The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) was having their annual conference this past weekend. As an industry professional, I was invited to attend an event that showcased some of the art from the society and mix with other industry professionals.
At first it was daunting. I am still relatively new to the children’s book industry. I know some people from previous events or internships, but not so always so well that it doesn’t feel awkward trying to talk to them. Although I did run into Kass Morgan (author of The 100) and promptly fangirled.
What I really went for was to look at the art and the portfolios on display. I found several artists whose illustration style I really loved, and will keep tabs on for future projects. But I do have one piece of advice for people who might included in the future of this event and here it is:
Include in your portfolio your take on a designing a cover for some YA or middle grade covers.
Editors are looking for artists for those projects just as much as they are looking for illustrators for picture books.
The artists I whose contact information I picked up all appealed to my sensibilities but I picked up a few who I thought might be worth considering for covers. Teen books are moving away from the “girl in ball gown” look on covers and are becoming illustrated or design focused. I want to see not only your illustrations for a children’s book, but also what you would do for a cover for a teen book.
Anyways, that’s my two cents. Oh, and juggling contact cards with a drink in hand while trying to turn pages is hard.