn more about her, you can go to www.shannonisteaching.com.

Shannon Anderson has taught for 25 years, from first grade through college level. The highlight of her career was being named one of the Top 10 Teachers who inspired the Today Show in 2019. Shannon is also an award-winning children's book author and speaker. She served as the SCBWI Regional Advisor for Indiana. Over the past 10 years, Shannon has traditionally published over a dozen books and has more on the way.

Shannon was named the JC Runyon Person of the Year for her work writing and speaking on social and emotional topics. Some of her recent titles include Y is for Yet: A Growth Mindset Alphabet and Too Shy to Say Hi. She's excited for her upcoming growth mindset release, Yay! You Failed! Now that Shannon is writing and speaking full-time, her favorite part of the book business is connecting with her readers through author visits.

WEBSITE

SHANNON'S BOOKS

Shannon Anderson's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Dashka Slater

Dashka Slater is the author of nine children’s books. Her wildly popular Escargot picture book series uses both the first and second person, while her award-winning picture book The Antlered Ship which has been translated into a dozen languages, uses the third person. She has been teaching picture book writing classes online and in-person since 2006.

WEBSITE

DASKA'S BOOKS

Dashka Slater's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Katherine Jacobs

Katherine Jacobs is an editor, teacher, and reader. She worked at Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, for thirteen years where she edited picture books, middle-grade, and young adult titles. Some authors and illustrators she has had the privilege of working with are Jennifer Mathieu (Moxie), Mahogany Browne (Woke Baby), Gary Schmidt and Daniel Minter (So Tall Within), Andrea Davis Pinkney (Rhythm Ride), Julie Berry (The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place), and Shane Burcaw (Strangers Assume My Girlfriend Is My Nurse). Katherine holds a graduate degree from the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts. She is currently senior acquisitions editor at ZonderKidz, the children’s imprint of Zondervan.

WEBSITE

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Mina Witteman

Becoming an architect was Mina Witteman’s childhood dream but all her designs invariably ended in words and stories. She dropped out and tried for a while to escape the pull of fiction, until she realized that, indeed, fiction is stronger than reality. Upon completion of the four-year course Writing Prose for Children at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the Master Book Editing at the University of Amsterdam, her middle grade debut Deedee’s Revenge came out in 2005, soon followed by more novels and stories. Her latest middle grade series Boreas is praised by readers, teachers and librarians alike. Its first book, Boreas and the Seven Seas, was focus title for the 2019 Dutch National Children’s Book Week, an honor that brought the book to every classroom, library and bookstore in the country. To date, Mina has seven middle grade novels out in the Netherlands, a Little Golden Book, and about forty short stories in magazines and anthologies.Mina lives in Berkeley, California, and writes in English and Dutch. She works as an editor, a  teacher of creative writing, and she mentors published and aspiring writers. In addition, Mina is the Director of Strategic Partnerships & Programming for Cinnamongirl, an-Oakland-based organization that supports girls of color destined for greatness, for which she designed and developed the year-round writing program Write Your Story.

WEBSITE

MINA'S BOOKS

Mina Witteman's Books

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Baptiste Paul

Baptiste Paul is the award-winning author of The Field, To Carnival!, and I Am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon. His works have garnered many starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and School Library Journal, and several titles have been translated into multiple languages. He loves writing stories inspired by his childhood in Saint Lucia, and featuring words from his native language, Creole. Baptiste is also a mentor for We Need Diverse Books and the co-author of several works with Miranda Paul, including their newest collaboration, Peace. He lives in Wisconsin with his family.

WEBSITE

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

Darcy Pattison

Children’s book author and indie publisher Darcy Pattison writes award-winning fiction and non-fiction books for children. Her works have received starred PW, Kirkus, and BCCB reviews. Awards include the Irma Black Honor award, and Notable books in science, social studies, and language arts. Find her indie-published books at MimsHouseBooks.com.

STORYTELLER ACADEMY COURSES

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Writing
Picture Book Manuscripts

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Jim averbeck

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Get That Idea Out of Your Head and Write Your Manuscript!

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Learn how to make better word choices and fine-tune the readability of your picture books. Jim will teach you how you can build a story with setups and pay-offs and how to make a story emotionally satisfying.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • Write a Great Story in Manuscript Form
  • How to Edit Your Own Manuscripts
  • Leave Room for the Illustrator, While Still Creating a Great Story
  • Build a Story with Setups and Pay-offs
  • How to Make a Story Emotionally Satisfying

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Beginner writers in need of an idea.
  • Intermediate writers perfecting the art of revision.
  • All levels looking to create more space for illustrations.
  • Illustrators who are interested in crafting their own stories.

