Date: Fri, 03 Apr 1998 00:15:59 -0500
From: Wendy Christensen
Subject: illustration: Illustration Academy

Hello, fellow illustrators...

Several days ago, Theresa Brandon sent around a notice about the Illustration Academy.

If you can, please consider going. It will change your life! I attended three years ago (for a two-week session) and returned the next summer, thinking I would spend a month. I ended up having such a great time and learning so much I stayed for the entire two+ months. I did the best work I have ever done while there. Only one problem: I REALLY missed my cats!! Now, I realize that not everyone can work this into their schedules!

It is very intensive, informal and extremely hands-on. Guest instructors come in each week and give assignments, work side-by side with you, give talks, do demos, critique your work, help you out, etc. The instructors include Gary Kelley, Chris Payne, Anita Kunz, Mark English, John English, Jack Unruh, Bart Forbes, Fred Otnes, Skip Liepke, John Collier, Greg Spalenka and Brent Watkinson. Superstars all, and nicer and more helpful teachers cannot be found.

Of course, if you are an "older" person (older than nineteen, that is) you will have to adjust to working alongside some VERY talented teenagers! (Not to mention listening to the music they like, which will doubtless expand your mind. However, when I was there, old Bob Dylan songs had somehow become hip with the youngsters, and I got to explain all the early-sixties pop-culture references to them.)

So, go look at the website if you haven't, and think about it.

For reference, here is the original message.
The Illustration Academy will be held this summer on the William Jewell Campus in Liberty, Missouri. A one week lecture series (May 19 - May 24) and two four week studio programs (May 24 - June 19 and June 21 - July 17) are offered with up to 12 hours of college credit available. For more information call the Illustration Academy at 913-789-8878

-- It has been suggested that I was remiss in not detailing the costs of the Illustration Academy. So...

one-week lecture series - $950.
four-week studio program -- $2800.
eight week studio program -- $5200.
four-week session plus lecture series -- $3200.
eight week session plus lecture series -- $5600.
room and board (at William Jewell College dorm / cafeteria): $35.00 per day
college credit transfer fee -- $90. per credit
application fee -- $25. (not necessary for lecture-series-only attendees)

Date: Thu, 7 May 1998 05:53:58 -0600
From: "Debby Weitzel"
Subject: Re: illustration: Re: introductions

It's called the Publishing University, sponsored by the Publishers Marketing Association. If you have a fax, I can send you some information on it. Here's my email address at work, I can write you more about it when I get to work. All the information I have on it is there. It's a pretty intensive 3-day program, May 27-29. There are several classes or sessions to go to...I don't think it's too late to sign up but it does cost a little more after the April deadline. A hotel might be a little hard to find, it's right smack in the middle of downtown Chicago...I'm excited about it.

If anyone else wants to know, I can post the info to the entire list.


Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 19:04:22 EDT
Subject: Re: illustration: Children's Literature Festival

I haven't been to the festival, but I HAVE been on their website and got a list of posters that they have had for past festivals. You can order them for five dollars each (I got Trina Schart Hyman, Jerry Pinkney, Tomi DePalo, Leo and Diane Dillon and a gorgeous one that has owls done by various artists-each one FIVE dollars). They arrived carefully packaged and in just a few days from when I sent my check. I would love to check out the festival in person some day, I think it is a first class operation.


The URL is

I forgot to mention that the proceeds from the posters goes to maintaining and adding to the children's book collection there.


Date: Wed, 22 Jul 1998 18:56:02 +0100
From: Barry Smith
Subject: Re: illustration: Online Artist's Way

On the children's writing list there was a recent invitation to join the email list for "artist's way" and the the URL to subscribe was (I think I wrote it down correctly):


It's a list similar to this one, where we are studying the book "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron, subtitled "A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self." Here's the website which explains a lot about it:
try this too, for info on subscribing:

I learned about it from this list right before you joined, I believe. I had intended to just join for a week, didn't think I had I'm completely committed to finishing because I'm seeing results! You can email me privately if you need anymore info....

Karen :)

You'll find new material this month at The Slush Pile including Q&A's with Charles Jordan and Elizabeth Ring and a new article by Verla kay. Go to, then click "Click Here for Updates" on the left of the screen.

Here's some food for thought at the Communication Arts website:

Not all *good* news, but certainly interesting to read--

There is actually going to be a smaller conference in St. Charles MO (smack dab in the middle of good ole' USA!) on the weekend of Nov 7. They said they will be introducing a "mentoring program" that all who attends will be the first to know about. That will be a program that the illustrators that have experience will help, guide, advice.... the ones who are trying hard to enter in. I don't know much more about it...but, will after the first Illustrators support group meeting on August 18th. They are going to be meeting monthly...which I think is a super idea, and can't wait!

