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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