Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mentee Monday – A Day with the Tribe

On monday after the SCBWI conference David Diaz, one of the mentors of the SCBWI mentorship program, treated the mentees to a day with the tribe, with visits to publishers and important locations in New York that every illustrator should see. Here is a small recap of our journey:

breakfast at "Balthazar's" (photo taken by the nice waiter, even though no photos were allowed, thank you!)
1. Hunting:
After a lavish breakfast we visited legedary bookstore „Books of Wonder“, New York's largest and oldest children's book store to date, where a gallery features beautiful art work by renowned illustrators, events with authors and illustrators are held reguarly and, as I learned from fellow mentee Lisa Anchin, picture books are sorted by illustrator instead of by author! We hunted for beautiful books and got lost in the fantastic and well-curated selection of art work. I hope one day I will be in town at a time when they have one of their events!

in front of "Books of Wonder" (photo by David Diaz)

2. Gathering:
David Diaz had secured appointments for us at Abrams Books and Penguin Young Readers Group, to show our work, get to know the publishing houses and gather lots of information.

Creative Director Chad Beckerman shares very useful advice on promo cards (photo by Maple Lam)

First, we visited Abrams, where we met with Editorial Director Tamar Brazis, Creative Director Chad Beckerman and Associate Art Director Maria Middleton, who gave us an introduction to their publishing house, answered all our questions and gave us great advice on promotions and post cards.  It was very helpful to see which cards and give-aways were kept and why, and be reminded how important attention to seemingly small details can be. One example Chad Beckerman gave us: 

always make sure to spell names correctly!

on the subway with Jessica Lanan (photo by David Diaz)

Next, we took the subway to Penguin, where we set up our portfolios for everybody at Penguin to look at. Cecilia Yung, Art Director and Vice President at Penguin Young Readers, then received us and took us to a conference room, where Art Directors Giuseppe Castellano (Grosset), Lily Malcolm (Dial), Nancy Brennan (Penguin), Semadar Megged (Philomel), and Irene Vandervoort (Penguin Junior) generously shared the unique focuses of their imprints and told us what illustration they are looking for for their books and what the work process looks like for them.

setting up our portfolios at Penguin (photo by David Diaz)

Alongside specific information for each of their imprints, the editors shared their view on the current market situation, and many of them agreed that at this point in time author/illustrators are more looked for than before, with editors offering to help illustrators polish their story ideas.

Also, Semadar Megged advised us to look at publication dates when researching books and publishers, because the market has changed very much over the past years. According to her any publication that is more than 5 years old doesn't give an accurate impression of what the publishing house is doing now.

Cecilia completed the visit with an extensive tour through Penguin, showing us where all the magic starting with scanning and color correcting all the way to archiving and shipping artwork back happens and answering any and all questions we dared to ask.

hot chocolate and discussions at City Bakery (photo by Maple Lam)

3. Stories by the Fireside:
In between all these amazing appointments there was time to try fabulous hot chocolate with chili at the City Bakery, look at portfolios and discuss editing processes, constructive critique and etiquette at meetings, and make our very own mentee tribe t-shirts.

making our very own tribe t-shirts - David Diaz shows us how it's done

It was a fantastic day with the tribe, thank you to all the editors and art directors who took time out of their busy schedules to meet us, to Cecilia for arranging such a fabulous program for us at Penguin, and a superspecial extra thank you to David Diaz for setting it all up and making this such an unforgettable experience!

back in my work space in Germany - love my mentee tribe shirt!

I'm waving from across the pond and hope I'll get to spend some time with the tribe again soon!


Post a Comment

<< Home