I recently attended an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Conference in Austin, where I had the opportunity to receive a portfolio review from Kristen Nobles, the art director of Candlewick Publishing.
I spent a month preparing my portfolio. SCBWI has size restrictions on the portfolios, which I only just discovered a few days before the end. So my fancy 11″ x 17″ Pina Zangaro screw post portfolio was out of the running, thankfully a nearby hobby store had a simple 12″ x 12″ black screw post scrapbook albums I could use instead.
I like the screw post format because the final portfolio looks similar to a bound book. I avoid using sleeves because of the light glare that comes off the plastic and just inserts my printed pages directly into the album.
I was thrown for a loop when it was review time. In my previous portfolio review experiences the art directors have looked through my portfolio and then given me their opinion afterward, however, Kristen asked me to flip through it and tell her about the images.
Lesson learned: Be prepared to speak about your illustrations and story is key, illustrations that have a story resonate more.
The piece that resonated with her the most was The African Unicorn because of the story it comes with. We all connect to stories, so having a story behind your artwork beyond “it looks pretty!” can really help to set the artwork apart.
I invite you to a look through the portfolio I showed at the conference, simply click the arrows on the left and right on top of the images to flip through.
Thank you for your time and I hope you found this helpful.