Getting Started in Illustration


I hesitate to say to someone just Go for it!, but that's what I did.

Quit my job and started my own company with $2000 in the bank! I had a couple of graphic art customers who followed me and gave me work. I used them to stay alive while I built my portfolio. Took me about 6 months before I was ready to send out. I sent out my work and it took another 6 months before I got my first job. January, last year, was my first real illustration job. So, now it's a year of illustration for me! This year has been take whatever comes your way year! As most of you know, I literally did that! I'm overworked but gaining tons of knowledge and developing my skills. As the year began to end, I had to start turning away work. What a wonderful feeling! However, I'm still faced with high credit card bills and carrying on a balancing act with finances. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am able now to support myself on my illustrations work. This coming year, I hope to work myself out of debt.


Date: Thu, 9 Apr 1998 18:31:56 EDT
From: Holub j
Subject: illustration: picture books, etc

Regarding how to get picture book work: I got my first children's illustration work for magazines and just kept building a portfolio and mailing out photocopied samples. The post office must love me by now. (Or maybe they hate me for mailing so much stuff and making work for them!) I eventually began to get book work, but it seemed like it took forever. I still submit art samples and research the market all the time to see who is publishing in a new area or who is looking for new artists. I get 5-6 newsletters; belong to SCBWI and IRA (international reading assoc); and go to conferences.

Joan Holub, Children's Book Author Illustrator

This can be a great job when it all falls into place! This by way of encouragement to those currently struggling! Hang on in there, in about five years time it may be paying like a "regular job"

Paul ;^)

Paul Shorrock, Illustrator.
London, England.

Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 21:53:10 +0000
From: Miron Iosilevich
Subject: Re: illustration: Katie -Children's Publishing Biz

After I graduated from SU I send about 50 envelopes to different publishers, with more then 50% responses. Some of them were the usual "will keep on file", others wanted me to come to NYC to show my portfolio. I have never send them any SASE. My first trip to NYC brought 2 contracts and I have 4 published books and 3 in progress. I think I have been doing well, so I would like to offer some advice if I may. I believe one of the keys here is good research before you send out the samples. Find out as much as you can about each publisher, what their needs are and how your style fits in what they are already doing. I have always used the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market and found it very useful for this purpose(they printed an interview with me in the last years issue in the section First Books in case you want to take a look) You will find a lot of good advice from professionals and info about publishers in that book. Sending out copies really works, it is not the method I think that matters but your portfolio and whether you show your work to the right people. The fact that you are showing your work already means a lot. I have this very talented friend of mine who is so afraid of rejection she just would not send out samples no matter how great they are.

Good luck to you and never, never give up!

warm wishes from Katya

The 1999 Ellen Dolan Missouri SCBWI Mentorship for Illustrators

This mentorship is open to any current Missouri SCBWI member, full or associate. The winner selected by our panel of judges, will work with Deborah Zemke for one year. Deborah will help the winner to produce a maketable portfolio or picture book dummy and is not responsible for helping the winner to market their work, either with an art director or an artists representative.

Deborah Zemke has illustrated over twenty books for children and adults. Publishers include Workman Publishing, Houghton Mifflin, Pocket Books, Andrews & McMeel, Barron's Educational Series, and Richard Owen. She is a frequent contributor to Ranger Rick and School & Community magazines, the designer of three fonts licensed by International Typeface Corporation.

*If there's anyone else on the list that is a Missouri resident, I'd be glad to email the submission info to you seperately. Just let me know!

Phyllis Harris

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