Best Creative Year Ever

MINI-CLASS

with Arree Chung

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Make 2022 Your Best Creative Year Ever!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

In this mini-class, you’ll determine which mindsets have helped, and which have hindered you in the last decade. Arree’s lessons will have worksheets with questions you can ask yourself that will help you pinpoint which direction you should go. This year, leave your limitations behind, and have the best creative year ever in 2022!

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Beliefs

  • Does what you believe about yourself help or hinder you? Do you have a limitation or barrier (like the four-minute mile) that you can leave behind as you go into 2022?

Lesson 2: Learn From the Past

  • You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it and move on.

Lesson 3: Big Magic

  • Fall in love with your ideas and stories. Nurture your creativity. What’s your vision for the future? Who do you need to be to make it happen?

Lesson 4: Focus and One Thing

  • When setting goals, remember that less is more. Learn how to set SMARTER goals and set yourself up for success.

Creative Focus & Habits

MINI-CLASS

with ARREE CHUNG

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Build Creative Focus and Habits to Achieve Your Creative Goals!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

In this craft-based mini-class, you’ll build habits and create an action plan to finish projects and achieve your biggest creative goals.

If you struggle with focus or feel overwhelmed, you’ll want to learn these science-based strategies to help you create with less stress.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Mindset & Focusing on the “ONE” Thing

  • Get clarity on what’s most important to reach your creative vision, and set your mind to build healthy creative habits.

Lesson 2: Creative Focus and Creative Habits

  • Learn the anatomy of a habit, and gain focus through intentional habit building.

Lesson 3: Reflection, Planning, & Execution

  • Set yourself up for success by planning your success. Use your calendar to make time for execution.

Drawing 1: Drawing with Mental Models

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Arree Chung and Alex Leon

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Learn How to Draw Anything with Simple Shapes

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Learn how to draw anything with simple shapes. In this course, you will learn how to draw with basic shapes, understand how to stylize, construct figures & animals, and start telling stories visually.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • How to Draw with Basic Shapes (So Simple that Everyone Can Do It!)
  • Understand How to Stylize
  • Construct Figures & Animals
  • Start Telling Stories Visually

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Beginners who want to learn how to draw
  • Intermediate illustrators who want to improve your ability to draw out of your head
  • Writers who want to visualize their picture book stories.

BONUS

Mental Model Library

Build your drawing skills and muscle memory with these short and easy to follow, step-by-step videos. There are over 40 two-minute tutorials to help you build your drawing skills.

Find My
Art Style

MINI-CLASS

with ARREE CHUNG

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Find the Right Style For You and Your Story!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn how to illustrate the three main illustration styles used in today’s children’s books. By making a mood board for your story, you’ll choose your style. Then Arree’s demos will show you how to make important decisions regarding the details.  

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Style

  • Learn the three main styles of illustration used in today’s children’s books. Practice each one to help you find the right style for your book.

Lesson 2: Mood Boards

  • Find illustrations that have the feeling and tone you want to capture. Use them to figure out the right style for your story. Make a mood board and narrow your three main style choices down to one.

Lesson 3: Style Experiments

  • Refine your style by experimenting and selecting the best choices as you work through The Five Core Elements of Style. Demos provided. 

Picture Book Story Frameworks

MINI-CLASS

with ARREE CHUNG

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Write Your Story with Picture Book Story Frameworks!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn how to identify three picture book story frameworks that will help you improve your own picture book stories.

If you could use a little more help unlocking mentor texts to write and revise character-based, two-character, and high concept stories, this intensive will give you the key questions to ask.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Character Framework

  • Learn which elements of the story are essential to a character-based story.

Lesson 2: Two Character Framework

  • How do you change the way you tell a story when it has two main characters?

Lesson 3: High Concept Story Framework

  • Agents and editors often say they’re looking for high-concept stories. Learn how to identify (and hopefully write) them.

Build an Author Business

MINI-CLASS

with Arree Chung

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Plan for Success in the Children's Book Business!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn business basics and children’s industry numbers to help you choose your own business model. Once you have a model, you can formulate a strategy for the phase you’re in (pre-published or published) and tactics to help you intentionally develop the career you want to have.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Business Basics

  • Learn the five pillars of business and how to apply them to your author’s business. Identify your three customers, their desires, and the problems you can solve for them.

Lesson 2: The Book Business and the Children’s Book Industry

  • You need to understand both business models (traditional publishing and self-publishing) to make good business decisions. Take a look at the numbers and responsibilities you’ll take on with both models.

