First Look Illustration 2017


Do you want the chance to get an in-person critique of your work from an art director?

Then you’re in the right place!

This year for our “First Look” panel, Art Director Nikki Carmack (Peach Tree Publishing), and Illustrators Greg Swearingen and Hala Swearingen will be critiquing YOUR Middle Grade Novel cover at the Utah/Southern Idaho Illustrator’s Conference on February 18, 2017.

Submission guidelines:

Research: Look at as many middle grade novels as you can to see what types of  book covers are selling in today’s market (such as the covers seen above).

Illustration specifics: Illustrate one middle grade novel cover with at least one 12-13 year old and at least one animal. Leave space for the title and author’s name.

Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 8 inches with a 1/4 inch bleed all the way around. 1200 pixels on the longest side, 300 dpi.

File format: JPEG

File name: lastname_firstname.jpeg

Send to: Shawna Tenney at shawna(dot)tenney(at)gmail(dot)com.

Email subject line: First Look 2017

Due date: Turn in your illustration no later than midnight on February 12, 2017. Entries turned in later will not be accepted.

Questions? Email Shawna with any questions you might have about your “First Look” illustration entry.

Don’t forget to register for the conference! Registration information coming soon.

See you there!


Guides for Critiquing Picture Book Illustrations

The Utah/So.Idaho SCBWI is getting ready for our Great Critique on August 24th. Here is some information to help you critique picture book illustrations:

sketch book

sketch book

Critiquing picture book illustrations by Sherry Meidell

• What is your first impression of the art?

• How is their use of line and color?

• Are the faces and characters consistent throughout the book dummy?

• Do the illustrations show place? (where the characters dwell)

• Do the characters show emotion through face expressions and body language?

• Do the illustrations show a variety of vantage points?

• How is the composition? (Is the page designed nicely?) (Is an important part of the illustration hidden by the gutter?) (Is there a surprise with each page turn?)

• Do the illustrations create a mood?

• How is the pacing of the book? Is suspense created by the page turns? Do the book illustrations move from left to right unless there is a wanted impact?

• Does the illustrator have a distinctive voice? and style?

• Is it an original story? or an old story told in a new and original way?

• Do the illustrations add to and tell an additional story which grows from the words?

• Do the illustrations stray from any details that are described in the words?

• Are there words that can be cut out of the text because they are shown better in the illustrations?

•Do the pictures and story tug at some deep human emotion?