Designing an Imprint Logo

I need you to design a logo. 

This logo will represent our team’s newest publishing imprint. It will act as an emblem for the countless hours we spend on the countless products we make. It will be the final piece of a puzzle years in the making.

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Do I Need An Agent? (Or A Blog About the Life of a Submission, in Three Acts)

Is there a five-word sentence in the children’s book industry more capable of sparking a debate than “Do I need an agent”? (Maybe: “Is publishing dead or not?” It’s not dead, but I digress.)

In this post, you and I will go through the steps of a submission, from researching agencies to signing on the dotted line—while having a bit of a heart-to-heart along the way.

I also ask six well-respected agents to share their thoughts by answering three questions.

By the end of this post, you may finally have the answer to: “Do I need an agent?”

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Baseball and Illustration

I’m a Baltimore Orioles fan. I’ll skip the blurry anecdotes and poetic waxing of what the O’s have meant to me. Suffice it to say my devotion runs deep. How deep? I still loved them after what happened in the spring of 1989 (look it up).

As a fan of baseball, I can’t help but notice the parallels and lessons that directly apply to something else I love: illustration. With outfield assists from fellow baseball fans Sarah Bunting, Tad Carpenter, John Hendrix, Kenard Pak, Elias Stein, Matt Tavares, and John Tomac, we discuss the lessons artists can learn from our national pastime. So pull up your socks and chew on some gum—we’re talking baseball and illustration!

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My Artistic Journey . . . So Far

Finding who you are as an artist is an ever-evolving, often frustrating journey of self-discovery. With every contour, color, line, and letter, we are either encouraged or dispirited. On some days, we unleash a deluge of art worthy of the finest museum. But on other days (often the very next day), we barely have the confidence to pick up a pencil or touch a keyboard.

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The Illustrator’s Portfolio

What should I put in my portfolio? Is a fancy presentation important? How many pieces should I include? Do I show one style? Do I show several styles? In this article, we review the illustrator’s portfolio.

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On SCBWI, Advice for Authors and Illustrators

“You should attend an SCBWI conference.” 

At some point in our journey as authors and illustrators, we hear this piece of advice. But what does it mean? How should we prepare for a conference? How do we engage the faculty? What can we realistically hope to gain? In this post, Arthur Levine, Dan Santat, Martha Brockenbrough, Kendra Levin, Jen Rofé, Jennifer Laughran, Jim Hoover, Pat Cummings, Meg Medina, and Claudia Pearson—all veteran faculty members—and I share our tips on attending a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference.

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No, GO to Art School

In the post-Internet age, the traditional model of learning a discipline in the creative arts—i.e., completing a four-year program at a brick-and-mortar college or university—is being questioned.

With rising tuition costs, more people are asking, “Are art schools worth it?” Criticisms leveled against art schools are many. And even though I agree with some of them, I will always advocate for art schools. Here’s why:

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10 Mistakes Illustrators Make

Every illustrator is different. And yet—regardless of experience, education, or talent—there are common mistakes all illustrators make. Some of them are harmless oversights: while others can damage a reputation. 

Here are my top 10 most common illustrator mistakes.

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Animation and Children’s Books

Animators can make great children’s book illustrators.

In this post, I ask Cale AtkinsonBrett BeanLiz ClimoChris HoughtonWard JenkinsClaire KeaneTina KuglerSarah MarinoOvi NedelcuPete OswaldKenard Pak, and Charles Santoso to speak to their experiences in “crossing over” to children’s books.

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Forget “Style”

“Finding my style” is one of the most commonly discussed topics among illustrators. Entire semesters, seminars, twitter chats, and blog posts are devoted to “style”.

And yet, of all the words in the lexicon of the art world, “style” is the one I absolutely hate the most

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Do What You Don’t Love

There are two pieces of advice every illustrator has heard, but should never heed: “Do what you love, and the money will follow” and “Only accept projects if you connect with the text”.

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On Managing Time, Insecurities, and the Magic Mirror Gate

When I was a kid, my parents would get me to eat by saying in their southern Italian dialect, “The more you stare, the more there is.”

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The Search for Illustrators

At conferences, schools, and through social media, someone asks me: 

How do you find illustrators? What are you looking for?
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Welcome to the #ArtTips Blog!

Welcome to the #arttips blog! The purpose of this blog will be to provide insight into the professional practice of illustration.

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