“Book Covers Catch the Art Directors Eye”

2017 SCBWI Utah Southern Idaho
Illustrator’s Conference
Any questions? email sherry@sherrymeidell.com

Click HERE to Register.

Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI Illustration Conference
“Book Covers – Catch the Art Directors Eye”
February 18th, 2017 at the Sons of the Utah Pioneers Building, 3301 East 2920 South,. Salt Lake City, Utah

8:30 – 9:00 dried bread and water, networking, set up portfolios ($5.00 for portfolio display bring cash  if you want to participate) and grab a seat
9:00 – Welcome and announcements
9:15 – Nicki Carmack, Creative Director Peachtree Publishers in Atlanta Georgia.
10:15 – Greg Swearingen & Hala Wittwer Swearingen:
“Practical Strategies for Making Great Images Happen on a Deadline”
Their topics will include:  generating ideas, composition strategies, reference gathering, and simplifying rendering.

12:15 – lunch: hot bowl of soup and water (local art directors check out portfolios and have a bowl of soup)
1:15 – Nicki Carmack, Greg Swearingen and Hala Wittwer
First Look Critique of middle grade novel covers from us illustrators
2:15 –  Illustrator to Illustrator
2:45 – 3:30 Panel: Nicki Carmack, Greg Swearingen and Hala Wittwer Swearingen

Nicki Carmack Creative Director from Peachtree Publishers will be doing a limited number of 10 minute Portfolio reviews. The fee is $45.00 Email sherry@sherrymeidell.com to get info on paying and signing up for the Portfolio reviews.

There will be a Portfolio display again this year. Notify Manelle Olipant at illustration@manelleoliphant.com if you have any questions and bring $5.00 the day of the conference to participate. The portfolios will be viewed by local art directors and Nicki Carmack from Peachtree. You need to be registered for the conference to participate in the Portfolio Display.

(Portfolios should be no larger than 11 x 14, bound portfolios with 15 images max -no original art-one set of contact information card such as postcard or business card) No digital portfolios. You can attach one or two book dummies to the portfolio attached with a string.
If you have published books they can be displayed on our published books table.

Go to http://utahsouthidaho.scbwi.org to register – go down to upcoming events and click on Illustrators Conference. That will take you to the registration page.
Early Bird Prices Register before January 23, 2016:
SCBWI Members: $60.00
Students: $65.00
General Public $75.00
Portfolio Display $5.00 (bring cash the day of the conference)
Register after January 15, 2015
SCBWI Members $70.00
Students: $75.00
General Public $85.00
Portfolio Display $5.00 (bring cash the day of the conference)


Nicki Carmack

Nicki Carmack graduated from the University of Brighton, England with a degree in Visual Communications in 1987.

Her design career started in the field of financial marketing, but she soon discovered a love for book design, and worked for Dorling Kindersley in London.

In 1992 Nicki moved to the United States and returned to the financial industry as a senior graphic designer, and ultimately creative director for Harland Clarke. However, she still loved the creative process of publishing design, and discovered Peachtree Publishers in Atlanta. Nicki worked as a contract designer for Peachtree for some a number of years, and was taken on as creative director when she left her corporate role in 2012. Her responsibilities include creative development of everything from picture books to young adult titles, advertising, marketing collateral, catalogs and tradeshow graphics.”


Greg Swearingen, Illustrator
Greg Swearingen has been illustrating professionally since 1998. He has created book covers for Harper Collins, Scholastic, Random House, and Disney Press among others. His work has received awards from Communication Arts and he has been awarded medals from Spectrum, SILA, and Society of Illustrators New York. www.gregswearingen.com


Hala Wittwer Swearingen, Illustrator

Hala Wittwer Swearingen (MFA Art Institute of Boston) joined the SUU illustration faculty after six years of teaching graduate and undergraduate illustration at California State University Fullerton. She is the illustrator of Dragon Egg by Mallory Loehr and Meow by Jane Yolen. Her work has been recognized in Spectrum and Society of Illustrators New York. She has received awards from SILA, Communication Arts, and the Hiii Illustration Annual China.




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!

Get Ready 2017 Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI Illustrator’s Conference


The Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI Illustrator’s Conference is coming up. Mark your calendars now.

More information coming.

Three Internet Sensations The 2016 SCBWI Utah Southern Idaho Illustrator’s Conference

Sensation #1: You get to hear about some people before you meet them in person. They have a presence on the web. Giuseppe Castellano the art director from Penguin Random House does a good job on social media. He also did a great job presenting. He talked about putting your personality into your art and gave information to help us raise the quality of our illustrations. He also gave great advice on web sites and getting your art out there. He was introduced by Shawna Tenney who had previously interviewed Giuseppe on the Oatley Academy podcast, Stories Unbound.


