The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Southern Breeze division, chaired by our good friend Elizabeth Dulemba, hosted a very informative and beneficial portfolio review and workshop today at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur. Check out Elizabeth's post on this event.
Lorraine Joyner (above), the art director at Peachtree Publishers, spoke about the promotional material she receives in the mail each month from illustrators; what grabs her attention and what doesn't, and why.
She went over the various forms of promos she receives; simple post cards, booklets, boxed sets of cards, even a cute wooden choo-choo train with the artist's images and web address painted on it. All that stuff is cute, and may save it from the round file, but in the end, either the work is something she can use or it isn't. Some of the most elaborate packaging, she says, contains some of the weakest work; in other words, don't try to hide bad art inside fancy packages... she'll sniff it out in no time. Also, she made it clear that there simply isn't any way to acknowledge receipt of your mailings, no matter how much she likes the work. You will hear from her when she can use you for a job, but not before. It sounds cold, but it's just business; if she replied to everyone who sent her promo materials, she'd never sleep, much less get any work done.
The portfolios were all lined up ready for her discerning review, and everyone was encouraged to look at each other's work before and after the review session. Happily (and rather proudly), most of the books were by our own extraordinary students at SCAD-Atlanta. Kudos to all of you who attended, as you presented yourselves VERY well and made us all look good.
Here are some of our stars; l to r: Matt Kelley, Katrin Wiehle, Ethan Mongin and April Brantner, taking it all in as Lorraine checks out another portfolio. Other Scaddites in attendance were Noodie Aysiri, Krystal Sanchez, Julia Berman, Goñi Montes, Heather Elder and Ferni Valazquez (forgive me if I left anyone out!). The reviews were open, meaning that everyone received the benefit of Lorraine's assessment as she looked at each portfolio.
A few heavy-hitters were in attendance admiring all the wonderful work. Lee and Bill Mayer and Mark Braught are looking at Katrin Wielhe's work, and they were very impressed by what they saw today from all of the SCAD participants. I came away with a sense of pride and a reaffirmation that we have some of the best students anywhere.
Here's a shot of the Pros in attendance: From the left are: Mark Braught, Bill Mayer, Yours Truly, Loraine Joyner, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Laura Knorr.
The SCBWI Portfolio Workshop will be an annual event, and the SCBWI and SCAD-Atlanta will be working together to make this even more accessible and more meaningful in the future. In the meantime, on behalf of the students and faculty at SCAD-Atlanta, I would like to thank Elizabeth Dulemba for inviting us to participate, and to Lorraine Joyner at Peachtree Publishers for providing such valuable feedback to our students. I'm really looking forward to next year!