Posts tagged ‘Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’

Illumination Sunday

There is a pinhole in my thick skull which is finally excepting illumination.  I’ve been so busy working diligently to bring my drawing and digital painting skills into line with what I know I can accomplish, that I have forgotten the light, the spirit, the magic of telling a visual story, naturally.

Particular rays of light emerged in the forms of Marijka Kostiw and Laurent  Linn Sunday,  when the New Jersey Chapter of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators held our annual “Illustrator’s Day”.  Marijka Kostiw of Scholastic Books presented a thoroughly  enjoyable and informative critique session, evaluating the illustration assignment described in earlier posts.   I learned a lot in general, and was pleased in particular, that what was for me, a looser , chancier, more “from the heart” piece  turned out to be the best direction to take with the assignment .  Later in the day, Laurent Linn of  Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, very kindly urged me in the same  less calculated more natural direction, while critiquing my portfolio.  Leeza Hernandez, a really fine illustrator, rode the prevailing glow into her workshop seminar, reminding illustrators to rediscover  the very basic elements we instinctively know, but often suppress when concentrating too hard on getting the job done.  Thank you!

It was a good day.  I wasn’t the only illustrator who walked away vowing to reignite the inspiration that led us to illustration for children in the first place. I met some really lovely people who are as interested as I,  in  helping each other to bring our work up to the next level.  I feel encouraged, unbound, and eager to let go….


NJSCBWI Assignment- Finished?

I think I’m finished with my assignment.  After deciding what Sally Gal might look like, the most difficult part was to focus on which emotion to portray on this little girl’s face, since this character feels many things in this scene. I’ve included character sketches of Sally Gal’s subtly of mood and her cousin Wild Cat’s winning ways.

On a scale of one to ten, I feel this spot illustration rates about a seven and a half on the “feel- ok- about -it meter”.  The painting is digital, so if this were a “real” assignment, I could make changes easily if asked.  For instance, the ribbon on the left could be resized or eliminated with a click.  Of course, text fills the left hand side of the page and wraps to the top of the page on the right.  Here, I’ve included a light blue gutter for orientation purposes. I’ve provided a full one quarter inch bleed all round in the final piece.

I’m looking forward to the feedback, because this workshop is about learning. Really looking forward to sharing my portfolio and meeting the art directors.  Interested to spend time and speak with other illustrators.  But, there are so many images floating around in my head, that it is time to move on to the next project…had a dream about a blue squid-like patterned creature that replicates children…

NJSCBWI-Workshop assignment!

I’ve got to finish my homework.  The annual NJ Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators “Illustrator’s Day” is coming up, and I’m procrastinating.

“Illustrator’s Day ” is an action packed all day workshop. It’s a really cool event, but both the up and downside is dum dum dum dum-homework.  This is how it works:

Each illustrator attending the workshop has the opportunity to illustrate one scene chosen from one of five specific manuscripts.  The illustrator then develops a sketch that is emailed to a fab art director for comment/guidance.  After receiving a crit on the sketch, a final piece is completed by each illustrator, to be presented on the day of the workshop. This is a wonderful opportunity  not only to meet lots of other illustrators, but to have one’s work exposed to the excellent art directors attending the workshop.

I am thrilled to be able to meet Marijka Kostiw, art director at Scholastic.  Ms. Kostiw has already reviewed my sketch.  I’ve got my feedback, and I have indeed started the final piece. To tell the truth, I’m enjoying it.  I chose to illustrate what is for me, a defining moment in the life of a little girl, who must weigh the consequences of her actions. It’s from a lovely chapter book entitled Sally Gal and The Wall- a- kee Man by Shelia P. Moses.

Above is the digital sketch and below, the critique.  I’d include text, but I do not want to infringe on the copyright.


Notes for Elena –

This is really quite wonderful.

I think that the illustration is very good, it captures the moment very well.

I like that there is action and the cropping is very good.

Sallie Gal’s expression is evocative, you want to know this little girl.

I like the idea of the figure on the left, walking off the page but I was confused as to who that was supposed to be?

Is it Sallie Gal or her cousin Wild Cat?

The clothes are different than Sallie Gal’s in the other art, so I assume it is Wild Cat.

But what is Wild Cat doing here?

In the text she is talking to Sallie Gal, here she seems to be alone.

Can you think of a different spot to use here, one that would work better with the text?

It should feel like it belongs with the text on the specific page – other wise it’s confusing and unnecessary.

Maybe you should concentrate on working on just the one piece – it’s really good.


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