Lesson 3: How to Build an Author Business

  • Plan your author or author/illustrator journey. Learn what you’re getting yourself into so that you’ll have realistic expectations and understand your options.

Lesson 4: Business Strategy and Tactics

  • Learn the best business strategy and tactics for the phase you’re in of the business model that you’ve chosen. This is something you can adjust as you move from one phase to the other. In this lesson, you’ll also make a plan for your value ladder (how you can give your customers more value) based on your strengths.

Creafting Picture Book Stories

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Arree Chung

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Transform Your Idea Into A Picture Book Story!

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Learn how to develop healthy work habits, brainstorm great ideas, and work on one idea until you turn it into a picture book story.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • A Creative Process for Developing Ideas Into Stories
  • The Elements of Story
  • What Makes a Great Story
  • Page Turns and Pacing
  • A Process for Revising Your Story 

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Beginner writers who need story ideas.
  • Intermediate writers who are struggling with the messy middle.
  • Visual creators balancing words and images

Making Picture Book Dummies

SIGNATURE COURSE

with ARREE CHUNG

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Develop Your Story and Revise with Vision, Using a Picture Book Dummy

ABOUT THIS COURSE

In one of our most popular, foundational courses, you’ll learn how to make a picture book dummy! Arree will cover story basics, visual storytelling, pacing, and revision. This course is not just for illustrators. Using a dummy is a not-so-secret tool for improving your writing. 

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • How to Thumbnail Your Story
  • What Makes a Great Story
  • How to Make a Dummy
  • Page Turns and Pacing
  • How to Convey Emotion Through Background Color and Typography
  • How to Submit Your Manuscript or Dummy

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Beginner writers who have a manuscript the first draft completed.
  • Intermediate writers who need to visualize the balance of illustrations and words.
  • Advanced writers evaluating heart, hook, and the “it-factor” 

Photoshop Basics

MINI-CLASS

with ARREE CHUNG

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Learn the basics and design your character in different styles

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

In this mini-class, you’ll design a character from scratch and learn how to render the character in three different styles. You’ll also learn how to use brushes and apply textures to your artwork.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Photoshop Tools & Foundational Techniques

  • Overview of Photoshop’s Menus
  • How to Use Layers and Brushes
  • How to Use the Lasso, Fill, and Mask Tools
  • How to Use Adjustment Layers and Lighting Effects

  Lesson 2: Render Your Character in Three Different Styles

  • Use Custom Brushes to Create Line Style Artwork
  • Use the Lasso Tool, Mask Tools, and Textures to Create Shape Style Artwork
  • Apply Lighting Layers and Adjustment Layers to Create 3-D Artwork

Picture Book Production Design

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Arree Chung

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Illustrate Your Picture Book Without Confusion or Overwhelm

ABOUT THIS COURSE

This course with Arree Chung is perfect for authors/illustrators who are ready to learn the design elements and production strategies necessary to finish a picture book. It’s the perfect follow-up to Making Picture Book Dummies.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • How to Stylize Your Picture Book
  • How to Compose Your Picture Book Pages with Values and Composition
  • How to Use Color for Storytelling
  • How to Develop Your Style and Make Final Art
  • How to Plan the Production of Your Book

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Illustrators dedicated to writing great stories using excellent design elements
  • Creators of all levels who need to understand how design plays into a story and who want to nail page turns.

BONUS

Arree’s Production Design File Library
 
Get access to Arree’s design files he used for his picture books. You’ll get his sketches, his art experiments, and the color scripts he used to illustrate his picture books!

Picture Book Wordsmith

SIGNATURE COURSE

with CARTER HIGGINS

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Write Picture Books That Readers Love to Read Out Loud

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Learn how to make better word choices and fine-tune the readability of your picture books.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • Write picture books with voice, rhythm, repetition, and flow.
  • Master alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, musicality, and cadence.
  • Pace your story and write concisely for readability and flow.
  • Make connections with teachers and librarians through your picture book.

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Intermediate writers, aching to elevate their language
  • If you need to learn how to use mentor texts
  • Advanced writers, nit-picking their word for final polish

Writing Voice

mini-class

with carter higgins

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Craft the Right Voice for Your Story!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn how to craft a voice that merges your signature strengths with the type of story you want to tell. Carter gives detailed explanations of how your choice of perspective, sentence structure, and words influence the voice of your story.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: What Even Is Voice Anyway?

