Thursday, September 22, 2011

Illustrator Intensive at the SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference

For the first time ever at the 2011 Midsouth Fall Conference we held an Illustrator Intensive.

Here's how it worked:
Six weeks before the conference, Jim Hoover from Viking Children's Books sent 2 unpublished manuscripts and let the artists choose to illustrate the first spread from either one. Some liked bunnies, some liked fish.

Sketches were sent to Jim and he provided in-depth feedback to each artist with suggestions for improvement. He spent time reviewing each illustrator's website and offered specific changes and suggestions related to their style. Then he suggested that all sketches and comments be shared via email so we could all benefit from seeing each other's comments What a guy! The artists were thrilled to get that kind of expert knowledge in this "round-table" critique style.

The day of the Intensive, everyone brought their final illustrations; we propped them up and the discussions began! For 2 hours, Jim told us what worked, what didn't, and why, all interlaced with funny anecdotes and gentle honesty. We loved him.

Here are a few of the final illustrations from the Intensive.

Mary Uhles

Kris Sexton

Rebecca Rae Mudd
Meridth Gimbel

Susan Eaddy
Video for this Bad Bunny

Saturday, September 17, 2011

'Strangers in the Stable' ... my latest book illustration projet completed.

I don't post here often, because my schedule is filled with more than children's book illustration, however, my latest project was for a Christmas early reader, and now that the publisher has sent the files to the printer, now I can share.

This was my first kid's book illustrated purely digitally, so it was quite an experience. I normally only paint digitally for novels and some older kid's genres, like MG or YA (which are only sometimes illustrated).

Strangers in the Stable, by Jim Laughter and 4RV Publishing, is a charming twist to the traditional Christmas tale, which makes me doubly honored to have been the illustrator. Now, for a peek at the illos:

The stores and shops teemed with life,
and people lined up at tables in the marketsquare,
signed books, and paid money to
men in flowing red robes and shiny hats.
Finally, three more men entered from out
of the night. Kings, the people called them.
They carried gifts and laid them before the
child and his parents.
The kids got to know the young family,
and even Young Billy became friends with
If you're interested in seeing the original cover I created for this book, and read why I changed it at literally the last minute, check out my latest 4RV newsletter post.
If your thinking on buying a few copies for Christmas, pre-orders are being accepted now on the 4RV Publishing catalog site.

Until next time,

Aidana WillowRaven