Friday, 21 October 2016

Conference One-to-One Reviews for Illustrators

For any SCBWI illustrator who is still thinking about booking their conference place will you also be considering having a 1-1 portfolio review?

Even if you've already taken the plunge and have it all booked, signed up and planned, here are some comments and feedback from a selection of last year's illustrators who opted for a review. By Paul Morton



You might be interested to hear how their 1-1 sessions went …

Illustrator 1 

What did you have reviewed? … Portfolio of images for a hospital commission that I have recently completed, plus a nature counting book concept and robot book concept.
What was the best thing about the session? … Looked at my artwork with fresh eyes. Will re-confirmed clearly how I could improve the images in the future with helpful suggestions on colour, pattern and tone.
Would you book another at future events? …Yes
Any final thoughts or comments please … Thanks very much for organising it, I would definitely recommend that other illustrators go through this process.

Illustrator 2 

What did you have reviewed? ... My portfolio (mostly b&w work)
What was the best thing about the session? ... Being told I was of a publishable standard!
What was the main or most important, most useful advice you received? ... To work on my character's eyeball to find ways of increasing the variety of expression.
Was this something that you were aware of, or did it come as a surprise? ... Not a total surprise, as I could see what he meant, but it was something I needed to have pointed out.
Would you book another at future events? ... Yes

Gemma Cooper (Bent Agency) critiquing at last year's Conference

Illustrator 3 

What did you have reviewed? ... Illustration portfolio and dummy books
Was it useful? ... Definitely yes
What was the main or most important, most useful advice you received? ... The reviewer found one of my characters too big and too scary.
Was this something that you were aware of, or did it come as a surprise? ... I was not aware of this so it was very useful to learn.

Illustrator 4 

What did you have reviewed? … My portfolio (approx 20 pages) and 2 dummy books
Was it useful? … Yes, very.
What was the main or most important, most useful advice you received? ... Sarah advised what pieces worked best and why, which of my styles would work best for picture books and which for young fiction etc.
Was this something that you were aware of, or did it come as a surprise? … I was surprised she liked a couple of the pieces I was less confident about and hadn’t realised that some of my linework would be so well suited to colour fiction as she thought, so there were definitely new things to take from it.

Sarah Frost (Hodder Children's Books) giving advice

Illustrator 5 

What did you have reviewed? ... My Portfolio
Was it useful? ...Very
What was the best thing about the session? ... He gave me information about how to access the older children's market

Illustrator 6 

What did you have reviewed? … Portfolio, and dummy book
Did you get at least 20 minutes … Yes
Was it useful … Yes
What was the best thing about the session? … Having the work assessed by someone actively in the business
What was the main or most important, most useful advice you received? … The illustration style in relation to contemporary work
Was this something that you were aware of, or did it come as a surprise? … A surprise on one level though not really as the material presented was something created some time ago - I needed to know where I stood at the current moment.

If you have decided to pay for a 1-1 think carefully about exactly what you take to the review and what you'd like from it. Further details will be emailed out to you just before the conference. Here are some useful articles and features that may help … good luck.

Main conference page for bookings

For more advice on putting together your portfolio please check out the following articles:



@paulhotfrog
Paul Morton is a full time professional freelance illustrator and aspiring Picture Book writer based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, he runs Hot Frog Graphics illustration and design studio and stands on the SCBWI Illustration Committee.

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