Saturday, April 9, 2011

What’s in an SCBWI Author/Illustrator’s portfolio?

Sorry I haven't blogged for a month but as they say "Life gets in the way when you are making other plans".

I've been busy getting my portfolio ready for the portfolio showcase at the 2011 SCBWI-WWA (Western Washington) Spring Conference in Seattle next week.
However author/illustrators are a strange creature consisting of a talented (hopefully) mix of words and pictures. What do they put in their portfolios? Pictures or words? Or both?

Good author/illustrator are highly sought after because it means the agent, editor or publishing house only have to work with one person, one ego and one royalty. Finding advice and mentorship for an author/illustrator is hard work but after searching and researching I came up with a plan for my author/Illustrators portfolio.

This is my author/illustrator portfolio plan:
  1. My portfolio pages will have a text from one of my own stories and the illustration that goes with it, hopefully highlighting my aptitude for both. I will use only those illustrations that show character, diversity and a unique interpretation of my words.
  2. I will divide the portfolio into two parts: black and white and color. Divide the color and black & white sections into picture book and chapter book illustrations.
  3. Aim for 10 to fifteen pages with content only on the right hand page. The left hand page will be left black.
  4. Choose the illustrations and words the propel the reader to turn the page or wonder what will happen next.
  5. I will use only two or possibly three of styles of illustration. Style is equivalent to the illustrative ‘voice’ agents and editors are looking for.
  6. Composition, emotion and lighting will be as important in my illustrations as spelling, voice and continuity are in my writing.
  7.  I’ll show off my skill depicting people, especially children and my skill with portraying common animals like bunnies and aardvarks.
  8. I will include a couple of completed spreads from my own dummy books complete with illustrations and text to show layout and use space.
  9. I will then lay all my choices out on the floor and put them in order from best to worst. I will ruthlessly toss out the worst regardless of how much I personally love them. Only my best will do even it’s only 8 or 10 pieces.
  10. I’ll print out my final portfolio cover and composed pages (including my name and contact info on each page) and have it all bound at a local print shop. I will make it look as professional as possible.
  11. I will also print out post cards for the interested agents and editors to take with them so they won’t forget me or my talent.
And I will update my website and my blog frequently!


Carole Anne Carr said...

Good luck with all of that, a great deal of hard work, but I'm sure it will be worth it.

Fin said...

We think your work is amazing and know others will too!

Faith Pray said...

I look forward to seeing your work at the conference! It sounds like a very tidy plan, almost like packing for a long trip - good luck!