Monthly Archives: February 2013

Stephen Silver-Protect Your Art


Stephen Silver returns with a follow up to his previous video about not taking on free work. This one is in regards to entering contests that claim all rights to any artwork submitted.

In this day and age more and more individuals and companies are taking advantage of artists desperation to be seen. Pay attention to the fine print and retain control over the ownership of your images.

To learn more about Stephen and his work check his website and blog.

Editorial Changes Resources for Illustrators/Writers

In the process of creating and maintaining mailing lists many of you run into the problem of wondering whether the person who was the Editor or Art Director 3 months ago is still in the same position today. As in life many folks shift and move from position to position or from publisher to publisher. There are a few ways to keep up with these changes so that your mailing lists can stay currrent and accurate.


Publishers Weekly has a daily/weekly digest of news and information that you can subscribe to. Not only do you get information about the Children’s Market but they also report when certain key positions move or are changed within certain publishers. Check here for updates and to subscribe to the newsletter for free.


Harold Underdown has a page on his Purple Crayon site dedicated specifically to shifting positions and roles within publishing. Check here and bookmark this page to help you maintain your mailing list.


If you are an SCBWI member then you get the Monthly Bulletin/Magazine, The SCBWI Bulletin. In that monthly periodical there is a column called Publisher’s Corner that goes over changes within the Children’s Market including position changes and publisher news.

Twitter Chat with Penguin Art Director Giuseppe Castellano – RECAP


On Thursday February 21, 2013 from 3-4 pm EST Giuseppe Castellano  gave an impromptu Question/Answer hour on Twitter.

Giuseppe Castellano is an award-winning designer, illustrator, and Art Director at Penguin US, where he oversees the imprints of Grosset & Dunlap, PSS!, Warne, PYR, and Poptropica.

This Twitter chat was geared to allow burgeoning Illustrators to fling questions at him about anything they liked. He used the phrase #arttips as a way to organize the discussion and even managed to have the #1 trend on twitter for the duration of the discussion and quite a while after. His number of followers jumped from 600-900+ in the process as well! An amazing event for Illustrators and a milestone for Giuseppe in many ways.


After the event we recognized that there would be a need to have all the questions catalogued and put in one place to make them easier to browse and absorb. So here they are. Below you’ll find the questions organized into categories for your ease of consumption. If we missed anything let us know and we’ll be sure to add them in. Please note that some questions were redundant and we combined some answers when deemed necessary. Enjoy!


Question: How long does it take you to look at a postcard & file Artist in “Contact Now,” “Save for Later” or “Recycling”?
Answer: If I get a postcard I like, I file it in one of my neatly organized folders. It gets looked at repeatedly over time.

Question: Is it a good idea to send multiple cards to a single imprint if there are several ADs/Editors listed?
Answer: Yes. More eyes the merrier.

Question: When u file postcards, u have them organized by style? Age group? Theme? Wondering how easy to be found afterwards
Answer: Theme. But that only works for me. Someone else could do things differently.

Question: Should an illustrator send postcards to all the editors & ADs at a publisher? Or is that like postcard spam?
Answer: Postcards can go to the AD and editors of one imprint. The more eyes that see it the better.

Question: What is the single biggest mistake you see Illustrators make when submitting to you for consideration?
Answer: Single biggest mistake? Not doing research on the imprint. Waste of money if I get photography submissions.

Question: What character(s)/scenes/elements do you see too much in art subs, and what are you looking for most recently?
Answer: I see a lot in submissions. The ONLY reason I keep or trash anything is the quality of art. Subject matter means less.

Question: Is there a time of year that you’d tend to have more projects and it would be more beneficial to send postcards?
Answer: There is no down time (anymore). So, we’re always on the look out for artists.

Question: How effective are email submissions (if the imprints calls for both) vs postcards?
Answer: Emails vs. postcards: Send postcards, follow up with emails. They both get looked at, good or bad. Sending out postcards is still an excellent way to intro yourself. If I’m interested, I then go to your website.

