Saturday, 4 October 2014

Illustrator Special: Why Booking an Illustrator Review is a VERY GOOD Idea!



For any illustrators thinking of booking a 121 Illustrator Review at the upcoming SCBWI Riding The Waves of Change Conference here's SCBWI Illustrator Alex Wilson talking to Sally Poyton about his experience with Ed Burns from Advocate Illustration Agency at the 2013 conference.



How did you prepare for your Illustrator review?
I actually tried not to over think my review. At the time I didn't know specifically who I would be reviewed by, so I thought I should present my work as best as I could and play the rest by ear. When putting together my portfolio I didn't have a huge amount of finished work that was purely kid centric. I was horribly nervous about this, part of me honestly thought I might get asked to leave the room! I focused on picking out a small number of images (I think I went with 12) I thought best represented what I was trying to achieve, and presented them as nicely as I could. I also took my sketchbook and an iPad with some illustration work unrelated to kids' books in case I was asked for anything beyond what was in my portfolio.

Alex also won best Portfolio in 2013


How did you find your Illustration review:?
Great! Ed was very easy to talk to and extremely knowledgeable about the illustration market ranging from children's books, to greetings cards and advertisements. He immediately isolated the strengths and weaknesses in my work and gave me some of the best feedback I have received to date. He went through all of my work thoroughly, including my sketchbook and what I had with me beyond my kids' work and promptly told me I had presented all of the wrong work, in the wrong order! Typical.

One of Alex's portfolio winning illustrations
that you may also recognise as  previous W&P banner


What kind of feedback did you receive from Ed, and did you find this useful?
Ed's feedback helped me consider not just the aesthetics of my work but also to understand what sort of market my work could do well in. He suggested ways I could tweak my style and process to better suit certain types of projects in different markets. His advice was designed to help my work be more commercially viable as a source of regular income rather than a string of passion projects that may or may not actually pay the bills. It's an angle that, at some point, most artists need to consider with their own work and it was something that I personally always struggled with.

Alex's cover for the new Storytime magazine 


What advice would you give to anyone thinking of booking an illustrator review:
Put together and present the best portfolio you can and try to enjoy yourself. It is very easy to over think what could or will happen before going into an interview/review session but so long as you let your work speak for itself you should have a great review and, with a little luck, leave with an abundance of new knowledge and inspiration.

Please don’t forget that there is still time to book an Illustrator Review,
booking closes on the 18th October.

The new Storytime Magazine with Alex's fab cover will be on sale from 15th October  



Alex Wilson says he draws a little too much, paints a little too little and spends far too much time being distracted by his two wonderfully troublesome daughters. But Alex also says that working as a freelance illustrator/designer since 2007, he  started focusing on his lifelong love of children’s animation, literature and illustration at the end of 2012 and hasn't looked back since.




Sally Poyton has not only organised the Margaret Carey Conference Scholarships this year she's also working very hard on matching up illustrators with their perfect 121! She writes mostly YA Fantasy. She's dyslexic, so writing is not without its difficulties but she LOVES it. Sally is also an author on Space on the Bookshelf, a blog that celebrates children's literature with reviews, views and more.







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