About Young Artists

The Art School

Every year, thousands of children enjoy visiting the Young Artists Art School to experience our art programs and classes, school holiday art workshops and themed art parties. Our carefully structured approach to education is designed to give students a rewarding art experience in a nurturing, creative and inspiring environment.

Young Artists educational art programs are designed by qualified educators who specialise in art education for children. We develop technical skills in drawing, painting, mixed media, printmaking, collage, clay, sculpture, ceramic painting and glazing.

Our programs and classes give students confidence by allowing them to experiment with a wide range of media.  We teach art terminology and help students recognise their own strengths and weaknesses as artists. Programs and classes also change from term to term, meaning students stay interested, and challenged. We aim to make our programs enjoyable for the children because they learn more when they enjoy what they are doing!

Young Artists is located in the Hills District of Sydney, NSW. Our professional, light filled studio space is located at Unit 43, 9 Hoyle Avenue, Castle Hill. There is parking at the front door.

All Young Artists teachers have had a working with children check.

about Jane

(our School Principal and qualified art teacher)

Jane Blatchford was born into an artistic family in the small NSW country town of Gunnedah.         
Her father was an art teacher early in his career and her aunt and uncle are both well recognised artists.

As a young child Jane was always making things under the guidance of her creative family.  By the age of 6 she was designing and making Barbie clothes and crocheting colourful cushions and blankets.  By 9 Jane was lucky enough to receive art tutoring from her talented aunt in the country town of Forbes.  It was at this time and with this positive encouragement that Jane discovered her love of art.  Jane remembers her own experience of growing confidence and pleasure in her creative skill, honed in these early years of art education.  It is this same experience that Jane aims to provide to her students.

Jane studied visual arts throughout high school, including her HSC.  By the age of 16 she was helping a local artist paint a mural on the façade of Muswellbrook’s Regional Arts Centre.

After school, she spent 4 years studying in Sydney at The City Art Institute, which is now known as The NSW College of Fine Arts (COFA). Jane completed her Bachelor of Education in Visual Arts and majored in drawing.

During her youth, Jane regularly visited her uncle’s art gallery in The Blue Mountains to see exhibitions of his work. He was also an art teacher and let her borrow many art reference books, which were vital to her studies in a time without the internet.

Jane has also studied portraiture and figure painting at the oldest running Art School in Australia, The Julian Ashton Art School. Even the easels she worked on there are heritage listed!

With over 25 years of experience teaching Visual Arts and Design and Technology, Jane has worked in both government and independent schools. Many of her students have gone on to tertiary studies, and she would like to believe, a lifetime enjoyment of art. Jane has predominately taught in secondary schools, but is experienced in teaching infants and primary school children, and operated an art studio prior to opening Young Artists.

Alongside teaching Jane started her hand painted giftware business, “JFB Designs” back in 1996.  JFB Designs produced painted glassware, coasters and jewellery boxes for 15 shops throughout Sydney.  A number of these products have featured in home and decor magazines. The birth of three beautiful children meant life became too busy to continue this business.

While Jane has exhibited some of her artwork over the years, teaching children art has always been her key interest.  Now that her children are getting older, Jane hopes to spend more time painting.

Jane’s goal in life is to use constant positive reinforcement to encourage as many children as possible to continue with their art.  To quote Picasso;
“All children are born artists… the problem is to remain artists as they grow up.”  
Jane wants children to create art for pleasure without fear of criticism or judgement. Jane does not want children to be worried about grades – she wants to create future adults who love and enjoy the process of creation.

It is for this reason that Jane started upon this next stage in her artistic journey. It had been a dream of hers for many years to open the Young Artists Visual Arts School for kids and teens.  It finally happened on July the 12th, 2010.

The slogan “Joy Creating” says it all.  By enrolling your children at Young Artists, you are empowering Jane’s dreams and passion for art, and cultivating a similar attitude in the lives of your own family.

about Manjula

one of our qualified art teachers

Manjula Sri-Pathma has over 20 years of teaching experience, and is passionate about the visual arts and creativity.  Manjula has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Arts from the College of Fine Arts UNSW, and a Diploma in Teaching from the University of Sydney.  Manjula is experienced with a range of media and creative techniques, and holds a wide knowledge of art history and art criticism.  After exhibiting her paintings for a short period, she has dedicated her skills and creativity to teaching people of all ages.  As a visual arts teacher, Manjula enjoys the privilege of watching students develop their artistic skills as they age.  A number of her students have had artworks displayed in the prestigious annual Artexpress exhibition.

Manjula continues her pedagogical interests and is currently a University Practicum Supervisor with the Australian Catholic University (ACU), assessing new teachers’ application of teaching and learning practices. Manjula has a Diploma in Development Studies from Macquarie University and combines her passion for art with her humanitarian voluntary work.  She is a passionate mentor and volunteer in art workshops for under privileged women and children from many community groups.

about Karen

one of our illustrators

Karen Carter has been working in the book publishing industry as a graphic designer and illustrator for over 25 years.  During this time she has illustrated more than 35 books and designed many more.  Her initial training was at Randwick TAFE, participating in their prestigious Graphic Design and Illustration Program.  This program covered all aspects of design and typography as well as fine arts and photography.  Karen furthered her education with watercolour and life drawing classes under the guidance of a well-known artist.

