Looking at illustrators' websites with designer Chris Schechner

Graphic designer, art director, cartoon illustrator Chris Schechner

Being May, this may be the month for your online presence as a children's book illustrator to blossom. In the next Guest Group Critique we'll look again at your online portfolios, illustrators websites and blog sites.

Our guest instructor for this month's interactive live session, graphic designer Chris Schechner plans to help us answers questions like, how does your garden – I mean illustrator's website – grow? What should we plant there and/or mercilessly weed away to attract art directors, editors and agents, and other potential art clients. How can we as, illustrators and author-illustrators make every day we're online feel like spring?

We're set for 7 p.m. (U.S. Central Time) Wednesday, May 31.

Please Save My Seat For the Live Visit May 31!

Art by Chris Schechner

Chris's design firm Schechner and Associates has completed work for publishers, ad agencies, banks, law firms, a seminary, churches and groups (such as the North Texas Chapter of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.)

For 25 years he served as art director of Pockets, the widely circulated children's devotional magazine published by the Upper Room. Chris has worked with and helped hundreds of children's illustrators over his career.

He's fun, wicked sharp and he understands artists, being one himself, a talented cartoon illustrator. (See pen and ink image, right.) He has set a deadline of Tuesday evening, May 30 to get your website or portfolio URL on the list. He'll look at all of the submitted sites, but pick only ten to speak to in our live session on how to keep our online presence as illustrators fresh and competitive for the children's publishing market.

You can opt for just this month's single Group Critique session with Chris (replay included.) Or subscribe monthly for just $10 per month, which gets you access to everything going back two years, including last month's group critique with agents Jill Corcoran and Jodell Sadler of Jill Corcoran Literary. (They also focused on online portfolios.)

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.

Subscribe.For monthly group sessions, including May 31 with Chris Schechner

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, http://HowToBeAChildrensBookIllustrator.com

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

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

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.)