Category Archives: 5 | On portfolios

5 | On portfolios

tile 5

You met with art directors at the Intensive. What did you learn from encountering them? Did they share tips for everyone?

Janis Marziotto: I’d like to know more about your process about working your illustrations into someone else’s story. How do you start? Do you let the story speak to you and whatever pictures pop into your head those are what you go with? As a writer, when I look at pictures, the pictures speak to me in words.

Melanie Hope Greenberg: At the SBCWI NY Metro Illustrator’s Intensive portfolio critiques were done privately with three art directors and an agent. I’m sure each illustrator gathered new knowledge and inspiration at their personal critiques. I took the opportunity to have a critique. Learned that my portfolio needs to always be updated. Don’t rest on my laurels. Show new work. 

I show picture book art on my website

I started a blog to keep adding new art. These illustrations are also for sale.

Joy Chu: @ Janis: When you experience a picture book, do you notice what the illustrator has done to enrich what the author has written? That is, what’s NOT mentioned in the text?

JC: @ Melanie: Did Laurent Linn indicate what he looks for on behalf of his publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers?
MHG:   @ Janis, that’s an excellent question and Joy brought up something very important about the under layers of a story to transcend the text into silent stories. I am going to discuss this further in Question #7.

Either way, as author-illustrator or just the illustrator, I need to breakdown the text to a 32 page format. Books are printed in increments of eights.

 See my post at the Mermaid on Parade Blog to visually learn about my process.

MHG:   I was in Pat Cummings‘ class at the same time Laurent was teaching next door.  I do not remember that question addressed when Pat and Laurent came together.  I suggest to Google an interview with him and find out what he likes.

The good news is that I found the handout from that day. Here is what Laurent prefers: Send snail-mail samples of illustration, postcards are ideal. No email samples. 

Send to: Laurent Linn, Art Director, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10020

JC: Aha. So what gems of wisdom did Pat share with you? I love the vibrancy of her art.

MHG: And remember folks… NEVER send original art, only reproductions that the publisher can keep on file.

JC: Thanks for that LL mailing tip, by the way.  
Adding to Melanie’s excellent advice on art samples: Make sure your sample fits neatly into an 8.5 x 11″ file folder. In other words, never send anything larger. And it should always be a reproduction, not an original. Each piece should have all your vital contact information.

MHG: Students in Pat’s class had homework to create art for their story. One at a time, each student displayed their illustration in front of the whole class to be critiqued. Pat discussed composition, character development, narrative arc, color palettes, child friendliness, text placement, among many other nuances that come up when illustrating a picture book. Very informative session. We all came away learning how to be better at this craft.

Judy Salinsky Oh… I have been reading every post, I am learning so much. Living in San Diego is a wonderful place and Joy’s class was so informative, wish we had more. I love this. Seems like many artists are “self-taught”,  hit-and-miss. Hopefully, I will get a hit someday. I wanted to post a THANK YOU to Erin for recommending  Drawn to Life: 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes: Volume 1: The Walt Stanchfield Lectures. Amazon offers a ‘Look Inside the Book.’ Oh my goodness, what a gem. Thanks so much for welcoming me to my first on-line discussion group, this is wonderful.

Judy Salinsky: @ Melanie: Will you ever do a workshop in California, or another one in New York! I would love to learn more!

MHG: Invite me to California and I am there!

Janis Marziotto: @Joy:  Yes, I do. In fact, as a writer, we are reminded that if our words don’t do a good job o conjuring images then we didn’t do our job. I think of white space when pondering your inquiry. Even if a book is just words, the white space speaks volumes as well. I was just wondering about Melanie’s process. Thank you.

JC: Glad you jumped right into the countdown, Janis. Let’s re-visit your query when we get to Question 7, as Melanie suggests.