Thursday, October 23, 2008
Portfolio Critiques at SCBWI conferences
A new part of the Midsouth SCBWI conference this year was a poster contest for children's book art. The conference faculty (including an art director from Greenwillow, an editor from Abrams, and Harold Underdown) chose the one that they felt looked most like the cover of a children's book and mine won. How exciting is that!
If I had used a piece of artwork that I had in my portfolio last year at this time, I don't think I would've won. This past year I've grown a lot in my art, and I contribute the starting point of that growth to portfolio critiques from a number of art directors at SCBWI conferences this past year. Each critique pointed out small changes I should make to bring my art to a new level.
There were a lot of beautiful illustrations at the conference this year. Those of us who had attended last year's conference and had met with the Art Director, Laurent Linn, have greatly improved our portfolios based on his articulate suggestions. I think it's so important to get your portfolio critiqued by Art Directors as often as you can.
It's easy for illustrators to stay so stuck in the same way of drawing and painting and composing scenes just because they've sold some artwork. I want to grow as an artist. I want my newest work to always be my best work - but that takes being open to suggestions from others, especially Art Directors, and not getting defensive about my work. Then putting in a lot of hard work to implement those changes. When you look over your portfolio, do you have old pieces in there because they're better or the same quality as your newest work? Are you always striving to bring your artwork up to a new level?