Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Illustrators’ Day: 2020 Vision

Date(s) - 03/28/2020
10:00 am - 3:00 pm


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Illustrators’ Day: 2020 Vision
What art directors are looking for in 2020, including diversity, and how to include these in your illustrations

Date – 3/28/2019
10:00 am – 3:00 pm

A recording of the event will be made available to participants for a two-week period afterwards.

Registration is open!

SCBWI Members: $85
SCBWI Student Members: $60

Non-Members: $135
Student Non-Members: $70

Only 25 spots available

If you are having trouble with registering, please let Teresa know. There have been some issues with the site. Thank you.


About Illustrators’ Day:

Originally slated to be held at the beautiful Oakhurst Home, Minnetrista, Muncie, Indiana, it will now be held as an online conference due to the threat of COVID-19. The bright side is that you get to participate in this terrific event in the comfort of your own home without having to travel anywhere.

Join Art Director extraordinaire Ellice Lee of Philomel Books as she talks about what art directors are looking for in 2020, diversity in the kid lit industry, and how to incorporate it in your illustrations.

The day will begin with a presentation by Ellice, followed by a short break, then an intensive where Ellice will give participants feedback on the assignment (see below) and attendees can ask questions.

AND!!! Participants will get to submit to Ellice after the event! (see below)



Faculty Bio:

Ellice Lee
 is the Art Director of Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, where she designs fiction and non-fiction picture books, board books and novels. She has worked with award-winning talent including Alexandra Boiger, Rafael Lopez, Loren Long, Le Uyen Pham, Christian Robinson, Kadir Nelson, Ed Young, and Floyd Cooper. Titles she has worked on have appeared on the New York Times best-seller lists (most recently, Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor and She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton), featured in New York magazine, TIME magazine and have won Caldecott honors, Coretta Scott King awards, as well as being a finalist for the National Book Award.



Assignment for Intensive:
Please complete this assignment and send a small jpg file (72 pixels/inch; under 100Kb) to Teresa Robeson at no later than noon Eastern Time on March 26th, 2020.

Illustration prompt: To be honest, I had no idea.”

Instructions: Interpret the above sentence however you like. Sketch your idea/vision out; it does not have to be a finished work of art. In fact it’s best if it isn’t a finished piece since we will be having a dialogue about it, per Ellice’s morning presentation and feedback during the intensive.

This mirrors how things are actually done in real life in the publishing world! You will gain experience and insight into the initial stages of collaborating on first sketches of a picture book text with an art director.

Materials: Create your sketch with any medium you prefer.



Exclusive Submission Opportunity:

Attendees will be able to submit to Ellice Lee after this event! Details will be given to participants right after Illustrators Day.



Special Exhibition Opportunity:

The wonderful folks at Minnetrista who were going to be hosting Illustrators Day before it had to be moved online are still going to give us free exhibition space, as previously planned, where attendees can display their artwork. If any art is for sale, Minnetrista will charge a 40% commission. They take payment from the patron through their shop and then send a check to the artist.

Since their facility is likely going to be closed due to COVID-19, we are thinking that we will re-schedule the showing for later in the year, perhaps July when there are big events planned and lots of people will be going to this venue.

We will update the website as we confirm things, and Illustrator Coordinator Teresa Robeson will also send attendees email updates.


Online Portfolio

We were originally going to have a lunch hour portfolio showcase when this event was to be held at a real location. Since we no longer have the showcase, if anyone wants to share their online portfolio, please email the link to Teresa Robeson by March 26th and she will add it to the handout (with submission information) to be given when the event is over.


Cancellation Policy & Trouble-Shooting

As you know, the spread of the CoronaVirus is causing a great deal of concern regarding travel for conferences and gatherings where people from different places are coming together. After consultation with SCBWI Headquarters, and in view of travel advisories and legitimate public fear and the need for social distancing, we have reached the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of public health to cancel, OR offer online options for, our conference. We are working out logistics to plan other options for the near future.

This event will be moved to an online Zoom venue. We will be refunding part of the tuition fees (as lunch is no longer provided); details forthcoming from Teresa Robeson. If you would like to cancel anyway, we will honor the request for this event.

If you made a hotel reservation, please contact the hotel to cancel.  Make sure you mention that you are cancelling because of the Coronavirus and the subsequent cancellation of our event.  Most hotels are adopting a liberal cancellation policy in light of the current situation.  

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If you encounter any problems during your registration process for this event or have any other questions, contact Teresa Robeson, or Diane Bradley-Kantor,, and we will be happy to assist you.