  • Identify Your Primary Reader
  • Identify Your Storyteller
  • Diversify Your Reading
  • Examine Your Signature Authorial Voice

Lesson 2: The Technicalities of Voice

  • Determine Your Story’s Perspective
  • Explore POV Options
  • Choose a Tense

Lesson 3: The Emotional Responsibility of Voice

  • Evoke Emotion with Words
  • Improve Word Choices and Sentence Structure Connect Your Thematic Goals to Your Voice
  • Match Your Sounds to Your Story

Drawing 2: Drawing in 3D

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Alex Leon

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Learn How to Draw Anything with Simple Shapes

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Learn how to draw anything with simple shapes. In this course, you will learn how to draw with basic shapes, understand how to stylize, construct figures & animals, and start telling stories visually.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • How to Draw with Basic Shapes (So Simple that Everyone Can Do It!)
  • Understand How to Stylize
  • Construct Figures & Animals
  • Start Telling Stories Visually

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Beginners who want to learn how to draw
  • Intermediate illustrators who want to improve your ability to draw out of your head
  • Writers who want to visualize their picture book stories.

BONUS

Mental Model Library

Build your drawing skills and muscle memory with these short and easy to follow, step-by-step videos. There are over 40 two-minute tutorials to help you build your drawing skills.

Character Design

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Design Characters That Shine!

ABOUT THIS COURSE

In this course, you will learn how to draw your character’s expressions, accessorize and dress them and make a final finish to make them stand out!

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • How to Design a Character that Readers Will Love
  • How to Capture Expressions
  • How to Draw Bodies
  • How to Dress Your Character
  • How to Draw Your Character with Consistency
  • Poses & Movement
  • How to Use Color & Texture

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Writers at all levels looking to create and visualize their characters
  • Illustrators at all levels hankering to level up their character designs

Submission Ready

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Melissa Manlove and Ariel Richardson

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Submit Your Story With Confidence

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Learn how to make your submission stand out (in a good way!) with our favorite set of Chronicle Book editors. Ariel and Melissa will cover honing your story skills, revising your story, how to submit, and how to hook agents and editors with your submission.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • Hone Your Story Skills & Revise Your Story with Melissa and Ariel
  • How to Hook Editors, Book Sellers, and Readers
  • How to Make Submissions Stand Out
  • How to Submit Confidently with a Plan

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Intermediate level writers with multiple manuscripts at hand to polish
  • Advanced writers ready to make their submission stand out
  • Illustrators who want to work on illustration consistency and how to get discovered.

Adobe Illustrator

MINI-CLASS

with JANNIE HO

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Create Characters in Adobe Illustrator!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn how to use vectors in Adobe Illustrator to design new characters. Jannie will teach you the basics and demonstrate how she creates her illustrations, thumbnails her stories, and exports files to share with editors. 

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Adobe Illustrator & Vector Basics​

  • Overview of Illustrator: Pros and Cons
  • How to Use Tools
  • Place a Sketch into Illustrator
  • Practice Tracing with the Pen Tool​

Lesson 2: Play! Creating Characters​

  • Draw Directly in Illustrator
  • Use Grayscale and Color
  • Play with Shapes and Sizing
  • Design Characters with Guidelines
  • Add Texture and Patterns
  • Create Different Characters in a Lineup Sheet ​

Lesson 3: Set Up for Book Creation

  • Customize Simple Backgrounds
  • Play with Horizon Lines
  • Move Elements Around
  • Determine Best Character Placement
  • Export in Different Formats
  • Get Thumbnail Templates
  • How to Save Thumbnails as a PDF

Build an Author Website

MINI-CLASS

with KEN LAMUG

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Build a Professional Author Website!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

In this hands-on mini-class, you’ll learn how to build a professional website so that agents, editors, and fellow storytellers can find your work and contact you easily. You’ll learn the tools needed to build a WordPress site and become confident and empowered to make changes and customize it to your liking.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Welcome and Introduction

Lesson 2: Website Basics

Lesson 3: Website Planning, Structure, & Mapping

Lesson 4: Starting Your Website

Lesson 5: Building a Website

Lesson 6: Advanced WordPress

Lesson 7: Bonus Exercise: Building a One-Page Site

Making Comics

MINI-CLASS

with KEN LAMUG

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Create Comics and Graphic Novels

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Even if you’re new to comics, graphic novels, and how publishing works, Ken Lamug will take a little bit of time to orient you with basic information at the beginning of this lesson. You’re in good hands. Ken has been making comics and graphic novels for years. He’ll share resources, such as websites and books, that you can use to explore more in-depth. 

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

LESSON 1: A Quick Graphic Novel Primer

  • Ken will orient students with some comic, graphic novel, and publishing basics. He’ll share some of his favorite resources, then dive right into making a comic panel.

LESSON 2: Let There Be Words

  • Ken will show you how to write a synopsis or a summary of your story. Then he’ll walk you through outlining through both chapter and page breakdowns. He’ll share different examples of how to script your story.

LESSON 3: From Words to Pictures

  • Ken will share illustration tools that he uses, how he does thumbnails, inking, and coloring, speech bubbles, and panels.

Graphics Novels

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Graphic Novels

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Turn your story idea into a graphic novel

ABOUT THIS COURSE

This graphic novel course covers everything you need to know to turn your story idea into a graphic novel. We will cover both the theory side, as well as the practical side. You will learn the process of creating a graphic novel and dig deeper into each step as you learn how to apply each step to your story project.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • Graphic Novel Primer
  • Story Structure, Arcs, Writing Pitch and Synopsis
  • The Visual Language of Comics
  • Writing Graphic Novels
  • Illustrating Graphic Novels
  • Publishing Graphic Novels

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Writers and Illustrators who want to learn how to create stories with visual illustrations and make their own story into a graphic novel.
  • If you have completed Making Comics.

Crafting a Strong Beginning

MINI-CLASS

with Marcie Colleeen

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Keep Readers Turning Pages with Better Beginnings!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn how to craft the best beginning for your picture book. Marcie Colleen will share the four essential elements that every beginner should have, a step-by-step exercise to help you connect with your characters, and examples from picture books with great beginnings. Each of the three lessons has the assignment to help you get the most out of what you’re learning, and we’ve included two handouts for easy reference.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: A Well-Crafted Picture Book Beginning

  • Does your picture book beginning include Marcie’s four essential elements?

Lesson 2: It All Comes Down to Character

  • If you want “heart” in your story, get to know your character.

Lesson 3: A Beginning Is a Promise

  • Your beginning can be a road map. Are you making promises about your story that you keep later on?

Creating Characters

MINI-CLASS

with BEN CLANTON

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Create Memorable Characters!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn how you can create your characters by considering characters we care about, exploring creating characters visually and really get to know your character.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Characters: The Core of the Story

  • Identify your favorite characters, past and present. Take a look at how their characteristics can give us insights into constructing our own memorable character.

Lesson 2: Drawn to Design Characters​

  • Using warm-up exercises to get started, you’ll explore creating your character visually.

Lesson 3: Questions: Quality Time with Characters

  • You’ll learn how questions and observations can lead to a better understanding of your character.

How to Query Agents

MINI-CLASS

with Myrna Foster

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Find the Right Agents and Query with Confidence!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn how to find and query agents who could be a good fit for you and your stories. Myrna will teach you how to write a query using examples of queries that helped some of our Storyteller Academy students sign with agents. You’ll also gain access to a directory of over 100 of the best picture book agents, which includes examples of clients and books they’ve represented.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Resources for Researching Agents 

  • Learn how to find the best picture book agents for you and your story.

Lesson 2: Write a Better Query

  • Use your research to personalize your query and follow submission guidelines. Learn which elements belong in a query, and see how they can come together in different ways by looking at some examples that worked.

Lesson 3: Handle Agent Responses Professionally

  • Learn how and when to respond to agents during the query process and after they offer representation. This lesson includes red flags to watch out for and questions you could ask an agent offering representation.

Storytelling in Rhyme

MINI-CLASS

with Tim McCanna

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Write Picture Books That Rhyme!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn how to write wonderful rhyming stories, the kind that gets read over and over again. Tim has strategies and checklists that will help.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Before Your Even Start Rhyming

  • Write down an idea that you have for a rhyming story.

Lesson 2: Determine If a Story Idea Is Right for a Picture Book

  • Make sure your story is age-appropriate and will be the right length for a picture book. Use the checklist!

Lesson 3: Determine If Your Story Is Right for a Rhyming Picture Book

  • Tim has some questions you can ask to determine if your picture book needs to rhyme. He also has an assignment that you’ll be able to use as a reference throughout the whole process.

Lesson 4: The Big, Ugly Block of Prose

  • You’ll write your story as a big, ugly block of prose to work out your narrative. This will also give you something to mine for keywords later.

Lesson 5: Setting Up Your Story to Rhyme

  • In search of strong rhymes and the best word choices, Tim will have you using keywords and tools, like a rhyming dictionary and a thesaurus.

