Share your 'evocative illustration' with children's publisher Kristen Nobles this month

Kristen Nobles, founding publisher of the children's division at Page Street Publishing is set to visit with us!

She'll talk about working with new talent to come up with art led narrative picture books for ages 4-8, as well as visually driven concept books and board books for younger children.

We'll get a privileged 'first look' at the picture books coming out in Page Street's first children's list (Fall 2018.) Only Macmillan's sales and marketing staff have seen them previously.

Kristen loves picture book biographies, strong characters, a unique style or retro look made new again, and looks for a surprising spin on traditional themes in children’s books.

And she'll pick 10 of our group's submitted illustrations to address. (Read her assignment below.)

Please Save My Seat For August 23!

You can buy a ticket for just this month's single event with Kristen or subscribe for this and all past and future sessions.

Prior to joining Page Street, Kristen was art director at Candlewick Press for 13 years, where she worked with author/illustrators Carson Ellis, Steve Light, Leslie Patricelli and Matt Tavares as well as illustrators Sophie Blackall, John Rocco, Ed Young, and many others on award-winning books. Before Candlewick, she worked as a senior designer at Chronicle Books.

Her passion for children's books has been passed down from her mother, an elementary teacher, and her grandmother, a librarian.

In addition to children's picture and board books, Page Street publishes young adult (YA) fiction (for ages 12 and up), in all genres, and a variety of nonfiction books in such categories as cooking, sports, science, nature, interior design, crafts, and parenting.

Kristen's 'assignment' for us: Create Memorable Artwork 

What makes a promotional postcard stand-out, Kristen asks? How can you be sure your work resonates with an art director or editor? Most importantly, how do publishing teams make the leap from your portfolio to a book contract?

"I believe it's all about memorable imagery," she says. "For example: a Buddhist monk in flowing orange robes walks a tiger; you - the viewer - are hiding behind a tree in a snowy woods while a horse and buggy pull up to a mansion; a little girl is out for a stroll with a large fish on a leash -- these are some of the visuals that have stayed with me over the years, and often led to contracts.

"They succeed not only due to content but also unusual perspective or atmosphere, emotional connection, and palette choice.

"Create a simple final color image that you feel is evocative. Try to intrigue me or make me feel a specific emotion. Put in front of me something I've never seen before and execute your piece the way only you can."

Come join us August 23!

Monthly group critiques are 'perfect practice'

They tell you...

  • What isn't working

  • When to push harder

  • When to just stop

And help you...

  • Get a fresh perspective

    Our guest critiquers – illustrators, author-illustrators, children’s literary agents, art directors, maybe an editor or two  – examine your final in a spirit of teaching and mentoring.

  • Think more like a pro

    Watch up close and personal how full-time creatives evaluate and troubleshoot their own and others’ pieces.

  • Prepare for... that thing

    That upcoming kidlit (or illustrators’) conference, important promotional mailing, post or sit-down with a client or a prospect.

And nudge you to...

  • Sharpen your discernment powers

    Remind you of those bedrock principles of draftsmanship, design and communication. (Funny how they keep bringing you back to those.)

  • Meet your tribe

    Your colleagues and the expert practioners. Who share their What I Wish I Knew Then stories and become your contacts in ‘the biz.’ (It’s called networking.)

  • Get better at... getting better

    Practice with critiques helps you understand the hierarchy of feedback and how to navigate it wisely – knowing what’s valid for you now, vs. what to set aside for later.

Precious moments. Practical stuff. Group critiques – in the classroom or around a cafe table with friends – have been training artists for centuries. Be part of a time-tested tradition, updated for the 21st century.

Join us around the table in new, live, online group sessions every month – and enjoy watching replays of past sessions at your leisure.

SubscribeFor monthly group sessions, including August 23 with publisher Kristen Nobles.

Only $10 monthly.

Improvement comes from consistent focus

Sometimes it will be your work being discussed. More often than not, it will be someone else's. 

You'll benefit by being there. Watch and listen. Absorb the insights to help you later, when it's just you behind the drawing board making all those essential design decisions.

You don't have to go it alone...

Participate in all of our monthly live programs. Access replays of all past sessions...

Like the ones we've enjoyed and learned so much from last year, taught by these wonderful children's publishing professionals:

Mira Reisberg

Mira Reisberg, author-illustrator, teacher and founder, Children's Book Academy

Author-illustrator Jeff Crosby

Jeff Crosby, author-illustrator

C.S. Jennings

C.S. Jennings, author-illustrator

 Giuseppe Castellano, senior art director, Penguin Random House

Giuseppe Castellano, senior art director, Penguin Random House

Jodell Sadler and KidLit College

Jodell Sadler, founder KidLit College and agent

Len Smith, animation character designer

Len Smith, animation character designer

Abigail Samoun, children's book agent, co-founder of Red Fox Literary

Abigail Samoun, children's book agent, co-founder of Red Fox Literary

Karien Naude

Karien Naude, illustrator

Marsha Riti

Marsha Riti, illustrator

Nicole Tugeau, agent and artists' rep, Tugeau2 Children's Illustrators

Annette Simon

Annette Simon, author-illustrator

Renowned author-illustrator Robert Quackenbush

Renowned author-illustrator Robert Quackenbush Halloween Critique Bash (explains the scariness)

Terry Widener, illustrator

Terry Widener, illustrator

Jill Corcoran, founder of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency

Jill Corcoran, founder of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency

Just us, with Mark and Chris, illustration art by Chris Perry

Just us, with Mark and Chris, illustration art by Chris Perry

Karien Naude

Chris Schechner, designer, illustrator and art director for 20+ years for "Pockets" magazine

Christy Stallop

Christy Stallop, illustrator

Award-winning children's illustrator Larry Day

Award-winning storyboard artist and children's illustrator Larry Day

Mark Mitchell,

Mark Mitchell, author-illustrator and moderator

Wendy Martin, author-illustrator and teacher

Wendy Martin, author-illustrator and teacher

Kelly Sonnack, senior agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Picture book series author-illustrator Janee Trasler

Picture book series author-illustrator Janee Trasler

Mira Reisberg, Round 2, illustration by Lisa Goldberg

Mira Reisberg, Round 2, illustration by Lisa Goldberg

Loraine Joyner

Loraine Joyner, senior art director for 23 years with Peachtree Publishers

ustyme books art manager Nick Balian with the cover of his

Nick Balian, illustrator animator, art manager for digital publisher ustyme Books

Denise Fleming

Denise Fleming, award-winning author-illustrator

Mary Sullivan

Mary Sullivan, award-winning author-illustrator

Catch up critique - Illustration by Kathryn Powers

Catch up critique - Illustration by Kathryn Powers

Mira follow-up critique, illustration by John Wanczyk

Mira follow-up critique, illustration by John Wanczyk

Illustrators' Agent Melissa Turk

Illustrators' Agent Melissa Turk of The Artist's Network

A bit of art school...

For $10 per month.


Video thumbnail illustration by Mariama Ross.

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Try out the subscription. You can easily cancel at any time. If you find your first experience of a session not helpful or just not your cup of tea, write me (c/o the How To Be A Children’s Book Illustrator blog) and I’ll refund you same day, no questions asked and no worries (and we’re still friends.)