Thursday, May 26, 2016

Illustrator Intensive With Jim Hoover

SCBWI organizes many events throughout the year. I especially like attending regional events, for they are smaller and a great way to meet other amazing writers and illustrators who live nearby. It is also less intimidating for meeting the special guests who speak at these events and a great way to get your foot in the door for future submissions.

This last Saturday I had the privilege of attending a SCBWI Illustrator Intensive event with Art Director Jim Hoover. My fellow illustrators and I all squeezed into a room to hear him speak and critique the assignment we had been given in December. For me, it was an exciting event that I had been looking forward to for months!

Mr. Hoover has had a rich career so far having worked as a designer for Puffin Books and Simon & Schuster. He advanced to Art Director, working for SCBWI before working for the magnificent Viking Children's Books! I am sure that you can imagine with such a big reputation, I was nervous to meet him (not to mention receive a professional critique (YIKES!)). 

After preparing illustrations for months, the day arrived and I must tell you that it was a wonderful relief to actually meet Jim. He was a charming, insightful professional who kept the entire room entertained for over 8 hours. That is quite a feat for any speaker!

Here are a few things that I took away from the event that I had not taken into consideration before:

·       When creating a portfolio, it doesn’t matter what style you choose. The most important thing that you can show is confidence in your work. If an editor or an art director can see your confidence through your work you have got it made!

·       Costuming your characters is a really important step that often gets overlooked. The costume(s) that you choose for your characters should reflect their personality as well as the time. Don’t be afraid to use clashing patterns or bright colors so long as it fits your story and character.

·       Showing movement in a still drawing is an impressive way to capture your audience. Practice this!

I learned these things and more from this event. I would highly recommend it to anyone who gets the opportunity, for it is a great way to get insight into the publishing business as well as feedback on your art. 

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