Please see below the details of the workshops and feel free to contact the gallery on 01665 830554 or e-mail at for more information or to book a place!



Calling all Illustrators

This workshop covers the essentials to help you make a successful picture book. The two days will include talks and hands-on activities to help you find your creative voice. We will also cover design and typography and story pacing. We will look at developing characters and getting to know the world they live in to help you build a convincing and professional picturebook concept. There will be individual tutorials over the two days, and each participant will receive personalised written feedback about their work over the weekend.

This is a warm, supportive and friendly environment where you can meet other like-minded creatives who are interested in children’s book illustration.

The workshop will take place on Saturday 6th July and Sunday 7th July at The Old School Gallery, Alnmouth.

Lunch and refereshments will be provided on both days.

If you are traveling from afar we can offer accomadation at our camping huts

Who are Orange Beak?

Orange Beak Studio was founded in 2017 by Pam Smy, Ness Wood and Maisie Paradise Shearring who are award-winning illustrators, designers and picturebook makers. Orange Beak offer one-to-one tutorials, mentoring, portfolio surgeries and varied workshops.

They work with clients from all stages in their development, from beginners to students to graduates to established illustrators. Their working ethos is to support and enable creatively ambitious clients to move forward with their goals. Orange Beak believe in giving people time, honest and constructive feedback, and guidance.


About Us

Maisie Paradise Shearring is an international award winning and published illustrator. In 2015, Maisie received the Bologna International Illustrators Award in recognition for her graphic novel, Susan’s School Days. Her first picture book, The Happy Prince has been nominated for the 2017 Bratislava Biennial of Illustration. Maisie has a broad portfolio of work. She is currently working on her second picture book as both author and illustrator with Two Hoots and has completed as illustrator a picture book with Walker Books due out in 2019. Maisie is also a lecturer on the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.


Ness Wood is an award-winning book designer, lecturer, published author and has qualifications in design history. Her wide-ranging accomplishments in both practical design and academia serve as a solid foundation for all her work. As a freelance designer and art director, Ness has worked for major publishers. She is known for her encouraging, straight-forward and collaborative approach with illustrators and students.

Pam Smy has illustrated folktales, chapter books, nursery rhyme collections, picture books and novels, and specialises in older end fiction. Pam’s first graphic novel, Thornhill with David Fickling Books was short listed for the CILIP Greenaway Award in 2018 and is now working on her next project. She has 18 years of art school teaching experience and, over this time, has developed an understanding of how to nurture creative process and work through ideas with illustrators. She has a passion for observational drawing and sketchbooks.

Ness and Pam worked together on Thornhill, which was awarded the BBD&PA Design Award in 2018 for the Graphic Novel category.

Find out more about Orange Beak and what they offer at


The course is for keen beginners who want to experience painting and drawing as a hobby or a creative outlet. With over thirty years of painting and drawing experience Robert will be on hand to guide students to an enjoyable and rewarding day of creativity, with an emphasis on good composition and construction of paintings from working sketches. Robert will demonstrate simple but effective techniques to achieve good work including skies, washes and the ‘Alla Prima’ technique for effective paintings. Simple methods using pure watercolour painting with excellent quality materials brushes and tools.

Worth over £60, a set of paints, paper, brushes and items are included in the cost of the course.

Course Format

Students be at the gallery for 9:30 for registration

10:00 Start

Intro; Robert and students.

Intro to and issue of the materials provided, watercolour, papers, paint, brushes, their use and care.

Brief about safety and where we will be sketching.

How to visualise a final work from a sketch, basic composition demo.

Where to find inspiration for paintings and what to look for when sketching.

11:00 – 12:30

Off outside sketching. If it’s poor weather, working from a series of photographs to creat still life representations.

13:00 Lunch (30 Mins)

13:30 Afternoon Session

Inside demonstration for final painting.

Students will produce a larger work on approx. 14 x 11in. paper.

14:45 Tea break (15 Mins)

Finishing off work and further demonstations.

16:15 finish with Q&As

16:30 End


Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

The participant needs to be 18+

What’s the refund policy?

If the course has to be cancelled for illness of the artist, bad weather, travel issues or other genuine reasons then we will only refund course/material fees. No travel costs or other expenses are due if the course is cancelled.

Are refreshments provided?

Light refreshments provided throughout the day (e.g. Tea, coffee, soft drinks) but attendees should bring their own lunch.

Other useful information:

Only the named student of the course may attend

– Due to part of the workshop taking place along the riverside path to the sailing club and shoreline (weather permitting), this unfortunately makes the course not suitable for people with limited mobility or wheelchair users due to uneven surfaces and restricted access.

– Be suitably dressed for outdoors etc. footwear, waterproofs, sun screen etc

8 attendees on the workshop


kittie jones


A two-day workshop working with artist Kittie Jones and learning how to respond to the landscape and its flora and fauna in a lively and interesting way. The course will begin by developing sketchbook drawings around Alnmouth’s varied landscape – the stunning coastline and the wooded river will be used as a starting point for gathering information. Guidance will be given on how to select interesting subject matter and make a number of different visual responses to it, in order to create source material to develop into more sustained mixed media drawings either on location or back in the studio, weather depending! A range of drawing techniques suited to sketching and outdoor working will be explored, with students being encouraged to work in both colour and black and white to create an expressive response to the diverse surroundings.

If in the instance of low attendence or cancellation of the course, the attendee will be offered a refund.