I have written before about the illlustrator group I belong to, CBIG, , of which I am co-president (self-important sniff). Actually, that phrase, "self-important sniff", is something I learned from my boss, which is fitting because he was the speaker at our meeting on Sunday!
(imagine a picture of Paul here- I can't find my little camera-transfer thingy at the moment. Picture long flowing locks and a winning smile).
Paul Zakris is the art director for Greenwillow Books. It was a very informative meeting- even for me, who works with the guy every day! He talked about some important issues, including:
* Don't oversaturate the market with your work (2-3 books per year, max) (Check! Not a problem for me)
* If you're an illustrator, consider the possibility of becoming an author-illustrator.
* Agents: could be friend, could be foe. Choose wisely.
* Work in a size proportional to the trim size of the book.
After about an hour or so of talking, we take a little snack break (I made my famous Banana Pudding for the occasion of Paul's visit). Then, we drew names out of a hat & Paul reviewed 5 member portfolios. Which could be a little stressful, since the review is done in front of the entire group, but it's generally a good learning experience all 'round.
This group in particular has been instrumental in getting my book published. About, oh, a year and a half ago my name was chosen out of the hat to show my work to an editor from Publisher A. She asked me to send her my dummy, and over the course of 6 or 7 months we communicated back & forth, and I did a round or 2 of revisions. Although Publisher A did not end up aquiring my book, I am very grateful for this editor's help, as my project was the stronger for it. Not long after, I met another editor at another meeting, . She also asked me to send her my dummy- and the rest is history. Point is: I love this group for the opportunity to meet editors & art directors face-to-face. I've found it extremely helpful.
So, any New York-based illustrators out there- Please come & join us!