Lesson 6: Finding Your Story’s “Inner Meter”

  • A great meter should add atmosphere to your story without distracting readers. It’s important to find the meter that matches your story.

Lesson 7: Considerations as You Begin the Rhyming Process

  • Now that you’re ready to write that first draft, Tim has some parting advice.

Meterology 101

MINI-CLASS

with TIM MCCANNA

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Master METER in Rhyming Picture Books

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Of all the challenges that come with writing rhyme, mastering METER—the natural, consistent, rhythms of the phrases we use in our storytelling—is one of the toughest. For anyone at any level, meter takes a whole different skill set than just finding a pair of words that rhyme. It’s actually everything between those two rhyming words that can make or break a rhyming picture book text.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • We’ll start by identifying common meters used in some successful rhyming picture books. And we’ll explore ways for you to choose the right meter for your next poem or picture book project.
  • We’ll pinpoint some of the biggest issues with a meter that pops up in early drafts of rhyming manuscripts. And we’ll bust out some handy tools for repairing, reworking, and rewriting a faulty meter.
  • We’ll look at some fun ways to punch up your meter, and in doing so, we might even strengthen your character building and storytelling at the same time.

Symbolism & Storytellilng

MINI-CLASS

with Kathryn otoshi

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Storytelling and Symbolism

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn how to use symbolism and visual cues to tell more powerful, kid-relatable stories. You’ll learn how to use your own challenges as inspiration. This intensive includes a handout with Kathryn’s exercises for each lesson.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Shapes

  • Find out what kind of personality each shape has.

Lesson 2: Lines

  • See how a line can symbolize a turning point in your life or a change in a relationship.

Lesson 3: Color and Emotions

  • Learn about how colors make you feel.

Lesson 4: Size Relationship and Composition

  • In this lesson, you’ll explore what you’ve learned about shapes and colors to make a composition.

Lesson 5: Writing and Wordplay

  • You’ll add wordplay to everything else you’ve learned in this intensive to tell a story about three words.

Textures In Your Illustrations

MINI-CLASS

with Ken Pak

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Create Textures in your Illustrations

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn how to layer traditional media and textures in your digital illustrations to add interest and charm. This step-by-step mini-class includes handouts to make it easier for students to identify the traditional materials and digital tools the instructor uses.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Ken’s Materials and Drawing Trees

  • Learn techniques for drawing trees with a variety of pencils. Ken talks about how and why he uses different pencils, and he demonstrates drawing with negative space.

Lesson 2: Creating Textures and Drawing Characters

  • Ken walks you through using scotch tape, various erasers, and even a stencil to add texture to your drawings. You’ll watch Ken paint a variety of translucent background textures, using watercolor, and learn how to add characters to a background with tracing paper. Then you’re going to scan the art you’ve made. 

Lesson 3: Photoshop Demo

  • Once you’ve scanned all of your art, you’re going to put the pieces together in Photoshop. Ken shares all kinds of cool techniques to help you get your image exactly the way you want. In addition, you’ll learn how to make a digital brush in Photoshop, using your own art.

Watercolors

MINI-CLASS

with JESSIXA BAGLEY

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Make Your Picture Books More Vibrant with Watercolors!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

You’ll come away from this class with a better understanding of how painting can enhance your illustration. You’ll know which tools you need and how to use them. Jessixa provides one of her own illustrations for practice and a handout with instructions to help guide you through each lesson.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1:  Tools and Sketching

  • Learn how to turn a rough sketch into a finished drawing.

Lesson 2: Transferring and Inking

  • Jessixa demonstrates three techniques for transferring your sketch onto watercolor paper. Then she teaches you how to ink your illustration.

Lesson 3: Watercolor Your Illustration

  • Learn Jessixa’s techniques for creating beautiful watercolor illustrations. She’ll even teach you how to remove mistakes.

Writing Humor

MINI-CLASS

with Laurie keller

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Hook Your Readers with Humor!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

In this fun mini-class, you’ll learn a lot of different strategies for writing humor for children. Laurie will emphasize the importance of effective page turns and escalating emotion in the story. The three handouts will outline her strategies with examples from her books.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Pay Attention, Dammit!

  • Learn the best way for you to discover humor. Laurie will share her favorite methods.

Lesson 2: A Potato, a State, and a Doughnut Walk into a Book…

  • It all starts with a funny idea! Laurie shares some of her favorite strategies for writing humor.​

Lesson 3: Emotion Commotion!

  • Learn how to use humor and effective page turns to escalate emotion in a story, ease tension, or lighten a heavy moment.