This is not considered a Nat'l...just a state with whomever, invited. The one illustrator that I know will be speaking is Cheryl Harness.


~Critter Creek Collaborators~

Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 15:21:05 -0400
From: "Paul R. Atkinson"
Subject: illustration: News from Connecticut

I just took a 5-day children's book illustration workshop with Raul Colon at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. He was excellent - such a nice, down-to-earth guy - and now I really feel motivated to do some new work, get a consistent look, and enhance my technique.

Katie Atkinson

Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 16:16:47 -0500
From: linda & karl
Subject: illustration: Kindling Words

I just found out I got into Kindling Words. Is anyone else here going? I am SO excited! Kindling Words is a retreat for authors, editors, designers, and illustrators of children's books. They call it a working weekend, where there are workshops and discussion groups, and skiiing, skating, and bonfires, too. It is in upstate NY. Their webpage is on Harold Underdown's site.

linda sw

Kindling Words A Winter Retreat for published authors, illustrators and children's book professionals

Next conference: January 15-17, 1999

Kindling Words is a weekend for professionals in the children's book world to meet with each other and share insights and experiences. Small, hands-on workshops, peer conferencing and whole group discussions give the weekend structure and variety. Both beginning and experienced authors and illustrators attend, some having published over a hundred books, some with their first galley in hand. But all are addressing similar questions:

- How do I market my books?
- What makes a great school visit?
- How much of my home office can I write off?
- What techniques do others use to balance their work time with their lives?
- How can I make a stellar web page?
- What are the secrets of writing a memorable acceptance speech?

Kindling Words allows time to get under the surface of our questions and realize the depth and complexity of our daily issues.

Kindling Words is built on a few basic premises:

1. We're all in this together. Kindling Words is about us, by us and for us. The weekend is completely not-for-profit. Volunteers plan, prepare and present the weekend.
2. No one is put on a pedestal this weekend. We're all involved in the same process. We honor each other's work, but we do not stand in awe of anyone coming to the weekend because of an award they've won or a success they've made.
3. At Kindling Words, when talking money, we talk real numbers. We leave politeness at home and we share the truth. We have discovered over the years that most of us make just about the same, and the news is comforting.
4. Kindling Words is a place to build support and generate powerful ideas to energize ourselves for the rest of the year. Therefore we speak honestly and thoughtfully of our own experiences without professional jealousy so that we all may be motivated by our combined successes.

Information is now available on our next conference, scheduled for the weekend of January 16th, 1999. This is not a conference that will be useful for beginners--if you are just getting started, we recommend that you join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and attend one of their many excellent conferences.

I saw this at Ispot:

Illustration Conference in Santa Fe, there will be a more formal announcement next week after our weekend meeting. An introductory mailer will be going out in January, so keep an eye out for it. However, the facts are:
Date: October 24-27
Place: Santa Fe, NM
Cost: Very affordable (details to come)

The program will be very issue and education based, exploring what we do as illustrators, addressing some of the problems in the business, and most importantly, what we can do about it. There will be terrific speakers, panel discussions, and plenty of opportunity to meet each other face to face as a community of creative people. This is a "first of its kind" conference being organized by a small group of individuals from around the country who only want to present a forum for discussion and solutions. Anyone with further questions should e mail me, or call me at 317 253 3141. Thanks, and we'll see you in Santa Fe!

Dave Lesh

Just a quick note to say that the planning meeting went well this weekend, and there are some definite things to pass on so everyone can make plans to be in Santa Fe for the first Illustration Conference. As I said earlier, the dates are October 24-27 in Santa Fe, NM. The conference will be held in the Eldorado Hotel where rooms will be available for a discounted rate for people attending the conference. There will also be a number of rooms available at close by hotels for those who wish to stay elsewhere. The fee for the conference will be $400 with a price of $375 for early registrants.

Flying into Albuquerque, NM is easy from anywhere, and there is a shuttle from the airport to Santa Fe, 35 minutes away. A formal press release will come this week, but the conference will focus on Stock and Royalty Free, Copyrights, Ethics, and Contractual matters, and how we can further protect ourselves, and how to reinvent illustration now and for the future. We are contacting speakers, panel discussion members, and moderators now, and I will post that information as soon as it is finalized. I want to remind everyone that this is a grass roots effort on the part of Gary Baseman, C.F. Payne, Brad Holland, Anne Telford (editor of CA magazine), JoAnn Miller (Showcase), Kolea Baker, Cathie Bleck, Richard Tuschman, and Joel Nakamura. This will be a wonderful opportunity to contribute to and learn from each other, and I hope you will all make plans to be there. Any questions, please contact me, and SPREAD THE WORD!

Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 10:01:26 -0800
From: Layne Jackson
Subject: illustration: re: ZDU online

Hello Lisa,
To your question about ZDU online--I've taken several classes, and found them to be helpful, if you don't try to read all of the student postings. I set my reader to 'teacher only' or something like that, and stayed with the lesson plan, and picked up quite a bit.

For self-starters (as most free-lancers are) there're pretty good. You have to purchase their books, which is what makes it profitable for them, but I also found the books to be good, and because you're often taking the class from the author, there's alot of additional information. And anyway, the price is right..

Take care

Well I'm not Lisa (sounds like a song :) but I have the URL:


Learn New Software...Climb the corporate ladder...Improve your skills!

With all of the courses and journals available, you can tailor this offer to meet your objectives. Choose from over 150 ZDU instructor-led, online courses and 50 self-study tutorials in a variety of subjects and levels of expertise. Supplement your courses with a year's subscription to one of over 25 titles from ZD Journals, each dedicated to keeping you up to date with timely, accurate, and innovative articles. Choose from titles including; Inside Photoshop, Inside Microsoft Windows 95, C++ Builder Developer's Journal, and more!

Date: Sun, 06 Dec 1998 11:01:43 -0400
Subject: illustration: Camp Slantville

I went to a camp last April for Bryce held at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico and it was great! Plus the added inspiration of that gorgeous locale wasn't bad either - walking in that gorgeous terrain that inspired O'Keeffe, Adams, Lawrence and so many others.. I shot 16 rolls of film there!

Ghost Ranch hosts all different groups year round and the simple facilities with cafeteria let us concentrate on our group activities. And have free time together to do lots of exploring. Also cool was one of the world's richest digs for dinosaurs is there, on the ranch. Got to meet the paleontologist and check out an as yet unnamed dinosaur that is fully intact, right down to the little scales on its skin. So cool!!

But, most importantly, spending a week with other like creative souls is a rare and precious experience not to be missed! I can't say enough about all the great and varied benefits.


Ghost Ranch Conference Center
HC 77 Box 11
Abiquiz, New Mexico 87510
(505) 685 - 4333


Subject: Re: illustration: re: Art School

I'm quite sure that any degree makes very little difference. It's all in the portfolio of work. I went to the Parson School of Design for one semester... and though it was really fun and I got to meet lots of incredible artists... I left after one semester. I didn't want to run up a fortune of debt, and while it was fun, I was not really learning much about what I wanted to do. Most of the classes were simply to render the nude figure.

No one ever asks if I have a degree in art... which is good cause I don't. I did get to meet lots of great artists... got to take Maurice Sendak's class and a class from Walter & Niad Einsel. Those were the days... In sum though, I'd have to say school was a bit of a dissappointment. No one can teach you to make art, no one but yourself... and the world of art at large. In fact, I'd think that these days an artist outside of the mainstream of traditional illustration may well have an advantage in being unique and original. Nobody really cares if you can draw anymore ... with proper attenuation to form and perspective. Publishers are just looking for something with some pizzaz... something new and different. I know an artist who can barely draw at all.... but is in high demand for the 'naive' quality of illustration the work posesses. I've wondered if I should try drawing with my 'left' hand... or maybe my left foot.


Gee John... I've sometimes wondered the same thing! And I agree with all that you wrote in your post! I'm also primarily self-taught having only taken a few basic freshman level courses in night school. Not having a degree hasn't gotten in my way in illustration jobs. I believe it's the determination and an overwhelming drive to DO ART and learn all you can learn, and improve your skills no matter what field of art it is. A college degree doesn't necessarily mean you've done any studying or any real learning or improved your art skills. Ultimately, it's your portfolio that does the talking.


In fact, alot of art schools don't teach skills anyway. In the sixties, the abstract expressionists kind of threw out the baby with the bath, I think. Now there are alot of art instructors that can't draw.

But I did recently go back and take some classes from professional illustrators that were really worth the time and money. But I can't imagine what kind of instruction could be worth $1600 a class.


I've always believed that you can't teach a person've got to have been born with it. You could go to school to develop it, sure....but artists who are self-taught are just as likely to be successful as those who've got that degree from Art School. (In my opinion at least.) I've had some classes in college, but most of what I do best (colored pencil and pastel work) is self-taught.