Question: You’ve said postcard mailing should be about 3 times a year. How often for promo emails?
Answer: Promo emails… about the same. 3-5 times a year. It’s free, so you can do them more than postcards.

Question: Can you tell us the average number of postcards you get in a month? What percentage goes in the slush pile.
Answer: What slush pile? I get 10-15 cards a day, and look at every one of them. I trash most of them.

Question: What do you think of getting sequential postcards over time that tell a story?
Answer: Forget sequential postcards. I don’t have the time or brain capacity to keep it straight. That being said, I like the different art, I just won’t get the story in your postcards.


NOTE: Folks, regarding dummies, show a few color pieces and sketch out the rest. The sketches should be easy to see. Not chickenscratch.

Question: Are dummies for board books made the same way as picture books? Do you have a preference?  An editor recently told me that my work is good for board books and I’m very open to it. I’m just not sure where to begin! Any advice would be fab!
Answer: Dummies are the same for board & picture books. The quality of the dummy doesn’t matter (to me) if the art is good.

Question: Author/illustrators? How do you feel about packages?
Answer: It doesn’t work that well honestly. Very rarely are author/illo combos picked up (with us).

Question: What if the author/illustrator is the same person?
Answer: Author/illustrator same person? Better chances, don’t be surprised if they want another illustrator if they like the text.
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Terry Widener shares his process on creating You Never Heard of Willie Mays?


Award winning children’s book artist Terry Widener shares his process creating the  paintings for the children’s picture book biography, “You Never Heard of Willie Mays?” by Jonah Winters.  This series of videos was created for Mark Mitchell’s online course on Children’s Book Illustrations. Find out more about Terry here and more about Mark’s classes here.


Guest Post-Will Terry-Can Pinterest Help Your Art Get Better?

Original article here.

Well obviously I must think so or this would be a really short post right?

First let me just say that I’m like a lot of you – “NOT ANOTHER SOCIAL MEDIA SITE!!!” I know I know – but trust me – Pinterest is worth it…and you can get in and out quickly!

For starters lets deal with that title – what if I told you that there is a way to see how your art stacks up against your competition? What if you could be that fly on the wall in the office of an editor, art director, agent, or fellow artist? What if you could know what people really think of your work? I’ll show you a very simple way to use Pinterest to do just this.

1. Make your own Pinterest account BUT do it by logging in from Facebook or choose the setting so that every time you make a “PIN” it updates facebook – reason? – so people see your pins, visit your board, and re’pin your pins.

2. In the “search” bar at the top of the Pinterest page after you’re logged in – type in something like “illustration” or “Children’s illustration” or “characters” and hit enter.

3. Click on “boards”

4. Click on a piece of art that interests you – you might want to scroll a little – pick a goody! Ok – now pick five images to “re-pin” AND – pin them to your illustration board.  (I figured all this stuff out so if I can do it a snail can do it – sorry snails :( …make sure you REALLY like the images you’re re-pinning. These need to be images that you really admire and perhaps wish you’d created so be picky!  Also – if you don’t pin really good stuff people will ignore your board and that will kill this whole experiment.

5. Ok – now pin one of your own images and then over the next year repeat this ratio – a handful of other artist’s images to one of your own.  I suggest you pin from your website or blog so that if people click on them they come back to your portal – but that’s not what this post is about but you should still do it for marketing reasons. (There’s a way to download some thing-a-magiggy to your browser so you can “pin” from any site – I don’t remember how I got it to work – I think I googled “how to pin with Pinterest”)

6. Here’s a look at my illustration board on Pinterest. If you zoom in you can see how many times each image was “re-pinned” – and here in lies the magic! You get to see how many votes or “pins” each image gets including your own. In a way people are casting their votes in an impartial way – self serving! They see something they like and they re-pin it for themselves. This is more valuable than a critique from friends in some ways because it’s a rather large sample size and it’s honest. The people pinning don’t really know or care that you’re looking at the data this way -they’re just grabbing images for future consumption on their own boards.