Writing Natural Rhyme That Sells

MINI-CLASS

with Diana murray

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Write Rhyming Picture Books That Sell!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Learn how to avoid the pitfalls that keep rhyming picture books from selling. Diana can help you write a meter that people want to read aloud.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Meter

  • Match Meter to the Tone/Emotion of Story
  • Identify Two Common Picture Book Meters
  • Write Iambic and Anapestic Meter

Lesson 2: Beats

  • Most Common Beat Patterns for Picture Books Scan Beats Per Line and Identify Meter

Lesson 3: Rhyme

  • Most Common Rhyme Schemes for Picture Books
  • Rhyming Examples
  • Identify Rhyme Schemes
  • Avoid Rhyming Pitfalls
 
 

Non-Fiction Picture Books

MINI-CLASS

with MIRANDA PAUL

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Write Exciting Non-fiction books for kids!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Join award-winning author and literary agent Miranda Paul as she combs through the process of creating commercial nonfiction picture books from idea selection to research to writing the final pages of back-matter. 

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

LESSON 1: You’ve got to start somewhere!

  • Is your book nonfiction or fiction? Learn to identify and try different structures and formats that work well for nonfiction. Find the best one for your project.

LESSON 2: The big picture

  • Choose the very best idea for you. Then figure out the best tone, target audience, format, and voice for your project.

LESSON 3: Under the Microscope – looking at details

  • Learn about different kinds of research and how to revise your project. Miranda will take you through everything you need to know, including how to write a pitch and query.

Presenting a Winning Portfolio

MINI-CLASS

with Kristine Brogno

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Everything you need to know, from an art director!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

In this hands-on mini-class, you’ll learn Kristine Brogno’s 10 Principles of a Winning Portfolio so that you can revise yours. You’ll also learn how to present your portfolio with confidence.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

LESSON 1: 10 Principles of A Winning Portfolio

  • In this first lesson, Kristine will share the ten principles she feels are most important in creating or revising your portfolio.

LESSON 2: Deep Dive into Principle #4: Show me variety!

  • Kristine will show you the details that make the difference between a mediocre portfolio and one that stands out.

LESSON 3: Presenting Your Work and Receiving Feedback

  • In this last lesson, Kristine gives specific tips on presenting your portfolio online and through Zoom calls. She also talks about best practices for receiving feedback.

Illustration 1

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Julie Downing and isabella kung

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Take your illustration to the next level

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Julie Downing and Isabella Kung will be covering the illustration process, composition fundamentals, design techniques, and storytelling principles. They will break down processes like brainstorming, thumbnailing, exploring different compositions, gathering references and using value and color to create effective narrative illustrations.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • The Illustration Process
  • Composition Part 1: Composition Techniques for Illustrators
  • Composition Part 2: Psychology of Shape Design
  • Reference
  • Value
  • Intro to Color

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Artists at all levels who are interested in children’s book illustration.

Illustration 2

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Julie Downing and isabella kung

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Create Your Children’s Book Illustration Portfolio

ABOUT THIS COURSE

This course will help you further your narrative illustration practice, teach you new rendering techniques and experimentations, as well as deepen your understanding of what makes a good children’s book and portfolio.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • How to build a strong children’s book illustration portfolio
  • Watercolor illustration techniques
  • Digital illustration techniques
  • How to experiment and use mixed media
  • How to push your illustration 

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Artists at all levels who are interested in leveling up their children’s book illustration and portfolio.
  • If you completed Illustration 1.

Creating Atmosphere

MINI-CLASS

with ISABELLA KUNG

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Create Atmosphere and Mood to Your Story

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Create atmospheric illustrations using well-designed lighting and color, using watercolor washes. Often illustrations can fall flat when only depicting the action. By using setting and lighting, you can create atmosphere and mood in an illustration to help express the emotions in the story.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: Creating an Atmospheric Illustration with a Single Light Source

Lesson 2:  Choosing Colors for a Limited Palette

Lesson 3:  Finish Painting Your Illustration!

Writing the Middle Grade Fantasy Novel

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Sage Blackwood

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Explore the Middle Grade Fantasy Novel

ABOUT THIS COURSE

Learn how to turn your story concept into a full novel with a rich plot, well-developed characters, and vivid imagery designed to immerse your readers in the fantastical world you created.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • Plan Your Middle Grade Fantasy Novel
  • Write Characters and Dialogue
  • Worldbuilding
  • Stakes, Rising Tension, and the Ticking Clock
  • Make Magic Believable
  • Write Action and Fight Scenes

THIS COURSE IS PERFECT FOR

  • Beginning or advanced writers who love fantasy.
  • Visual creators who want to create a fantasy world for their readers.

