The post below was originally distributed on the Creative Consumption Blog by the Continuing Studies Dept at the University of the Arts. I'm reposting it here for fun. My work is up in their building on Broad Street in Philly if you're interested in checking it out.
In March of 2011, I was lucky enough to receive a Faculty Enrichment Grant from the Continuing Studies Department at UArts, where I was teaching screenprinting. My plan was to use the money from the grant to attend the SCBWI Conference in LA, and use what I learned there to develop a course for illustrators who aspire to work in the children’s publishing market. Having attended the previous SCBWI conference in New York in January 2011, I knew that the panels and workshops at the SCBWI Summer Conference would build on my knowledge of what art reps, literary agents, editors and art directors are looking for in a solid portfolio.
I was fortunate in my second ever conference experience in that I won an award for my portfolio in the Annual Illustrator’s Showcase (this was my second Portfolio award, as I also won a Portfolio Honor Award at the SCBWI Winter Conference back in January) and I attended many sessions about what should be in a portfolio to make your work stand out.
One of the main things everyone looks for is a sense of narrative. These drawings are presumably for books after all, so a portfolio should showcase characters in a narrative; the same characters over multiple pages, doing different things, etc. Another thing you definitely need is kids! This seems obvious, but I was stunned at how few portfolios had drawings of children. You need them!
The sessions were great, and it was very helpful to meet other working illustrators, editors and art directors to hear what they thought about the work, and what aspiring illustrators should be doing to get their work out there.
This past fall I taught my first section of “Children’s Book Illustration Portfolio Development” for Continuing Education and the class was a big success! The class size was very small, only four students, and I was able to focus on each student’s unique goals. Each student came out of the class with four finished portfolio pieces, including an edition of postcards to be mailed out in order to promote their newly revamped portfolios.
Many thanks to the Continuing Studies Department for making these Faculty Enrichment Grants available – it was certainly an enriching experience.
All images copyright Greg Pizzoli 2012.
Greg Pizzoli’s screenprints will be on view through the month of June.
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