So how can Pinterest help you improve your art? You can learn a lot by seeing what people like and don’t like. If you’re work isn’t getting re-pinned as much as the other work you pin you have some work to do – but not in the blind – because you can see exactly what images people respond to the most. You might want to make a list of the things the popular images have in common – then compare to your work. However, this could also be a little dangerous if you follow it too closely and copy what is getting votes – you could become a follower- you still have to innovate but in order to create great art you have to consume great art!

Pinterest is in my opinion a very valuable tool for inspiration, strategy, and marketing – I’m starting to get emails and messages from customers who are finding me on Pinterest – and I hear it’s the fastest growing website! so get pinning!

Schoolism interview with Disney and DreamWorks Visual Development Artist couple, Mike Yamada and Victoria Ying


Two of my favorite artists, married couple, Mike Yamada & Victoria Ying recently did an interview with Bobby Chiu from schoolism. They discuss how it is as a married couple working in the same industry at competing companies. Victoria at Disney and Mike at DreamWorks where they are visual development artists. They’ve contributed to movies such as How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph & Paperman. They also work together illustrating their own projects through their company, Extracurricular Activities. They discuss their recent kick starter program and how they ended up getting funded. Towards the end they talk about their process and what kind of artists each of them is and how they continue to work at there craft to keep growing.

Which format for your Children’s Book and Why


We posted recently about two different formats commonly used in children’s book publications;  self and separate ended. See the post here. This post led some readers to ask the question, “Why would a publisher choose one format over the other?”  My honest answer was, “I don’t know.”

Luckily,  I have the internet and a number of books I felt confident I could consult for answers! So I dove into my library and my favorite search engine… no avail! I could find plenty of definitions in regards to what the formats were, but very little on exactly why a publisher would prefer one over the other. Ladies and gentlemen we have a challenge!!!

So I took a different route and decided to mine the resources and connections I’ve been building on Facebook.

I’m in a number of  Children’s Book and Publishing groups for Writers and Illustrators. I knew that Art Directors frequent these groups and my hope was that if I posted my question in enough some knowledgeable sort would come to my rescue!

My knights in shining armor arrived speedily and with swords and shields shining!

This is how we posed the question:

We did an article a while ago on separate and self ended books. Since then we’ve gotten questions about why a publisher would choose one format over the other. In our research we have found that cost is a factor but so is tradition. Do any of you have any ideas as to why one format would be chosen over the other aside from what I’ve already listed? Seems like there should be more reasons than those. Thanks!

Children’s Book editor and writer  Harold Underdown was the first to respond.


Mr. Underdown is the writer of one of our essential read books, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Children’s Publishing (Available for purchase in our Library). He also has a website that is a wellspring of articles and insight into the Children’s Market called the Purple Crayon.  Be sure to drop by and investigate it.

Our conversation went as follows.

It depends on what you want to do with the book. Picture books are designed as cohesive wholes. If the illustrator, or art director, wants to include the endpapers as part of the design, and can justify the extra expense, then maybe they’ll be printed.

Thanks Harold. What would be considered a justifiable reason for the additional expense that could be argued? From what I understand even if they do print on the paper on the inside cover, the content still has to be fairly unimportant because libraries will be putting card sleeves, barcodes and stamps in those areas. Is the cost difference between the two formats really that large?

That in turn depends on who you break out the pages… If the interior of the book only needs 24 pages, you actually SAVE money by printing the endpaper. They are an added expense on a 32-page book, especially if you have art rather than a solid color–more art has to be done, scanned, printed.

You can plan your endpapers so the outer parts of the spread are not important, so the library issue isn’t significant.

You might want printed endpapers in all kinds of cases–if you have a visual flow that starts on the front cover, the endpapers could continue it. Or there could be a map. Or some kind of attractive pattern (especially on a 24-page book). Ideally, each book is unique and has its own plan.

The next to ride up on their steed was Emma Dryden!

