Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Children's illustrator?? The adventure begins

In attempt to organize my crazy thoughts and bring some sort of focus to my scatter brained methods, I've decided to keep a journal to document my steps and progress starting out in the children's book industry. I never write much on my blog (I love pictures), but I really felt the need to put my thoughts in real words for once. Three reasons: First to plan out my steps, second, as a commitment to not jump ship when things are not progressing, and third, to get some feedback from fellow artists. I've always loved creating fun, whimsical illustrations for kids. My background is in illustration, but my whole career so far has been doing design work (very commercial stuff) for entertainment companies, particularly in the children's consumer product/toy industry. Yes, I got to create tons of cute and fun stuff, but I really missed the storytelling aspect of book illustrations. Last year, I quit my stable, lucrative job to get married and move to Toronto, where I'm pursuing a full time freelance career. I've never been a 9 to 5 type of girl, and always wanted to be my own boss, so this was a good change. It was the perfect opportunity for me to pursue my passion.

The past year has been crazy! After getting married, moving to another country, contemplating on taking a couple full time job offers (nope! not for this girl!), several design projects, traveling back and forth from LA to TO, helping my husband kick off his new business (branding his company and products), I feel like I haven't spent much time on growing (or starting for that matter) my own business. I've been sporadically building my portfolio through IF and personal projects, but haven't done much more than that. From here on out, I am dedicating my time to being a children's illustrator.

SO, where the heck do I start?? I remember taking classes in college on building your business and how to self promote, but I haven't really done any of it. I don't even have a website! (*Gasp* I know, I know!) I started doing some research and looking up current artists in the industry. There is an overload of info and advice out there. I mean, yes most of them are very informative, but there's just so much of it. How to start, agent or no agent, getting published, ads, fees, contracts, on and on...So, I'm in the process of sorting through it all. Is anyone on the same boat??

I've also found many helpful blogs from other successful artists that have gone through this process. Reading their postings have been a tremendous help in motivating me and pointing me in the right direction. I've also just picked up CWIM. My next action items are to make a website, build a mailing list, send out some promos, join SCBWI, and of course, keep creating. Am I missing anything? I welcome any tips! I'll keep posting my progress. Wish me luck!


  1. I think you are headed in the right direction! I am looking forward to hearing about your progress and know you will be quite successful as your work is so kid friendly and adaptable to the children's book market.

  2. If you haven't already, take a peek at Holli Conger's site She journaled her process of marketing her art to become an illustrator.

    I too need a good kick in the pants to get myself serious, as I like to throw myself off the wagon quite a bit due to discouragement, lack of motivation, family commitments, etc., etc.

    Best of luck to you!

  3. A bookfair could be an easy way to gain heaps of contacts and a chance to show off your beautiful illustrations.

    A few years back I went to the Bologna Children's Book Fair ( totally unprepared but what was so fascinating was the number of publishers that are really out there.
    Some publishers may even have allocated times for the art director to view illustrator's portfolios.

    I'm sure there's also loads of book fairs a little bit closer to home in Canada and US as well.

    All the best!

  4. Thanks for reading and commenting guys! I did see Holli Conger's site. It is one of the blogs that have been so helpful. I hope you keep at it Tom!

    Kerrie, thank you for sharing. What a great tip! I will definitely attend a book fair and report back. :)

  5. good luck! you'll blow them away. i love coming to your blog for inspiration.