Pathways Into Children’s Publishing - Pop Up

A pioneering two-year programme for emerging children’s book illustrators from backgrounds that are under-represented in children’s publishing.

This programme is run in partnership with 25 leading publishers and universities.

Our highly-acclaimed Pathways Into Children’s Publishing is a children’s book illustration course for artists with diverse backgrounds, specifically for artists of colour, disabled artists, neurodivergent artists and artists with UK refugee and asylum-seeker backgrounds aged 21 and above.

This hybrid training and mentoring programme explores the business of children’s book illustration. It’s designed and delivered by an impressive array of industry insiders, from published children’s author-illustrators and art directors to university lecturers and literary agents.

This pioneering illustration course is not accredited. But, like a specialised MA, it provides both talent development and publishing industry experience, something that empowers its mentees to pursue careers in this creative field.

Our Affiliates

Pathways Into Children’s Publishing is supported and delivered by 25 publisher and university affiliates from across the UK.

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Acclaim for Pathways Into Children’s Publishing

My Pathways journey has been career-changing; the behind-the-scenes of the business side to publishing has really opened my eyes to the possibilities of the children’s book industry and publishing as a whole.

Chanté Timothy Pathways 2019 – 2021

I have loved this journey and have learnt so much. I feel my practice has changed considerably. I am very much loving the difference Pathways has made to my life earning a living as an artist.

Ruthine Burton Pathways 2019 – 2021

The Pathways experience created a space to learn from art directors at children’s publishers, as well as a number of university lecturers and illustrators. I have learned a lot about the children’s publishing industry from Pathways.

Sahar Haghgoo Pathways 2019 – 2021

Help us improve diversity and inclusion in illustration

It matters when children can’t discover themselves, or learn about others, in the books they read. According to Book Trust, 33.5% of UK primary school children are from a minority ethnic background, but only 10% of children’s books published featured characters of colour. 

Pathways Into Children’s Publishing tackles this lack of diversity head on. Read the report on our 2019-2021 pilot Pathways Into Children’s Publishing to find out how. This year’s Pathways Into Children’s Publishing 2022-2024 is now closed to applications, however if you have something to contribute to the programme, or if you’re interested in commissioning any of the Pathways artists, please contact us at

Read more about our impact

How it works

Pathways Into Children’s Publishing involves more than 80 days of scheduled events and activities. The two-year illustration course will see you working on five intriguing literature briefs designed to fully develop your illustrated storytelling practice. Your finished work will be critiqued by publisher teams – critical feedback that gives you unique insights.

Many course components will be delivered on-site at university campuses and publisher head offices, and are either pre-recorded or live streamed. Attendance in-person at these sessions will be optional, as most sessions will be accessible online and remotely.

View our 2022 – 2024 Prospectus