Thank you for signing up for the session with animator Len Smith – and welcome!

Your official welcome email with your Guest Group Critiques log-in details is on its way to you.

Sparky character model sheet by Len Smith

Come join us here Tuesday, December 13 at 6 p.m. (U.S. Central Time) for our Guest Group Critique interactive live session with one of our own, Len Smith who has worked for some of the world's best known animation houses.

Len served as lead artist for the 'Toon Town' sequence that was was in the groundbreaking 1988 Disney animated movie in the Who Framed Roger Rabbit. (Disneyland’s Toontown today uses many of his original concepts.)

illustraiton by Len Smith

Smith's work was prominent in The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh,(winner of 4 Emmy Awards.)

For Disney TV he developed characters for The Muppet Babies and TailSpin.

He's also illustrated many licensed character children's books, such as the Disney book version of its Pixar film, Ratatouille.Art by Len Smith Art by Len Smith

His assignment for us for December 13th's session is simple:

Draw three views, 'front-to-back' of a character. Your story character) person, child, animal  – vegetable or mineral, too if it's your character. Your character seen from the front, side and back. (Or if you want to get  fancy, 3/4 view front, 3/4 view side and 3/4 back, like Len's in the top image above.

It can be a single face or a complete figure. Rough sketch or final art, whatever you can muster up in time available and upload into December's folder for our live session on Tuesday.

We'll also try to look at a fairy tale 2 page spread or two that we haven't talked about yet from our October Robert Quackenbush session. Remember, too we'll look at any remaining fairy tale scenes in a special year-end 'wrap up' session on Tuesday, December 20. (Stay tuned for more details on that.)

Art by Len Smith
You can see some more front-to-back character views by Len below, to give you a better idea of what model sheets are like. They don't have to be cartoons, and you don't even need to show ruled grid lines, unless you want to.

It's going to be a fun, exhilarating night, sure to instill some great new knowledge, if not a dose of Holiday Season spirit.

Again, your secret links for December's Group Critique: 

And of course you'll also receive the replay.

Have fun with your multi-viewed character-scribbling!

See you Tuesday!

More character model sheets from Len...


Art by Len Smith

Art by Len Smith


Art by Len Smith

Art by Len Smith

Sketch by Len Smith

Sketches by Len Smith

Monthly group critiques are 'perfect practice'

They tell you...

  • What isn't working

  • When to push harder

  • When to just stop

And help you to...

  • 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.

  • 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.

Improvement comes from consistent focus

Sometimes it will be your work being discussed. More often, someone else's...

Either way, you'll benefit by being there. You'll take away the insights to help you later — when it's just you behind the table making all those decisions, big and little required for a really good picture.


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

With a subscription you can participate in all of our monthly live critique programs and immediately access replays of all sessions we've enjoyed and learned from so far by these top professionals:

Click on the photos to see their websites!

Mira Reisberg

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

Karien Naude

Karien Naude, illustrator

Karien Naude

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

Loraine Joyner

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

Author-illustrator Jeff Crosby

Jeff Crosby, author-illustrator

Marsha Riti

Marsha Riti, illustrator

Christy Stallop

Christy Stallop, illustrator

ustyme books art manager Nick Balian with the cover of his

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

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

Award-winning children's illustrator Larry Day

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

C.S. Jennings

C.S. Jennings, author-illustrator

Annette Simon

Annette Simon, author-illustrator

Mark Mitchell,

Mark Mitchell, author-illustrator and moderator

Denise Fleming

Denise Fleming, award-winning author-illustrator

Penguin Random House art director Giuseppe Castellano

Giuseppe Castellano, Penguin Random House art director

Renowned author-illustrator Robert Quackenbush

Renowned author-illustrator Robert Quackenbush (Halloween Critique Bash)

Wendy Martin, author-illustrator and teacher

Wendy Martin, author-illustrator and teacher

Mary Sullivan

Mary Sullivan, award-winning author-illustrator

Jodell Sadler and KidLit College

Jodell Sadler, founder KidLit College and agent

Kelly Sonnack, senior agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency