Robert Quackenbush has a painting assignment for you


Robert Quackenbush is the author and illustrator of nearly two hundred books for young readers.

His story characters have become known all over the world. Whenever he speaks before audiences of children - which often includes author tours from Alaska to South America and from Europe to the Middle East - he is introduced as the father of Henry the Duck, Detective Mole, Miss Mallard, Pete Pack Rat, Sheriff Sally Gopher, and many more. He is the three-time winner of the American Flag Institute Award for outstanding contributions to children's literature and winner of an Edgar Allan Poe Special Award for best juvenile mystery.

He graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and has a Masters in Social Studies and a Ph.D. in Childhood Education.

He'll be our guest instructor for September's Guest Group Critique, set for 7 p.m. (U.S. Central Time)Wednesday, October 26.

Scroll down for this month's assignment.

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A Halloween Hunker Down

Hope you can join us for this process visit and Q&A with Robert and his review of ten of the group's submitted illustration spreads, 51laenjew4lset for Wednesday, October 26. 

To participate, subscribe to monthly Guest Group Critiques – or register for just the one event and video replay.

(Already a subscriber to Guest Group Critiques?  You're already in. No need to register. Keep your eye out for the details in your e-mail inbox.)

Robert Quackenbush cover Halloween download


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Your fairy tale assignment: Final art for a two-page spread

Robert Quackenbush's assignment for our October 26 Guest Group Critique Halloween Party is straightforward and precise. "It is the way I start my classes," he says. "Fold eight sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of paper in half and gather them together.

"Number each page and you will have 32 pages - the standard number of pages for a picture book."


"Page one will be a title page; Page 2 will be the copyright page; Page 3 will be the dedication page; Page 4 will start you story and Page 32 will end your story.

"On these folded pages layout in quick sketches your story and pictures.

"Then do a finished illustration in any media you chose of a spread from your 'dummy' book (two facing pages is a spread) without text.

"The size of the finished illustration will be 10" x 16" or 8" x 20", depending on whether you want horizontal or vertical 8" x 10" book, which a standard size for a picture book when closed.

"For subject matter I suggest a fairy story or nursery fable – one that hasn't been done before. You can find that out by googling the name of your selection and see if it has been done. There is always a market for unusual folk tales and fables.

"You might even consider a fable or folk tale from India that has not been published before in the U.S for a wide audience including India that looks for books in English. Or write your own story, which is even better."

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Monthly group critiques are 'perfect practice'

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  • Meet your tribe

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    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.

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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

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

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

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