The importance of picture books and illustrations in children’s development cannot be over emphasized. Children learn to read pictures much before they learn to read text. Therefore, richly illustrated picture books play an important role in engaging children in the process of reading. In India, where a large number of children attending government schools are first generation learners who lack a print environment at home, pictures become the first medium of introducing them to stories and the world around them.

The Riyaaz Academy for Illustrators was set up in 2015 as a platform for budding artists and young illustrators to explore different forms of illustrations. The 11 month certificate course aims to refine the perception, professional skills and intellect of students interested in illustration, especially picture book illustration. Young students are encouraged to look at illustrations from a child’s point of view and being sensitive to the fact that children in India today are growing up in a multilingual and multicultural world. Riyaaz illustrators bring in humour in their work because children enjoy that the most. At the same time they address social biases, champion values of sustainable development, equality of gender, caste and religion and break stereotypes. Riyaaz was set up jointly by Parag and Eklavya, Bhopal along with illustrator Atanu Roy. While Riyaaz is only in its second year, students have already illustrated books and magazines for several publishers including Pratham Books, Eklavya, NCERT, Room to Read and Agha Khan Foundation.

Key Offerings:

  • Intellectually stimulating curriculum
  • Experienced professionals in illustration, publishing and education as faculty
  • Field visits to practice sketching at historical landmarks, nature reserves etc
  • Continuous mentoring from faculty
  • Rich variety of art materials provided by the academy
  • Scholarships available to deserving candidates
  • Students can earn 60% of paid professional work they get through Riyaaz

Riyaaz equips students to:

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Library Educator’s Course

LEC Hindi is open to all educators and intended for teachers, school librarians, development sector professionals, and literacy and language educators and in fact for every one working with children and books with the desire to spread the joy and culture of reading. The LEC offers a unique opportunity to strengthen understanding and academic thinking linked to practice in a well-designed, highly charged environment with some of the best library practitioners in the field.

The course comprises three contact sessions in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. LEC hindi has successfully completed seven batches. More than two hundred library educators and teachers from 43 organisations across 19 states have participated in the course.

Participation on moodle during distance mode, completion of assignments and field projects are graded. For more information, please go through the course prospectus.

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Big Little Book Award

An annual award that recognizes and honours original and significant contribution of Indian authors and illustrators to children’s literature in Indian languages.


Parag’s annual Children’s Library Conference where library educators and others engaged in the library, with reading and children exchange ideas, present best practices and challenges.

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Riyaaz Academy – New Narrative for Children’s Illustrators

How do illustrators train? What happens during the course of a contact week at the Riyaaz Academy for Illustrators? This photo essay takes a sneak peek into the various aspects of the course.