Last Friday I attended the Illustrator's Day workshop at the SCBWI's Springmingle Conference held here in Atlanta, and I had such a great experience!
I got the chance to meet some fellow illustrators, hear some valuable insights on the industry and fill my notepad with some very useful tips and advice from the faculty who included an art director from Simon and Schuster, the vice president and creative director from Peachtree Publishers, and an award-winning illustrator who's been in the game for over two decades. So here I'll share with you some of the things that I took away at Illustrator's Day:
It's a good idea to be on social media.
While I sat in the auditorium viewing some artwork created just for Illustrator's Day, Laurent Linn, the art director from Simon and Schuster and an Emmy award-winning puppet designer of Sesame Street, stressed the importance for illustrators to be actively engaged on social media. There's a whole community of children's book enthusiasts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and it's a great opportunity to get involved in the fun with your kid lit tribe.
Storytelling is Emotional Telling
Again, I think Mr. Liin his the nail on the head with this one. With storytelling, not only do the words on a page speak to the reader but also should the illustrations have that emotional link. Everything in an illustration should have a purpose to rouse emotion for the reader as well as to help move the story forward.
Always Be Building your Studio
The award-winning illustrator and president of the Society of Illustrators in Los Angeles, Joe Cepeda, invited us to see his studio via slide presentation. He believes that an artist's workspace should not only be a place with he or she learns and researches, but it should also be place that bring's the artist joy and a peace of mind. Now I dont rent a studio space nor can I leverage an engineering background to optimize every inch of space like Mr. Cepeda, but after watching his presentation I aspire to create workspace that works for me instead of the other way around.
The Creative Process is an Ongoing Process
When the vice president, Kathy Landwehr, and creative director, Nicki Carmack, of Peachtree Publishers gave their presentation, we the audience were given a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the orgins of a story idea progresses into a finished manuscript ready for publication as well as the pertinent roles that the editors and art directors play. Everyone has an equal part to ensure the best for the book's release. It may take months to foster an idea, to create the best artwork, or just to get inspired, but when it all comes together it's guaranteed to be a beautiful masterpiece because of all the creative and relentless minds involved in its production.
I'll Know it When I See It
Lastly, this is a quote I can relate to when it comes to seeing some good art. During the Q&A when the faculty was asked, "What are the desicive factors at play when deciding which illustrator to work with on a new book," they all agreed with, "I'll know it when I see it." Of course there are other factors that play a role in the decision-making process, but in the end it's the work of the illustrator best suited for the job who gets the gig.
So there you have it, some key things that I took away from Illustrator's Day. Now I'm looking forward to attending the WIK conference in October, but until then I'll let all the new thing I learned soak in.