SCBWI Portfolio Display


Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 01:11:55 EDT
Subject: illustration: Re: SCBWI Portfolio Display


It is official. If you are interested, you may be able to participate in the Portfolio Display on August 1st, even if you cannot be there physically. However, please note these requirements...

1. You must have a trusted/loyal/responsible friend who IS attending the conference (even for half day) bring your portfolio along to and from the Display. This person will be responsible to drop off as well as pick up your portfolio when necessary.

2. The fee is $55.

3. Please call the National SCBWI office at (310) 859-9887 and make them aware of your participation, as well as make arrangements for the half-day payment.

Specifically for the PORTFOLIO DISPLAY, illustrators will be only "dropping-off" and "picking-up" their portfolios & samples at a designated place and time. Myself and my committee will be handling the sign-in,set-up and break-down of the Display. The handouts/art samples that each illustrator should provide, will be placed alongside their portfolio/samples and made available to our guests. This event is a closed Display.

The portfolio can be either real leather or vinyl, just so it is neatly organized with one's BEST work. If you have a real leather one, I'd recommend using it. Please remember if bringing book dummies along, to "attach" them somehow to your portfolio. Ribbon, perhaps?

As far as AD being able to contact artists during the conference, that may or may not be possible, as most of the 210 invitations that went out were specifically and only for the Display on Saturday evening. We will, however, have an "Illustration Bulletin Board" where one can post notes to artists.

Remember that along with AD and editors, educational publishers, greeting card & giftware people, some record label companies, agents and licensers have been invited!

The Portfolio Display will be held during the National Conference in CA, August 1-4. The PD is scheduled for Saturday, Aug 1st from 6:00pm - 7:30pm. This will be an "unmanned" event, meaning illustrators will not be setting up or manning their tables/displays. Myself and my committee will be supervising that.

Only invited guests will be admitted in - which include 210+ AD, editors, educational publishers, greeting card, giftware companies, agents, etc. (Even some record label people)...all art buyers.

You need not be a member of SCBWI to participate, however, one must be enrolled in the conference, whether for the full four days, or at the very minimum a "half-day" which will cost you $55. That fee is for the conference.

No fee is required to participate in the PD.

The portfolios must be brought in personally - at least for this year, we cannot take responsibility for any portfolios MAILED in. Not staffed for that yet. Sorry.

It is highly recommended that portfolios are (you all know this) neat, organized and showing only your best work (as opposed to everything one has had published) and that you bring along 50-75 promo sheets/postcards with your art samples to be made available to our guests. That will be the only feedback illustrators will receive.

If I can help clarify more, I'd be happy to! I want this to be a successful (for both the art buyers and us, the illustrators!) event - one of many more.

Over 100 illustrators participated in the Display, quite a few from this list (what a great bunch of people they are!). The portfolios were for the most part very professional, well done, and great samples as well.

I sent out over 200 invitations, and just about 30 came. Now, one can be disappointed, thinking it was not successful, however, I prefer to see it as 30 potential art buyers saw each illustrator's portfolio. The guests at the Display commented positively on it being "unmanned". This is something I'd like to address here, among you all;

Due to some offhand and negative questions and comments I "collected" throughout the conference, I'd like to clarify my reasons for keeping this Display unmanned by the illustrator participants. Bringing in the "right" folks to see our portfolios means having to think hard on what would make it the most beneficial to all. After the last two years of "Art Displays" at National Conferences, it was very clear that art buyers aren't all that comfortable perusing through a room filled with artists and their work ~ when the ultimate goal is to find new talent.

The main purpose of the Display was to give our guests a quiet, peaceful and uninterrupted time of looking at portfolios and art samples without having to converse with anyone. During the Display, it was obvious that the guests took it seriously, and were able to relax and focus on the portfolios displayed.

Obviously, if a guest discovered a talent they'd like to take on, they had the samples to take with them , and contact the illustrator at a later ~ and more convenient ~ time. I want to encourage you all that once your work is seen, the response may be immediate or it may be down the road a few months, depending on the need of the art buyer.

The feedback and responses from the guests have been very positive. So, please take to heart that this was done with the greatest intentions of having your work seen in the most professional manner possible during the conference. The article in the L.A. Times was a great boost for illustrators, and I am very grateful to Therese Lee for writing it in such a positive way. Priscilla Burris

As a participant, I would like to say that it was done extremely well (congratulations Priscilla!) Although the numbers weren't as high as we would have liked, I think when word gets out that they can view the art without an artist hanging over their shoulder, we'll have more attendees next year.

Everybody I talked to that participated (that is artists with portfolios in the review) truly understood the importance and relevance of the unmanned portfolios. Naturally, we like to think that our art stands on its own. But at the same time - understanding aside - I think everyone wanted to be a fly on the wall too. We wanted to view the viewers. And it wasn't just good enough hanging outside the building where the review was going on pretending to admire the garden while sneaking peaks in the window . . . . We wanted to hear what the viewers are saying. Or perhaps not.

Anyway, I think Priscilla did a wonderful job putting the review together and I look forward to participating in next year's too. Thanks, Priscilla!

- -Kevan

Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 16:35:15 EDT
Subject: Re: illustration: Portfolio Display


I know I speak for a lot of the attendees, when I say thank you for all the hard work you did this last year to improve the portfolio display. Yes, it is difficult to "let go" of our work, but it should be able to stand on its own merit, without us standing over it. The open display on Monday night also attracted several ADs who couldn't make it Sat. so some illustrators did get a chance for feedback. I know that, with the positive publicity it got this year, the display will attract even more buyers next year, and will continue to grow. Thanks again, we know you busted your butt for us!



Illustrator's Day

Is this the one in NY? I went last year and would not recommend going. The presentations were interesting but we didn't get to see the other participants portfolios and there was no feedback from the publishers and art directors that attended.

Theresa Brandon

I decided not to attend because of the reviews from last year as well. Plus, I had been warned by Frieda Gates that the portfolio review slots tend to fill up in December for the May conference.

The NY metro area has a bunch of conferences and one day workshops for illustartors this winter and spring, I think. The Metro chair can send you a schedule. I'm gonna try to hit more of those instead!

john K.

Date: Mon, 23 Feb 1998 03:47:39 -0500
Subject: illustration: Framingham SCBWI


You definitely have to register ahead of time. It is still a month away so you've got time, although the optional portfolio reviews might be filled by now. You should go to and email a request for a form.

Linda S. W.

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