Illustrators' Day Wrap-Up

by Kristen Applebee

     Illustrator’s Day is a real treat for the non-writing members of Southern Breeze, because it focuses entirely on the craft and career of illustrating, hence the name: Illustrator’s Day.
     The learning actually started weeks before the September 2nd meeting, with a mentor assignment by illustrator, Michael Allen Austin. Michael took on the role of art director, emailing ideas on how to add emotion, action, or connectivity to rough sketches. I found this process immensely helpful.
     Mike Lowery, SCAD professor and illustrator gave the following advise to those who wish to become professional illustrators. 1. Keep a sketchbook. 2. Promote self. 3. Don’t compare yourself with other illustrators. 4. Don’t talk about your projects. Just do them! He recently illustrated the book, THE GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE IN THE SCHOOL, written by Laura Murray. She was there to discuss the process of illustration from the author’s point of view.
     Kristen Nobles, Art Director for Candlewick Press, taught that all children’s book illustrators should be professional, technically proficient, and do work appropriate for children. Besides having a unique style and an understanding of visual pacing, there must be an element of magic about the work, for publishing houses to really take notice.
     Robert Agis, Editor of Sterling Children’s Books, went through the basics of how work is acquired by a publishing house and the types of deals offered. He contrasted types of books from board books to interactive ebooks.
     Our speakers critiqued each attendee’s portfolio, which was very insightful. But the most gratifying part of the day for me was being with people who share my dream and love of children’s books.
The Portfolio Review with Kristen, Robert, Mike and Michael Austin...

Laura showing Mike's sketches, and Mike signing copies...

Kristen with some Candlewick titles, and Robert on stage...

Attendees listen intently to Robert's talk...

Robert with some attendees (including Kristen Applebee on the left - author of this article).

The mentor students with their projects. (Click to see larger.)
Your Illustrator Coordinators, Elizabeth and Kathleen...

Regional Advisor, Jo Kittinger, Kathleen, and Joe Davich of the Georgia Center for the Book (our tech hero)...

Our former Regional Advisor, Donna Bowman, and our current Regional Advisor, Claudia Pearson...


  1. I had a great time at this event and hope to attend more Southern Breeze events in the future!

    The link to see the mentorship photo larger isn't working... is there any way I could get a copy sent to me?

  2. Andi, I'm so glad you had a good time! And OOPS on the link! I've fixed it if you'd like to try again... :) e


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