Unlock Your Makers Mindset

MINI-CLASS

with Shannon anderson

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Warning: We’re going to get nerdy!

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

Teacher and author Shannon Anderson will help you pursue your creative aspirations with a step-by-step process of unlocking your power within. 

It’s difficult to figure out how to find the time and resources you need to work on a creative endeavor. It’s even harder when you are filled with doubts.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • How to Develop a Growth Mindset
  • Ask the Right Questions to Discover Your Options and Next Action Steps
  • Maximize Your Time and Energy for Creative Work

THIS MINI CLASS IS FOR YOU IF

  • You have a creative “thing” that you’d love to do more.
  • You encourage everyone else to go for their dreams, but feel guilty doing it yourself.
  • You are scared you won’t have enough money to provide for your family if you go all in.
  • You don’t feel there is enough time in the day to pursue your passion.
  • You feel like an imposter when you think about taking steps toward your dream.

Perspective & Point of View

MINI-CLASS

with DASHKA SLATER

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Discover the perfect point of view for your story

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

First-person, second-person, or third-person? Close or far? The goal of this mini-class is to help writers discover the perfect point of view for telling a story.  

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Lesson 1: The Basics​

  • What Is Point of View?
  • Define the Perspectives​

Lesson 2: The Decision​

  • Why Different Stories Require Different Perspectives.
  • Examples
  • Considerations for Each POV​

Lesson 3: Minding the Gaps; Using the Gaps in Perspective to Create Tension, Humor & Emotion

  • Gap 1: Audience
  • Gap 2: Time
  • Gap 3: Knowledge

Nailing Your Middle Grade Voice

mini-class

with mina witteman

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Find Your Middle Grade Voice

ABOUT THIS MINI-CLASS

The goal of this mini-class is to familiarize you with the voice in middle grade novels and how to accomplish a true-sounding, compelling voice that entices middle graders and captivates them until the end of a story.  

Voice in general is the one thing an agent or editor can’t fix. It’s yours and yours alone. Middle grade voice is one of the hardest to nail. It often falls flat, is tinged with message and morals, or is immediately exposed by young readers as “phony”. 

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • Examine the intricacies of middle grade life. We’ll find out where kids that age are on the growth scale and what their specific characteristics are.
  • Consider the color of a middle grade voice. Like in singing, every voice has a specific color, and we will explore the sounds of this particular voice.
  • Learn writing techniques and writing tools that can help you find and strengthen your middle-grade voice.

Rhyming Picture Books

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Baptiste and mIRANDA pAUL

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Rhyming Picture Books

ABOUT THIS COURSE

The goal of this course is to help creators recognize the power of rhythm and rhyme—and prove that editors DO acquire MANY rhyming books! Miranda and Baptiste will introduce a host of technical aspects of rhythm and rhyme, reveal tips on how to evaluate a manuscript on multiple levels, and demonstrate self-editing techniques to make rhyming picture books stand out, inspire, and beg to be read aloud over and over. We are Team Rhyme. 

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Miranda and Baptiste Paul will share what they’ve learned in their journey to publishing nearly a dozen books for children in rhyme.

1. How to Evaluate Rhyme and Rhythm

  • Is my rhyme any good?
  • Am I consistent?
  • What words should I use to talk about rhyme?
  • What’s the difference between rhyme, rhythm, meter, and lyrical writing?
  • Why rhyme at all?

2. How to Evaluate Other aspects of a Rhyming Book

  • Where’s the plot?
  • The book’s arc?
  • The marketing hook?
  • Big picture vision and theme?
  • Do these things even matter if the rhyme is perfect? (Isn’t the rhyme all that matters?!)

3. How to Make Your Rhyming Book Better 

  • How do I edit my own work? What should I look for?
  • Is my work original? How can I surprise my reader or offer something that feels fresh?
  • What are editors really looking for?
  • How can I pitch or submit this and try to get it published?
  • Should I even write this particular book in rhyme?

Self-Publishing Childresn's Books

SIGNATURE COURSE

with Darcy Pattison

Courses are only available with a Makers Membership.

Self-Publishing Children's Books

ABOUT THIS COURSE

This course will help you solve the complexities of self-publishing by giving you the most efficient strategies for publishing plans.

Self-publishing is risky because it’s so complex, and there are too many decisions involved.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • How to bring your book to market with the strongest chance of success.
  • How to navigate complex decisions and find the best strategy for your books.
  • How to take your ideas and turn them into a thriving book business.