Thursday, September 23, 2010

SCBWI-SWTX Editor's Day 2010

This past Saturday, September 18, SCBWI members were treated to talks by Sarah Shumway  of Harper-Collins and Julie Ham of Charlesbridge.
Carmen Tafolla gave the keynote.  All three were excellent.
Next time, I will share my notes on these sessions.
In the meantime, here are some links that did an excellent job of covering the day’s events.

Now, for a quick overview of the first  Illustrator Breakout Session.
Art Avila and Raining Popcorn Publishing
Art Avila -SCBWI-SWTX Editor's Day 2010

Art Avila of Raining Popcorn Publishing spoke informally about children’s publishing and answered questions about new media, children’s illustration opportunities, and what an Art Director looks for. Here are a few pointers:

-          Have an easily accessible online portfolio.

-          Take advantage of other types of opportunities within the children’s illustration industry because you never know where it might lead and experience is always good.

   -          Network and get involved in social organizations such as SCBWI.

-          Vector-based artwork (for example, line art) translates easily to media and flash – which is important for websites and interactive teaching tools, (especially those geared toward very young children.)
       A site teaching children about piggy banks and money.
      A site teaching children about energy.

-          Don’t be afraid to approach an Art Director. Find out what the submissions guidelines are, and do it respectfully. Send an e-mail with a link to your portfolio. Do not send an attachment.

Here are a few of the children's books published by Raining Popcorn.

The second Breakout Session was with Heather Powers, winner of the 2008 SCBWI Tomie dePaola Portfolio Award. Here is a quick overview of that session.
Heather Powers and “Creating an Award-Winning Portfolio.”
Heather Powers at SCBWI-SWTX Editor's Day

A few of Heather's tips include:

-An online portfolio is an absolute must.

-Your portfolio should be pure. For example, if you have realistic illustrations and more stylized illustrations, you might want to think about keeping them in two different portfolios. 

-Keep your website and portfolio easy to navigate.

-Showcase only your strongest work. Art directors will always remember your worst image.

-Showcase work that correlates to the work you want to do.

      -BE PROLIFIC. The best way to strengthen your portfolio is to work as hard and as much as you possibly can, replacing weaker images with strong ones.
Thank you so much for wonderful insights, Art and Heather!
ReTweet of the Day
How to Approach Art Directors without Being Annoying


  1. Thanks for this great post, Carolyn (and for the link to my site). I have passed your link to the Houston SCBWI. I know our illustrators will love to read this.

  2. Excellent coverage. Good details that are helpful to both writers and illustrators. Thanks. Great links too.

  3. Everybody, if you click on start in the PiggyBank link under the Art Avila section, then you can drop coins in the piggybank and it's really cool! Have fun.