Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Fall Focus Retreat at the Beach 2019 Illustrators Track

Pre-conference Homework Assignment

The goal is to have you prepare a story for presentation. Please select a story you would like to illustrate – this can be your story, or any story in the public domain, or a public domain story that you have put into your own words.
Before the Conference: 
• Please send your story or manuscript to me via email. With this preview, I will make notes beforehand to save time for all. Please note I’m not an editor; my comments will be about the things we can do as artists and storytellers to make your idea as strong as possible.
Send a .doc, .docx, or pdf in standard manuscript format
by October 14 to
Thumbnail format may be horizontal, vertical, or square. Make rough compositional drawings to work out ideas, try different arrangements, points of view.
• Work out tentative page breaks for 32 pages. Remember the title page, copyright and dedication blurbs, with the page numbering protocol: Title page is page 1  – the first right hand page in the book.  EVEN numbered pages are on the LEFT; ODD numbered pages on the RIGHT. Page 32 is always the last left-hand page.
• Get your story to a point where you can’t wait to move it to the full size format!
Send a multi-page pdf (5 MB maximum) of your thumbnails or dummy by October 30 to
• all working, drawing materials you need: pencils, pens, erasers, tracing paper, laptop, tablet, Wacom, references bookmarked: ready to roll!
• Please bring your story/manuscript to move forward into pencil composition.
• prepare a brief synopsis of your story for your verbal presentation
• bring thumbnail drawings, to show concept and composition
• If your idea is further along than this – great! The further you have moved things forward, the better: depending how far along you are with an idea, we will start from that point.
• We will work on establishing flow and focus while telling a clear, compelling story.
• If you are ready to go to full size pencils, then have pages – to size – ready to go. If it’s 9” x 9” for example, have the edges ruled out.Don’t add type, as things may change in the process.  You can draw these out on a stack of tracing paper as single pages or spreads, make computer prints, or Xerox copies. You will draw right on these pages.
Illustrator Track Schedule
Friday 8-9: 
• I’ll say Hi! And show some of my work.
• Hand out some and materials
• Explain rationale and goals for our weekend
Saturday 9 AM-12 PM: 
• Each person presents to the group where they are in the process. Story to be presented verbally as a synopsis. We flip through sketches and ideas.
• We’ll discuss what we see, and what the next step should be for that person. After we get through with this segment, it’s on to drawing, and I’ll circulate and work with everyone.
• Open ears and flexibility are appreciated: change happens. The value of pencils is that they are a fluid state; this is all about the mechanics of narrative working with images, a very different chemistry than other forms of storytelling.
Please know I respect those with a vision that must be maintained: I want people to feel strong about their vision. 
Sunday 9 AM- 12 PM:
We’ll do the next round: your revisions and any new in-process ideas.
We’ll talk about the goals after the conference, and next steps for a complete presentation. I want to see you carry this through to completion!