Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Summer Springboard for Illustrators 2022 – Come Paint Your Public Face!

Date(s) - 07/28/2022
10:30 am - 12:00 pm


Webinar: Summer Springboard for Illustrators 2022
Come Paint Your Public Face! with Caroline Leech, Marissa Valdez, and Emma Virján
90 minute Webinar
Thursday, July 28, 2022 at 10:30 AM – noon Eastern/9:30-11 AM Central/8:30-10 AM Mountain/7:30-9 AM Pacific

SCBWI Members: $15; Non-members: $25
Includes live webinar and 30 days of recording access.

Optional written critiques following webinar: 

  • Picture book dummy critique: $70.00
  • Portfolio Critique (up to 15 images): $70.00

About the webinar:

Summer Springboard for Illustrators 2022 winds up with a guide to presentation skills and book event planning.

Join YA author/book launch strategist, Caroline Leech, and her guests, author/illustrators Emma Virján and Marissa Valdez, as they introduce you to some exciting strategies for presenting yourself as a professional illustrator. They’ll also share their top tips on how to plan the most effective and, above all, fun book launch events, both online and in-person. They’ll be covering useful topics such as: 

· planning and promoting your own book launch and other events; 
· collaborating with your publishers and authors—even celebrity authors—so you can play an active part in their marketing plans; 
· creating fascinating interactive talks and hands-on workshops for presentation in schools and libraries; 
· how to utilize your own community of illustrators and other book professionals to create buzz around your books. 
You will be sent a downloadable worksheet guide so you can take notes of their advice, and your own ideas, and there will be time set aside for the panel to answer your questions.

About the Presenters:

Caroline Leech is a Scottish/Texan writer, editor and coach, and has been writing professionally for over three decades. Before moving to the USA, she was a Press & PR consultant and trainer in strategic press, media and presentation skills, working with performing and literary arts companies and arts trade organizations across the United Kingdom. Once in Houston, she began to write fiction, and her YA historical novels, WAIT FOR ME (2017) and IN ANOTHER TIME (2018) were published in the US and the UK by Harper Collins. She currently has her first women’s fiction manuscript out on submission. She founded the Inspiring Houston Women blog, serves on the advisory board of Inprint, Houston’s leading literary non-profit organization, and acts as communications consultant for Austin Opera. She has also continued to write feature articles on the performing arts for a number of newspapers and magazines in the US and UK.  Throughout her time in Texas, she has been designing and presenting workshops on creative writing craft, social media strategy, and on interview and presentation skills for individuals and organizations such as SCBWI, Houston Grand Opera, Rice University School of Literacy and Culture, as well as schools in Houston ISD and in the UK.

You can follow Caroline on Instagram @carolinesblurb, on Twitter @carolinesblurb, or on Facebook as Caroline Leech Author.


Marissa Valdez is the NY Times bestselling illustrator of the picture book AMBITIOUS GIRL, written by Meena Harris. She’s a 2016 graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she received a BFA in Animation. She loves to illustrate stories that are overflowing with humor, wit, and totally out-there situations. In her spare time, Marissa gets her illustration inspiration by wandering around natural science museums, watching super-cool dinosaur documentaries, and playing with her two fat cats. AMBITIOUS GIRL (Little Brown, 2021) is her debut picture book as an illustrator. She is also illustrating the young chapter book series ESME’S BIRTHDAY CONGA LINE (Tundra, May 10th 2022), written by Lourdes Heuer, about a plucky girl who is sure she can plan her own birthday party when her Mimi and Pipo forget, and HATTIE HARMONY: WORRY DETECTIVE (Viking, June 28th 2022), written by Elizabeth Olsen and Robbie Arnett, about a cat detective that always finds the perfect tools to calm her friends’ bodies and minds. She is represented by Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

You can follow Marissa on Instagram @marissaarts and on Twitter @marissaillo. 

Critiquing: Portfolios, Picture book dummies.


Emma J. Virján is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator living in Austin, Texas. 
Titles for her PIG IN A WIG early reader series are quite long – What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig, What This Story Needs is a Hush and a Shush, What This Story Needs is a Munch, and a Crunch, What This Story Needs is a Bang and a Clang, and What This Story Needs is a Vroom and a Zoom. 
Titles for her CAPTAIN CAT early reader series are a little shorter –  Captain Cat and the Pirate Lunch and Captain Cat Goes to Mars.
Because Emma likes to draw so much, she has also illustrated If This Bird Had Pockets, a Poem in Your Pocket Day Celebration, poetry by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Emma loves visiting schools, libraries, and cafeterias. Her funny, engaging presentations include book readings, Q&A, pictures of dogs and lots, and lots of drawing. Students learn about the writing process, the benefit of a story arc, how to develop a character, ways to generate story ideas, and how to draw using shapes. Emma can often be seen walking her Golden Retriever, Bella, working in the yard, and enjoying breakfast tacos. She likes to travel, and hopes to make it back to Rome because the first time she visited the Sistine Chapel was closed.
You can follow Emma on Instagram @emmavirjan, on Twitter @EmmaVirjan, and on Facebook as Emma J. Virjan. 
Critiquing: Portfolios, Picture book dummies.


To register, fill out the form below. SCBWI members MUST be logged in to get the discounted rate. Registration EXTENDED – will close at 11:59 PM Eastern on July 26, 2022.

International members only: If our payment system isn’t processing your credit card or PayPal payment, email to request an alternate method of payment. Please include your name and address in your request.

Access information for the live webinar will be sent on the morning of the webinar and access information on the recording will be sent out the following day. The recording of the webinar will be available for 30 days after the live event. The recording will be for registered attendees only, so if you can’t make the live event, you can register to view the recording.

Those who select add-on critiques must submit their critique material by August 4, 2022. Detailed submission instructions will be sent out following the live webinar to those who register for this option. You do not need to submit anything now.