Friday, June 5, 2009

NJ SCBWI Conference: Day 1: Illustrator's Intensive Workshop with Tim Gillner

Today was a very fun filled day as I arrived on the Princeton Theological Seminary Campus this rainy morning for our illustrator's intensive workshop. I finally was able to officially meet two members from my critique group, wonderful ladies Penny Weber and Deb Cuneo. We split off into 2 groups of 10 for our critique. I was in Tim Gillner's group of Boyds Mill Press. Everyone brought with them a preassigned illustration in which we were given the opportunity to submit a sketch to the art director and have him make comments before bringing in the final art to the conference. I chose the story Piggy Wiglet, a manuscript about a little piggy who decides he is going to leave his pen, go out the barn, and into the city in an attempt to catch the sun. This is my first sketch for submission.
Afterwards I received these comments from Tim:
" Hi Christina,
Nice sketch,
I love the expressions on the cows. I am having a problem with the goose. It seems to be lost up there and it seems to be too far away from the text. I am not sure what to do here. Here are a couple thoughts which may or may not work.
1. Move the barn to the left into the valley to isolate the goose and move the piggy a little to the right.
2. See attached PDF. I just moved these around. you may have to change position and direction. This is just to give you an idea. ------------->

3. Leave as is.
You can do another sketch and send it to me or just make the correction when you do the final. It is up to you.


After reviewing these comments I then went along to the final deciding to take his advice from the PDF he had played around with.

It was finally my turn for a critique as I waited with anticipation second from last. Tim said "that it actually turned out a lot better than I thought it was going to be from the sketch" in which I responded "Thanks......I think". I smiled though because I knew this was a good thing for my finished piece! The grass may be too dark Tim said but can easily be fixed in photoshop. A few fellow illustrators also commented that perhaps I can add in a grass hill at the bottom of the barn to give it more of a rolling hills feel. Also a nice suggestion was that perhaps if the cows back is continued to the edge than it would take away that negative space in the upper left corner and, in turn drag your eye closer to the pig. (You can cover the upper left corner with your thumb and squint one eye to understand what I mean.)

I also learned some very valuable information such as it is always a good question to ask a publisher if your book will be using "perfect binding" in which they glue the spine of your book and you actually lose 3/16 " so it is wise in this case to add more illustration room to the gutter. Additionally, interactive websites are not always a good idea since the art director wants to just get to your work as soon as possible since their time is precious. This also includes seperating your portfolio into educational, picture book, and advertising categories so they can use their time more efficiently to see the types of portfolio pieces they would be interested in. Also the Highlights Foundation offers two workshops for illustrators in which you can apply for a scholarship to attend!

I then had a lovely lunch and was able to sit with a number of illustrators from critique group and was also able to have a little group chat with Scott Piehl of Disney's Group for Young Readers. I was also able to see my good college friend and fellow illustrator Olga Levitskiy.

The rest of the day was packed with wonderful presentations and inspirational speeches by Newbury Award Winner Richard Peck and award winning illustrator of 48 picture books E.B. Lewis. He explained when an artist struggles to find their voice and said "the artist is never supposed to be aware of their style- someone else comes in and recognizes the work. We are just producing." He also explained the difference between an illustrator and a fine artist. He said, " the illustrator is solving someone else's problem and a fine artist is solving a philosophical question for themself." I also admired his remark that "artists are the critical thinkers of society."

Overall is an informative, fun filled day and I can't wait to go back and see what's in store for tomorrow!

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Hey!! i love the final piece! It has great texture and color! Glad you had such a good time at the conference.

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