Two evenings with this art director to make your work better

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 critiques guest instructor, Loraine has a two-part assignment for us. The deadline for submitting Part A of the assignment for the February 25 critique has already passed.

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

To re-iterate from the video, 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 in the video. Because it is spot art, your rough should be of a 'lowercase' small scene (perhaps a transitional moment between two larger story scenes) though it still needs to show an engaged character in some way.

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

Of course you are always just welcomed to watch, lurk and learn as we say around here.

You'll also receive reminder e-mails and the replay link after both live critique events.

You're welcome to upload work for Loraine to look at even though you can't make the live event, as long as you meet the stated deadlines.

Links to the February 25 and March 24 shared folders to upload your work to, and the two scheduled live event 'watch pages' are below.

  • 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 Critique. (Click on the PDF icon.) Remember that Part B critique has been pushed back to March 24 and now has its own separate folder to upload work to.

See you Thursday, February 25!

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