An evening with this art director to make your work better

Join us Thursday, March 24

Loraine Joyner is the former senior art director of the Atlanta, GA. based Peachtree Publishers, which specializes in children's picture books and YA and Middle Grade fiction and nonfiction.

Many of the more than 300 books she has art directed have received awards and critical acclaim, including recently 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Thomas Gonzales, which became a New York Times bestseller.

As the February and March Group Critiques guest instructor, Loraine originally offered a two-part assignment for us.

The deadline for submitting Part B of the assignment (Hans Christian Andersen spot art rough sketch) has been extended to Sunday night, March 20.

Loraine's critique for Part B will stream live beginning at 8 p.m. (U.S. Central Time) on Thursday, March 24.

To re-state from Loraine's video above, Part B is to submit a rough sketch (in any medium)  for a piece of spot art that features a character interacting within one of the Hans Christian Andersen tales that Loraine specifies (or you can choose your own Andersen story.) Because it is spot art, your rough should be of a 'lowercase' scene, something small, perhaps a transitional moment between two larger story scenes, though it still needs to show a character engaged in some way.

Upload your sketch to the Thursday, March 24 critique shared folder here.

Of course you're welcome to just attend and watch– lurk and learn is acceptable!

And as long as you meet Loraine's March 20 deadline, you're welcome to upload your Part B assignment  for Loraine even though you can't make the live event!

You'll receive access to the replay, of course.

  • 2 Part assignment for February Critique (Click here)
    2 Part assignment for February Critique (Click here)

    Download a PDF with Loraine's complete two-part assignment 'marching orders' for the February 25 and March 24 critiques. (Click on the PDF icon.) Remember that the assignment Part B deadline and the live critique have been pushed into March.

How to upload your work:

Here is the page the link will take you to.

When you click on the link, you might see a message like this to sign into your Gmail (or Google Account.) Do it.

When you click, the prompt on the page should change.

You might get a prompt then to tell you to open your Google Drive. You need to be in Drive to be able to upload a file or folder into our shared folder for the session.

You might get a prompt then to tell you to open your Google Drive. You need to be in Drive to be able to upload a file or folder into our shared folder for the session.

You'll then see another change on the shared folder page.

Once you open your Google Drive (by clicking) you'll see this new navigation sidebar open up on the left side of your screen. Click on

Once you open your Google Drive (by clicking), you'll see this new navigation sidebar open up on the left side of your screen. Click on "New."

Clicking on "New" will open a small sub-menu where you'll see your next set of options.


Choose "File Upload" or "Folder Upload," whichever applies. You'll be taken to your own computer's files, where you can then select your image(s) to upload to the shared folder for the session.

Screenshots confusing? Here's a link to a video that walks you through the uploading process:

Here's your link to the unlisted YouTube page to watch the live stream of the 8 p.m. CST, Thursday, March 24 critique with Loraine.

See you next Thursday, March 24!

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

You don't have to upload your work to every session. You just have to listen.

You'll benefit by being there. It's like practicing the proverbial golf swing in your mind.

Whether it's your work being discussed or someone else's, you'll take away invaluable knowledge to help you later — when it's just you behind the drawing table or monitor making those hundreds of decisions (big and small) that go into completing a 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 the 11 guest group critiques we enjoyed last year by these top illustrators:

Click on the photos to see their websites!

Mira Reisberg

Mira Reisberg

Karien Naude

Karien Naude

Karien Naude

Chris Schechner

Author-illustrator Jeff Crosby

Jeff Crosby

Marsha Riti

Marsha Riti

Christy Stallop

Christy Stallop

ustyme books art manager Nick Balian with the cover of his

Nick Balian

C.S. Jennings

C.S. Jennings

Annette Simon

Annette Simon

Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell, moderator

Denise Fleming

Denise Fleming

Wendy Martin

Wendy Martin

Mary Sullivan

Mary Sullivan

Jodell Sadler and KidLit College

Jodell Sadler