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!


Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI Illustration Conference “Do the Work” 

Art work by Shawna Tenney

Art work by Shawna Tenney


Register by January 23rd, 2015 to catch the Early Bird Price

Go to to register – go down to upcoming events and click on Illustrators Conference. That will take you to the registration page.


Utah/Southern Idaho SCBWI Illustration Conference
“Do the Work” 
February 21st 2015 at the Sons of the Utah Pioneers Building, 33001 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
9:15 – Mark Pett“How I Get from Blank Page to Bookshelves.”  “We’ll cover everything from brainstorming ideas, pitching to my agent, making a dummy, selling to a publisher, and finishing the book!”

10:15 – Kristine Brogno, Art Director from Chronicle Books:

Words + Pictures/Pictures + Words: What’s the Difference?
Picture books are the perfect marriage of text and art, but sometimes you need more of one and less of the other to make the book as strong as it can be. We’ll look at examples of picture books and picture book design where text and image play off each other successfully and talk about why they work so well.

11:15 – Guy Francis: Title to Come

12:15 – lunch: hot bowl of soup and water (local art directors check out portfolios and have a bowl of soup)
1:15 – Kristine Brogno, Mark Pett, & Guy Francis
First Look Critique
2:15 – Sketching Children from life, bring your sketch book & pencil or pen.
3:10 – 3:30 Panel: Questions from the audience

Kristine Brogno Art Director Chronicle Books

Kristine Brogno Art Director Chronicle Books

Featuring Guest Speakers:

Kristine Brogno
Children’s Design Director, Chronicle Books
Kristine Brogno is an award-winning art director and designer and is currently the Design Director of Children’s Publishing at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She’s had the great honor of working with a broad range of children’s artists — from first-time book illustrators to seasoned veterans, including Carolyn Conahan, Ward Jenkins, Calef Brown, Tom Lichtenheld, Andy Rash, Melissa Sweet, Jen Corace and Meilo So, among many others. When she’s not reviewing sketches and looking for the perfect typeface, you can find her exploring the Bay Area and beyond with her two sons.


Mark Pett

Mark Pett

Mark Pett Illustrator & Writer

Mark Pett


Mark Pett:  



Writer and illustrator Mark Pett makes books. He is the “authorstrator” of The Boy and the Airplane, The Girl and the Bicycle, and The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, as well as the forthcoming Lizard from the Park. Before books, he created the syndicated comic strips Mr. Lowe and Lucky Cow. Mark lives in the Mountain West. 



Guy Francis

Guy Francis

Guy Francis Art

Guy Francis Art


Guy Francis
Guy began illustrating at the age of 9. His first projects included his 4th grade bulletin board and numerous cartoon characters commissioned by his friends for 25¢. It wasn’t until high school that Guy realized a person could make a living being an artist, and while attending Brigham Young University, he got his first children’s picture book job illustrating Showdown at Slickrock by Pat Bagley. Since then he has published a variety of work including book covers, children’s games, early chapter books and picture books. He is thrilled to be making a living doing what he loves.

Display your portfolio for Local Art Directors and Kristine Brogno (additional $5 fee to participate. Bring cash the day of conference.)
(no original art – 10 – 15 illustrations in bound portfolio – one set of postcards for art directors to take)
If you have published books they can be displayed on our published books table.

Register by January 23rd, 2015 to catch the Early Bird Price
Go to 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, 2015:

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)

To participate in the First Look Critique, after you register, send a jpeg file of your illustration to  Because of time constraints  we may not be able to critique everyones art but we will try our best.

In Subject line put: SCBWI First Look Art
1. File format: .jpg files (no exceptions)
2. Resolution must be 300 dpi
3. Image size must be set so the longest dimension is 1200 pixels.
4. Each image file must be named as follows: scbwi, your last name, painting number (1, 2, ) .jpg extension.
Example: scbwi Sherry Meidell, 1st entry, “ghost train” would be: scbwimeidell1.jpg
5. Attach the image(s) to an email and send them to
Come join us for a great day of illustrator comradery, networking and learning from some expert illustrators and our art director. Questions? email Sherry Meidell, Utah Southern Idaho SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator at

(Illustrator Volunteers: Shawna Tenney, Manelle Oliphant and Jennifer Eichelberger)

Utah Southern Idaho SCBWI:

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators:

Chronicle Books

Mark Pett

Guy Francis

Shawna Tenney

Manelle Oliphant

Jennifer Eichelberger:

Sherry Meidell