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Wordless Masterpiece-Adam and Dog

Adam and Dog, another wordless masterpiece. An amazing story capturing the birth of the relationship between dog and man. Imaginative, Vivid and Gorgeous. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Winner of the 2012 Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject. Take a break and relax into this watercolor world created by Minkyu Lee.


Guest Post-Greg Newbold-To SI or Not to SI


We have a great guest post from Greg Newbold, an award winning Illustrator who has been featured by Communication Arts, Society of Illustrators, and Spectrum.

This post is timed perfectly as the announcement has been made that Expose’ is open for contest submissions. We get questions all the time in regards to whether or not to enter contest and what impact winning could have on our careers. Is the entry cost worth it? Greg runs through the Pros and Cons.

The first part of his post is featured here with the remaining portion featured on his own blog!  Be sure to let Greg know your thoughts.


This question was posed to me after showcasing images of my work being featured in the Society of Illustrators Gallery Show:

Do you recommend sending your work to these shows? Is it worth the expense?

The short answer is yes and yes. Juried shows such as those sponsored by the Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, Spectrum and 3×3 are long running showcases of the best art the illustration industry has to offer. They are tough to get into because they are very competitive and only what was deemed the best gets in, so acceptance really means something. From the beginning of my career, I have entered these types of shows and I can credit early acceptance in CA and the Society shows for jump starting my career. It seems that every time I get in one of these shows, I get at least one project that I would not have otherwise landed. People look to these annuals every year to see what is good of at least what the hot trends are. Lets take a look at the pros and cons of entering these types of juried shows.


  1. Exposure. Your work gets seen by thousands of people who may otherwise not have noticed your work. Art buyers, creative directors and designers across the country wait every year for these annuals. If you get in, your work will be seen, and in a way that is impossible to get by any other method.
  2. Credibility. Your work is grouped with the best art produced in that particular year. Your piece will be seen adjacent to some of the most respected artists in the industry, therefore, by association, YOU are one of the most respected artists in the industry. It doesn’t matter if you have been a professional for 2 years or 20, your work was good enough to get in and that carries with it weight and respect.
  3. Validation. Let’s be honest, No matter that most of us would do art even if we never won anything, it feels good when others recognize your work for the quality it displays. When we win awards such as these, we can’t help but feel vindicated and that in turn motivates us to push even further to improve even more.
  4. Cheap Advertising. This is a Catch 22 since if you don’t get your work in, you can feel like you wasted your money. But, if you DO get in, these annuals offer the cheapest exposure you can get. Full page spreads in a publication such as Communication Arts can cost thousands of dollars if you bought it yourself, but acceptance in an annual show can give you the same coverage for pennies on the dollar.

The cons and remaining portions of the post are located here.

Greg is also a contributor to the Folio Academy. (See banner over there on the right.) He has a video courses available called Conquer your acrylic demons. Follow the link to the right and check out the preview!

Conquer Your Acrylic Demons

Expose’ 11 Call for Entries now open!!


Ballistic Publishing is proud to announce EXPOSÉ 11, the eleventh edition of the premier annual artbook, which celebrates the creative talents of digital artists worldwide. These books sit in the collections of many top Game and Film studios – your next employer may be looking at your images in the near future!
Submissions Are Now Open!

Call For Entries – Ballistic Publishing is now calling on artists to submit digital images for consideration in EXPOSÉ 11.

We are interested in digitally-created fine art, whether it be 2D or 3D, for commercial use, or personal satisfaction.

As with all Ballistic Publishing showcase publications, artists with work published in EXPOSÉ 11 will receive a complimentary copy of the book and will enjoy worldwide exposure in the premier collection of digitally-created artwork to ever be published.

There is no entry cost nor limit to the amount of artwork you submit.


EXPOSÉ 11, Entry Deadline:
28 March 2013, Midnight GMT

For more contest details and submission information
follow this link.

Do not submit to us. We are just relaying the information to our readers. We are not running the contest!

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