Hi, I'm Nina

I've been working in the illustration industry for over two decades having taught more than 55,000 students worldwide.  I'm passionate about sharing what I know.


I was awarded the CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Notable Book in 2000. Since then, I’ve had more than a dozen picture books published worldwide, including award-winning picture book and stage production Boom Bah! (Phil Cummings), No More Kisses (Margaret Wild), Good Dog Hank (Jackie French) and Pooka (Carol Chattaway, YABBA Award Winner, 2013). See my publications list below or head over to my books page to find out more. To view my illustration portfolio.

Since 2019, I've been hosting free online eventsshowcasing artists, designers, illustrators, and creative entrepreneurs to talk about their creative journeys and best practices. I love inspiring my online community with new ideas, approaches, and a fresh outlook on how to turn up for ourselves and our art.

Why I do what I do

I have a passion for picture book illustration, and my number one goal is to not only create but to also help others create art that inspires story and sparks the imagination. 

Children's picture books have a unique way of sharing the individual and the collective human experience for generations to come. My hope is to share all of my knowledge by offering the structure, resources, and support so that others can continue to create the best version of their story.

"Nina is so experienced and her teaching via videos, workbooks and her Live sessions really kept my interest and covered all aspects of the industry, not just the drawing, which I really appreciated. Her courses really are the whole package. One of the best parts was getting to know a community of like-minded and supportive illustrators and Nina's involvement and encouragement in our pursuit was heartwarming. Thank you Nina!"

Lara Porter
PBIC 2021

My Picture Book Publication's


  • This is the Dog (Maura Finn & Nina Rycroft, Scholastic NZ, 2021). Maura Finn is an award-winning Melbourne-based Kiwi author. 
  • The Grasshoppers Dance (Julliette MacIver & Nina Rycroft, Scholastic NZ, 2015).
  • Once a Creepy Crocodile (Peter Taylor & Nina Rycroft, Five Mile Press, 2015). Shortlisted for Speech Pathology Australia’s 'Book of the Year Award', 2015.
  • Good Dog Hank (Jackie French & Nina Rycroft, Harper Collins, 2014). 
  • Possum’s Big Surprise (Colin Buchanan & Nina Rycroft, Scholastic Australia, 2014).
  • Dinosaurs Eat Cheese (Jackie French & Nina Rycroft, Harper Collins, 2013).
  • Pooka (Carol Chattaway & Nina Rycroft, Working Title Press, 2012). Winner of the YABBA (Young Australians Best Book Awards 2013).
  • Now I Am Bigger (Sherryl Clark & Nina Rycroft, Working Title Press, 2010). 
  • No More Kisses (Margaret Wild & Nina Rycroft, Little Hare, 2010).
  • Ballroom Bonanza (Nina Rycroft, Working Title Press, 2009, ABRAMS NY, 2010). Finalist in the CJ Picture Book Awards International Competition2010. Finalist in the Young Hoosier Book Awards, USA, 2010.  Listed in the NSW Premier’s Reading ChallengeAn illustration was purchased by Dromkeen VIC, to be a part of the Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection.
  • Boom Bah! (Phil Cummings & Nina Rycroft, Working Title Press, 2008, Kane Miller’s, 2009). Winner of the BILBY World Picture Book Award, 2010. Boom Bah! adapted into an award-winning stage production, touring Australia Singapore, and Korea as part of a literacy initiative between Windmill and the advertiser, Little Big Book Club. Boom Bah! was presented to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to commemorate their visit to Australia, in May 2014.
  • Elephant Dance (Sue Whiting & Nina Rycroft, Koala Books, 2007).
    Macquarie's: My First Animal Alphabet (Macquarie, 2007).
    Hippopot-a-Mouse (Mike Dumbleton & Nina Rycroft, Era Publications, 2007).
  • Tricky Little Hippo (Jane Bowring & Nina Rycroft, Koala Books, 2005).
  • Little Platypus (Nette Hilton & Nina Rycroft, Koala Books, 2000). CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Notable Book, 2001. Listed in the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge.
  • Sir Joshua and the Unprofessional Dragon (Sam Bowring and Nina Rycroft, Koala Books, 1999).
  • Charlie’s Gold (Jackie French and Nina Rycroft, Koala Books, 1999).

My online journey

Having struggled with my own lack of community, I know the value of coming together with a shared passion. After relocating to Auckland in 2016, I found it difficult to find my place. My need for a creative community sparked a desire to establish an online space for anyone interested in character design and picture book illustration. Since the launch of the Picture Book e-Course in 2017, I've had the pleasure of seeing many students go on and build exciting careers as children's book illustrators.

2006-2009, taught children's picture book illustration evening classes in Sydney. 

2010, took part in Literature Live, an E:lite and CAL funded programme, training authors and illustrators with interactive white board and video conferencing equipment to enhance remote school visits and workshops.

2016, relocated with my family to Auckland. Taught evening classes, weekend workshops and a series of Auckland Museum holiday programmes.

2016, became a Skillshare Top Teacher. 

2017, launched the Picture Book Illustration e-Course pilot. 

2020, Picture Book Illustration e-Course became a self-paced, 8-week programme with a comprehensive workbook.

2021, launch my 4-week Animal Character Design Course.

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