Monday, September 16, 2013

Western PA Bookmark Challenge


If you're a member of the Western PA region of SCBWI, you are eligible to vote in our bookmark challenge. Surveys have been sent out to members using the email address the member listed with SCBWI. Please respond only through that email message. Surveys not originating from the email addresses on record will not be included in the results as we will be unable to verify you as a member. One vote per member. Voting is open until the end of the day Saturday, October 5, 2013. Illustrator names will be revealed after voting is complete.

What an incredible collection of bookmarks we have to choose from! Good luck to everyone who took the time and entered our challenge. A free conference awaits you on the other side...

Please look through the entries below and choose the corresponding letter (a, b, c, etc.) and description listed in the survey of the bookmark you would most like to represent our region (listed in the order received):

a) Butterfly/Dog:

b) Reading under tree:

c) Panda kite

d) Sidewalk children

e) Four children with books

f) King Kong

g) Bookworm

h) Fish/Boy in hoodie

i) Window/Moon

Please note: The descriptions with each bookmark are not intended to be official titles. Descriptions are for voting purposes only. If you have any questions, please email me at

Saturday, August 24, 2013

More SCBWI illustrator opportunities in Maryland

Via Susan Detwiler, Illustrator Coordinator MD/DE/WV SCBWI:

Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia
SCBWI Lucky13 Conference

Our fall conference features more art topics than ever!

With Coretta Scott King and ALA notable award winner Floyd Cooper, HarperCollins art director Martha Rago, and a panel on and by author-illustrators, this is one of our strongest for artists. Whatever your experience level, I'm sure you will find new ideas and inspiration at Lucky 13, our September 21 and 22 conference in Frederick, MD.

I want to let you know of two specific opportunities for illustrators. There will be a place to display your portfolio, and (on Sunday) a First Look slideshow of illustrations which will be critiqued by a panel, along with First Pages for writers. Illustrators may send up to three images, and they will be shown together anonymously in the PowerPoint slideshow. If you wish to participate, please send up to 3 jpeg images to me by Monday, September 9, 2013. The ideal size for each image is no more than 10" on a side @ 100 dpi.

Portfolio review spots are still available with Martha Rago and Floyd Cooper and our own region's Tim Young and Rebecca Evans. 

Please consider attending. It isn't often we have the chance to learn from so much talent so near at hand. 

To register, please visit
For more information, see

I'm happy to answer any questions.

Susan Detwiler
Illustrator Coordinator MD/DE/WV SCBWI
reply to:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"First Looks" at WPaSCBWI Fall Conference

Call for Submissions

During the break after lunch at this year's WPaSCBWI regional conference on November 9, illustrator members will have the opportunity to show their work to both conference attendees and faculty. Three of your illustrations could be projected in the ballroom with conference faculty—attending editors and agents—commenting their first impressions. Illustrations will be interspersed between readings of First Pages and projected anonymously until time runs out. Also, illustrations will be in queue in the order they are received, so get yours in early!
  1. Create three illustrations that are related, preferably sequential. They can be color or black and white. You can illustrate any subject matter as long as it’s kid-related and could be published as such. Show that you can carry characters through a story.
  2. Save all three illustrations SEPARATELY (we will need three individual files):
    1. 72 dpi
    2. RGB
    3. No larger than 720 pixels in either direction
  3. Only three illustrations will be accepted per member.
  4. Digital files only.
  5. Conference organizers won’t be scanning, color correcting or sizing anyone’s work, so make sure it looks the way it’s supposed to and save it correctly.
  6. Email your three files to with the subject line "First Looks."
  7. Only one set of three images are allowed per illustrator.
  8. Deadline for submissions: November 1, 2013.
  9. Only conference attendees may submit.
  10. If your files do not adhere to the above specs, your submission could be rejected.
Good luck!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Call for Illustrators

As you may know, in years past we’ve had opportunities for SCBWI members who were attending the annual conference in Pittsburgh to create artwork to share with the rest of the attendees, and this year is no exception. This year, however, will be a little different.

This year’s challenge will be for a bookmark (specs below). The winning bookmark design will be printed and distributed to conference attendees as well as schools and libraries that host an author or illustrator as a speaker. The front of the bookmark will show the winning illustration, and the back will have the illustrator’s name and website address as well as WPaSCBWI information. No need to worry about the back as that will be designed in-house once the winner is chosen.

Here’s what you need to know:
  1. You have two options for the image you enter: You can choose an illustration that you’ve already created and control the copyright to, as long as it fits well or can be cropped (by you) in the space of the bookmark. If somebody else owns the rights, please do not submit the image. Or, you have the option to create an entirely new image just for this challenge. The choice is yours.
  2. You can download a jpg of the bookmark template below. The size will be 2”x8” after .05” bleed has been trimmed from all sides. (Final size with bleed: 2.1”x8.1”.) The corners will be rounded, and it is not recommended that you include a border since trimming could be uneven, and a border would only serve to emphasize that.
  3. For the initial entry, please email a jpg of your bookmark to with the subject line "SCBWI Bookmark." Entries should be 72 dpi, but no larger than 2.1”x8.1”. No need to send a higher resolution file unless and until yours is the winning entry, in which case you will be notified of the higher resolution specs at that time. Please include your name in your email.
  4. Only one entry per person, please.
  5. Entrants must be current members of SCBWI.
  6. Entries must be conceived and executed by the member entering.
  7. We must receive at least two entries for the challenge to result in a winner.
  8. Entries are due on September 14, 2013 and will be uploaded where WPaSCBWI members will be able to vote for their favorite until October 5. Winner will be notified via email, and a higher resolution file will be due no later than October 12.
  9. Winner will receive a free conference tuition to this year’s conference on November 9 along with 100 bookmarks with their design.
  10. Please send questions to

Here's the template.
Please note that your design can be either horizontal or vertical.