The illustrator’s at the Utah Southern Idaho SCBWI 2016 Illustrator’s Conference

Sensation #2 and #3: Will Terry and Jake Parker presented together with some friendly banter back and forth. They talked about four ways to improve your art. The good thing about Will’s presentation was the visual examples he used to really show what he was talking about. He taught in such a way that you really got it.

Jake Parker put his money where his mouth was. He put us all on snap chat before he started his presentation. Jake has come up with some of the most ingenious ways to use social media. He demonstrated how he does thumbnails and drew a double spread from prompts from the audience. It was great to see his thought process and principles of art as he created the spread.


Giuseppe Castellano, Will Terry and Jake Parker during First Look

Giuseppe, Will and Jake participated in critiquing first look. You could see your art flash on the screen and get their first impressions of your art. You learned not only from your own critique but also from the others put up front.

We were excited to have Bob Cross from Gibb Smith, Margaret Weber from Covenant Communications Mckelle G. from Jolly Fish Press and Richard Ericksen and his wife Gorgeous from Shadow Mountain attend and take a look at the portfolios. There were chances to visit with the other illustrators who attended. There were also chances to ask questions of the presenters. I had things that I needed reminding of and learned things that will improve my illustrations.


Checking out the portfolios

It is great for us illustrators to get out of our studios and get around others who are working and creating art. It helps to improve not only our art work but the ways we work. A big thank you to the illustrating committee, Manelle Oliphant, Jennifer Eichelberger and Shawna Tenney, our presenters and to all the illustrators who joined us for the day. Keep on creating.

Giuseppe Castellano (@pinocastellano) Twitter

Will Terry http://www.willterry.com

Jake Parker mrjakeparker.com (Twitter)

The 2016 Utah Southern Idaho SCBWI Illustrators Conference

Save the date!

Save the date!

Illustrators, save the date for this conference. It is going to be a great conference with information that will improve your illustration and promotion abilities.

Save the Date for the Utah/So.Idaho SCBWI Illustrators Conference.

We are delighted with the illustrators and art director presenting at the upcoming Illustrator’s Conference February 21, 2015.  Registration opens December 8, 2014. Early bird price ends January 23rd, 2015. If you have any questions, you can email Sherry Meidell: sherry@sherrymeidell.com It’s going to be another great conference. Lunch will be provided in the form of Hot Soups. See you all there.

Art work by Shawna Tenney

Art work by Shawna Tenney


Kristine Brogno Chronicle Books

Utah/So.Idaho SCBWI

Mark Pett

Guy Francis

Shawna Tenney

Great Opportunity for Illustrators

Illustration by Sherry Meidell

Illustration by Sherry Meidell


Here is some information from the Nevada SCBWI. It might be a great opportunity for Illustrators. Check out the illustrations of, E. B. Lewis, David Diaz and Jim Averbeck. See if you think you would like to apply for one of them to be your mentor. The details are below:

The Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program Is Accepting Applications until June 1

Imagine what you could learn from a Caldecott-winning illustrator, a #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, or a million-selling middle-grade series author. The Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work with a successful children’s author or illustrator dedicated to helping you improve your current work in progress.

Nevada SCBWI handpicks its mentors for their creative talents, but also because they are gifted teachers who want to share their knowledge with up-and-coming writers and artists. Our mentors often speak at conferences and workshops, but this is a unique chance to get to know them personally as they focus on you and your project.

We are proud to announce our outstanding mentors for 2013!

·        Jim Averbeck, Zolotow award–winning author/illustrator

·        David Diaz, winner of a Caldecott Medal and illustrator of a Newbery Honor book

·        E. B. Lewis, winner of a Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award

·        Tera Lynn Childs, YA novelist

·        Ellen Hopkins, bestselling and award-winning YA novelist

·        Elizabeth Law, former children’s publisher at Egmont and Simon & Schuster

·        Terri Farley, middle-grade and YA novelist, author of the million-selling Phantom Stallion series

·        Suzanne Morgan Williams, award-winning middle-grade novelist and nonfiction author

·       Susan Hart Lindquist, novelist, writing instructor, and frequent conference presenter

·        Jenny MacKay, children’s nonfiction author

The Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program includes six months of one-on-one mentorship to accomplish one full revision of your work in progress (a novel, a longer nonfiction work, three picture book manuscripts, or an illustrator portfolio). You will also be a guest at two very special retreat weekends, one at Lake Tahoe and one at historic Virginia City, where you will meet and network with all of our mentors, plus fellow writers and illustrators who may become lifelong friends during the course of this program.

The process is simple:

1. Check out our list of mentors.

2. Pick your top two choices.

3. Send in your writing or illustration sample and an application (find it at http://www.nevadascbwi.org) before the June 1 deadline.

In our anonymous application process, mentors carefully consider the merits of every work sample they receive before making their final choices.

You have nothing to lose by applying! Seize this special chance to further your career by learning from an accomplished children’s author or illustrator.

Go to http://www.nevadascbwi.org to learn more!

Previous Older Entries