Although I'd love to take some more art classes....just to be in the creative environment that a class like that would provide, with like-minded people. :-) (Although that is what WE are here for, eh?)

- Diane

I'm definitely glad to hear y'all saying this. I think that, whatever talent you have, you develop it by *working* on it and not by being in a class. What I know that I have missed by not having training is the exposure to tools and techniques. I can see that school is a convenient way to get a lot of information and background. But I'm hoping to learn what I need to (maybe less efficiently) on my own - with books and also with shorter classes. And by just hanging around this list and Slantville, of course. :-)

jane (ark)

A degree in itself doesn't mean much, I am sure of it. And you definitely don't have to go to art school to be a great artist. But some terrific things about it is that you are surrounded by creativity 24 hours a day, you have other artistic minds around you to inspire and challenge you, and you can spend every minute of your day experimenting and messing up. At my school we were saturated with art and design all the time. We rarely had conversations with each other that were not art related, we rarely did anything that wasn't connected to a project. (A big outing was to go to the dump and look for inspiring pieces.) It was total hell, and I loved it. Sure I'll be in debt for the rest of my life, but I am grateful for the four years I had to do nothing but make art and be dreadfully self-involved.

One thing that is really hard to get outside of school is the constant critiquing of each others work. I think I learned more from my classmates than I did from my teachers in the long run. Which is why I am doubtful of long distance art courses.

And I think there is still something to be said for classical training, starting with the traditional nudes and all. It is just a starting point, and the human figure is just a tool to figure out for yourself how you draw. And from there you can go anywhere. Some of my classmates who are doing that super-primitive style now, did the most realistic figure drawings in school.


From: Heather Capelli
Subject: illustration: In Defense of Art School (long)

Hi all,

You are all right, almost no-one will ever ask ( or care) if you have that degree, it IS all about your portfolio.... However, I would HAVE no portfolio worth showing without my art school exp.

Like everything else, you get out of it what you put into it.

Honestly, I don't believe in talent. I believe that the desire to become an artist is what makes you one. Talent is just a name for alot of hard work, motivation, dedication, education, discipline, perseverance, and commitment ( oh, and probably a couple of other 3- 4 syllable words I can't think of right now).

When I started out looking for art schools, I was specifically looking for a school with a focus on teaching the human figure. It was hard to find (please don't say that no-one cares about good strong figure drawing skills anymore... I care deeply, for one. Figure drawing is the backbone of my portfolio, and is the reason I've gotten every art related job I've ever had.... ). If you can learn to draw the human figure well, you can learn to draw anything. The other cliche that I'm going to throw around is that you have to know the rules to break the rules... I was looking for a school to teach me the rules.

I finally chose the Academy of Art college in SF. The first day of classes, we all had to listen to a speech that went something like "Now, we know you're all used to being the best artist around, but now you're surrounded by 'best artists' so competition is going to be harder"...blah, blah, blah... It wasn't true for me. I'd always been kind of mediocre.

But I worked my butt off.... Art school taught me how. I learned discipline, and motivation. I learned how to develop a critical eye, and how to push myself.

I admire those of you out there that have the ability to be self taught, but I just didn't have it in me.

By the time I graduated, I was in the top of my classes. If you walked through the illustration department, at that time, you'd have seen at least one of my drawings up on every single wall.

If you look at my portfolio, you won't see talent... you'll see years of working and learning. That's what I earned when I earned that degree. I've never worked harder for anything in my life.

And it was hard. Almost all the money I had went into art supplies, tuition, and rent. I lived off of potatoes and coffee. Sometimes I didn't even have enough money for that. But It was worth it many times over. In some ways, I miss that kind of poverty. There was a kind of purity in the focus of my days at that time. Like Linda said, When you go to art school, you are really immersed in it.

I was really lucky in that I was surrounded by truly fantastic and motivated fellow art students. We learned more from each other than from most of our teachers. We watched each other grow and improve. We all tumbled out of art school together and in general, watch each other's backs and look out for each other, and that's an experience money can't buy.

I do think it's a shame that most art schools charge so much.... Most of that never makes it to the teachers, and I hate that. I used to sit through some dud classes thinking "this class is costing me $50 ( precious $$ at that time), and 3 hours of my life" and from what I hear, fee's have more than tripled since then ( the late '80s, early '90s). Even at 10 times the cost though, I'd do it again ( although, it might take me longer). I could go on, but I should probably stop with this. Spending those 4 years to get my illustration degree was the greatest thing I've ever done for myself. And it has paid off in more ways than I can count here. my 2 cents.

-Heather Capelli


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