(Here's a direct link to the template. Use the bottom option: "Bookmark 2"x8" Round Corners")

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tomie dePaola Award

Congratulations to WPaSCBWI's very own Anni Matsick, who was one of seven runners-up in this year's Tomie dePaola Award. Here's what Tomie said about her entry:
"Her characterization of Tom and Peter the cat was great. Her drawing was superb, she can be very proud."

You can see all the winners here and other entries here. See a close-up of Anni's entry here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Q&A with Stacy Innerst

Our very own Stacy Innerst set aside some time to answer a few pre-conference questions for us about his illustration work (and Texas, of all things). In case you missed it, Stacy will be leading one of our breakout sessions at the Western PA SCBWI conference on Saturday, Nov. 10. Details on the conference and the registration form can be found here:

Make sure you take a good, long look at Stacy's award-winning work on his site: Trust me.

SCBWI: Most of your picture books (I guess except for The Worm Family) are non-fiction. A couple questions: First, do you figure they’ve pegged you for a good non-fiction illustrator because of your years of editorial work? And second, do you really care?

STACY: I think that has something to do with it. When I took my portfolio to Harcourt, all I had were editorial pieces to show the editor. Some of them were pretty dark and conceptual. She saw something in them, though, and said she'd look for the right project to come along. Two years later I got a book. I've done a little bit of everything, though most of the books are strictly defined as non-fiction. M is for Music is an alphabet book, obviously, but there is a great deal of fiction in the pictures I made for it. Levi Strauss is a tall tale, not really a biography. My editor likes me to push the non-literal boundaries in the illustrations and the authors that I've worked with are very creative non-fiction writers, so there is always space to be imaginative. So, no, I don't really care. I'm up for anything.

SCBWI: So the names Kathleen Krull and Tony Johnston come up a lot with your picture books. Are they represented by the same agency you work with or was that a Harcourt editor’s idea?

STACY: We are represented by the same agency (Writers House) but I had done books with each of them before I had an agent there. My Harcourt editor did the first pairing when I illustrated Kathy's book (M is for Music) and Tony's (The Worm Family).

SCBWI: Is that a Texas Longhorns baseball cap you’re wearing on your author page on Amazon? Ouch.

STACY: Long (boring) story. I grew up in New Mexico where the hatred of Texas runs deep. A popular bumper sticker in NM read: "If God wanted Texans to ski he would have given them a mountain." Anyway, I ended up moving to West Texas for a job and I discovered, to my astonishment, that I really liked the people there.

I'm not a Texas sports fan or anything but the Longhorns  "branding" (pardon the pun)—burnt orange color and steer head—is, in my opinion, among the very best anywhere. The artist/designer in me really appreciates that. The odd thing is, every time I wear that cap, perfect strangers give me the "hook 'em horns" sign on the street. Texas fans (and foes) are everywhere apparently.

SCBWI: You’re so prolific. How many hours a day do you spend just on making art? And, how much of the business side of illustration are you able to leave to your rep?

STACY: It varies depending on what the deadlines look like but I try to spend at least a few hours a day making something. I pretty much do all of the business myself, except for negotiating contracts. My agent reaches out to art directors and editors in NY and I do the email blasts and mailings and sourcebook ads myself. I'm doing both editorial illustration and kids books so I'm staying pretty busy. In addition, I've pulled out oil paints again and am trying to do more personal work. I had put that aside for a long time, but I've found that I really need to do things just for myself in order to not blow a gasket.

SCBWI: When you work on the things that “keep you sane,” what do those things look like?

STACY: Oddly enough they are kind of a combination of figurative and abstract. I can't seem to do anything that doesn't tell a story of some kind but I really admire abstract expressionism and always have. I love the surface of paintings and the expressiveness of paint. Illustrations are by their nature flattened out once they go through the printing process or are scanned and digitized, so I like to work on paintings that are objects in and of themselves, and retain the sense of having been made by a human.

SCBWI: You said you like to use tin as a surface for your illustrations and you used denim for Levi Strauss. What’s the oddest surface you’ve thought to use?

STACY: Well, the most ill-advised surface that I've used was a wall at my middle school when I was thirteen. The police were not amused. Neither were my parents.

The most challenging was painting on football helmets, I think. I painted custom helmets for a charity auction that the Steelers were having a couple of years ago. That shiny curved surface threw me for a loop at first, but I figured out how to make the paint stick and I think they were pretty beautiful in the end. I did one for Hines Ward, one for Jerome Bettis and one for Jeff Reed.

Also, I did some paintings on roofing tar paper many years ago. I don't know where they are now and I'm not sure I want to know—maybe under some shingles somewhere.

Monday, October 8, 2012

2012 SCBWI Student Illustrator Contest applications open

SCBWI offers a great opportunity for the student illustrator with scholarships providing:
  • Admission to all 2013 New York Winter Conference events including keynotes and breakout sessions
  • Entry in the Juried Portfolio Showcase. (*Note: The winner of the Los Angeles portfolio showcase receives a trip to New York City to meet with art directors)
  • The Illustration Master Class (Los Angeles) or the Illustrator Intensive (New York) 
  • An individual portfolio consultation with an illustrator or art director  (Los Angeles only)
  • Exclusive exposure to art directors at the conference
  • One year's SCBWI membership dues.
See for more details. Applications are due Dec. 3, 2012.