Karen works predominantly in watercolour and acrylics, yet has been working increasingly on digital illustrations.  Karen has exhibited chalk pastel art works and has produced numerous commissions. She is in the process of working on her next exhibition of mixed media/acrylic pieces.

Prior to teaching at Young Artists, Karen taught after school art classes at a local primary school for over 10 years.  Karen loves working with children and emphasises fun and creativity whilst encouraging students to develop their own sense of style.  Positive reinforcement is always important in her classes.

Karen lives with her husband and three children, along with their dog Roxy and two curious cats!

about Helen

one of our qualified art teachers

Helen van der Hout enjoys teaching and loves to find ways to inspire students to improve and develop their art making practice.  Helen is passionate about getting alongside students and encouraging them in their artistic areas of interest. Helen’s students have consistently high standards and have been exhibited in Art Express and Art Rage.

Helen is a qualified Visual Arts Teacher with a Bachelor of Art Education from the College of Fine Arts, UNSW.  She has six years of teaching experience in secondary schools, and has taught a wide variety of media including drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking and mixed media.

Helen also has a Certificate IV in Photomedia and Ceramics with Macquarie Hills Potters and a Certificate in Printmaking Skills and Techniques with Tafe NSW.  Helen has taught specialty art lessons to primary aged students and has voluntary experience teaching art to adults at Pennant Hills Seniors Art Club.

about Annie

one of our qualified art teachers

Annie Gigli is a qualified visual arts and drama teacher who has been dedicated to the arts for thirty years. Alongside teaching visual arts, she has painted murals, designed stages and costumes and worked as a clown. She began her creative arts career as a professional puppeteer and puppet maker, touring schools and communities across Queensland with The BilBar Puppet Theatre and The Puppet People.

With the drive to inspire and teach children, Annie graduated from the University of Southern Queensland, majoring in sculpture. She conveys the joy and happiness of creativity through helping her students gain a strong sense of their own artistic self worth and individuality as young artists.

about Rachel

one of our qualified art teachers

Displaying passion for art at a young age, Rachel Yee began making art as soon as she could hold a paintbrush. She also regularly attended art classes to further develop her skills. Influenced by her own teachers growing up, Rachel believes that teachers play a significant role in encouraging children to create, and emphasises that there is no right or wrong, as everyone has the ability to make art.

Rachel has been teaching creative arts since 2011. Alongside visual arts, she is a qualified piano music teacher and was also a junior graphic designer.

2016 was a very significant year for Rachel, as she completed her undergraduate degree in a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design at the Australian Catholic University. Her degree allowed her to gain experience in teaching a range of media. She was able to explore painting, calligraphy, graphic design, drawing, printmaking, video art, ceramics, photography and installation art.

This year, Rachel had the opportunity to be in a group exhibition called ’26 titles’ at the ACU McGlade Gallery and was commissioned to start doing illustrations for children’s books. She also assisted Jane and Karen at Young Artists to gain experience as an art teacher, before taking on classes of her own.

Rachel is currently completing further studies through a Masters of Education. She firmly believes that the creative arts need passionate and inspiring teachers who are motivated and happy to develop relationships with learners to help further their creativity and help them explore their identity through their artworks.

about Alex

one of our illustrators and a former student

Alex completed her HSC in 2016, with a focus on creative arts. She was awarded the highest accolade by the NSW Board of Studies for both her major works, with her Visual Arts artwork selected for ARTEXPRESS and her Costume Design project selected for OnSTAGE. These exhibitions showcase the works created by the top HSC students in the state from the Visual Arts and Drama disciplines.

Alex is currently pursuing a Diploma in Live Production at the Design Centre in Enmore. Here, she is furthering her studies in illustration, graphic design, special effects makeup and set production, allowing her to marry her love of illustration with her interests in movies, cosplay and costume design.

No stranger to Young Artists, Alex was a student here herself for over 5 years, and a Teacher’s Assistant for 4 years. She is well known and liked by many of the students.

In her spare time, Alex is also illustrating a children’s book series, and working on a number of commissioned illustration projects.

Alex holds a keen interest in the comic book genre, and is passionate about Manga and Anime.

She has gained popularity on her social media pages by her many likeminded followers. She is keen to share her passion with the students at Young Artists and give back to the community that has nurtured and supported her so well.

Get in touch with us now

The programs at Young Artists are written by qualified educators who specialise in art education for children. We aim to make our programs enjoyable for the children because they learn more when they enjoy what they are doing!

Young Artists is found in the Hills district of Sydney. Our professional light filled studio space is located at Unit 43, 9 Hoyle Avenue, Castle Hill NSW 2154.
There is parking at the front door.

“Happiness… it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”  Vincent van Gogh