“SCBWI Illustrator’s Day – Critiques and Learning”

“SCBWI Illustrator’s Day – Critiques and Learning”

I just returned from a full day of critiques, portfolio reviews and meetings with agents & art directors at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators – “Illustrator’s Day” in Princeton, NJ.  It was a very productive learning day for me.  I love doing the SCBWI events because I always come away with so much valuable information and it’s great to connect with others in the field.


The above image was the “before” illustration completed as a 2 page spread assignment for the group critique. I chose to work from a book called “The Critter Sitter”, originally beautifully illustrated by Chuck Richards. I didn’t look at Chuck’s book until after I did the illustration because I didn’t want to be influenced at all.

Art Director Donna Mark, (Bloomsbury/Walker Publishing) was my assigned mentor and some of the comments and suggestions from her as well as the other illustrators in the group were as follows:

1.Not sure that the dark purple background is working. Possibly make it look more like a kitchen background or lighten it up.

2.The boy, Henry is too small and disproportionate to the door, as well as the proportions of the frog and cat in the foreground.

3.The dog is at an angle that looks like he is not running out of the door but staying inside the house.

So here is my attempt at fixing some of the problems…

Here is the first sketch that was initially submitted to the Art Director for review before starting any painting…

Donna suggested that I include much more to the scene since there was so much going on in the text for this page spread.  I revised the sketch several times to try to include the dog as well.  In addition to the critique, there was a great workshop for illustrators given by Leeza Hernandez, and I also got to meet with agent Christina Tugeau.  Great tips and helpful suggestions were gained from both.  I look forward to the next Illustrator’s Day event with NJ SCBWI.

Lorraine Dey
illustrator – Deystudio, LLC (www.deystudio.com)
(click on the “about” tab above to see more about Deystudio, LLC)

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Featured image for this month…(from my RF stock portfolio)


4 thoughts on ““SCBWI Illustrator’s Day – Critiques and Learning”

  1. Thank you for posting this illustration! It’s my inspiration for learning how to paint digitally. It’s so beautiful.

  2. Hi Lorraine!
    Looks like an amazing experience. I really enjoyed seeing the before illustrations and the art direction comments. Most of all how well you understood and applied the suggestions. The “Illustrator’s Day” looks like a rich and memorable experience. Thanks for posting!
    Tom Young

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