Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Canceled: Illustration Day- THE PORTFOLIO

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Date(s) - 04/18/2020
9:00 am - 3:45 pm

KU Edwards Campus
12600 S. Quivira Rd - Overland Park, KS 66213


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Canceled: Due to the current health situation regarding Covid-19, this event has been canceled. Please check back here for updates as we work to offer virtual events for our illustration community.


And please stay healthy!


Illustrator Day:



9 AM – 3:45 PM


SCBWI KS/MO’s Annual Illustrator Day IS BACK!

This day-long workshop will include a look at what to include in your portfolio, an artist demonstration and process analysis, along with an opportunity for attendees to receive feedback on portfolios from the art director from Enchanted Lion Books, Claudia Zoe Bedrick, and illustrator Zoey Abbott. Portfolio critiques run all day during the sessions.

This is a great opportunity for hands-on creative work and true portfolio building!


About Our Presenters:

Claudia Zoe Bedrick

Claudia Zoe Bedrick is the publisher, editor, and art director of Enchanted Lion Books.
A graduate of Harvard/Radcliffe, she has been involved with books and libraries in one way or another
for her entire working life. She lives and works in Brooklyn,NY

“Enchanted Lion Books is an independent children’s book publisher based in Brooklyn, New York. We publish illustrated books from around the world, convinced by the power of cultural exchange to inspire curiosity, awareness, and wonder in children everywhere. We reach across time and oceans to find new authors and old treasures to share with a new generation of readers.”


Zoey Abbott

Zoey Abbott is a graduate in Women’s Studies and History from Smith College. She spent four years living and studying sumi-e brush painting in Japan. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon and is the illustrator of Finn’s Feather by Rachel Noble, Twindergarten by Nikki Ehrlich, Over the Moon by James Proimos and is a contributor to A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader, edited by Claudia Bedrick and Maria Popova. Zoey’s forthcoming picture books include two self-authored titles, I Do Not Like Yolanda and Something In My Head. Zoey’s work tends to engage with themes of connection, to self and to others.




SCBWI member: 65$

Non-member: 75$

Student rate-NON member: 70$

(note: if you have a student membership, you will automatically receive a discount off the SCBWI rate that is the best possible price. This ticket is for non-SCBWI members)

Portfolio Reviews (member): $45

Lunch (optional): $10




8:45 – 9:10       Registration


9:15 – 10:15  Portfolio Building with Zoey Abbott

Building a portfolio is an exciting and challenging task! I think of a portfolio as an evolving document that shifts over time and needs periodic tending like a garden.  We will talk about making individual pieces as strong as possible, while considering things like overall flow, consistency vs. variety, and how to best highlight your picture-book-thinking skills. We will discuss strategies for keeping portfolios fresh, dynamic and authentic so you can put your best self forward at each stage of your journey.

Workshop prep:  Please bring cheap B&W copies of 5 images from your portfolio (two copies each) to chop up and refashion. We will ask questions of our own images to inspire experimentation with composition, value, perspective. Please bring your ‘darlings’ and/or your second stringers.

Bring to Session:  Images + copy paper, scissors, glue stick or tape, markers, colored pencils. If you also have a digital color version of each image available as reference, that would be great (on your phone or iPad or even hard copy).


10:30-12:00  What Makes a Picture Book Great? with Claudia Zoe Bedrick

The world of kid lit is full of picture books, so what makes one sing? Claudia will dissect some of her favorite works to break down the qualities that take a picture book from “okay” to “amazing” — Hear first hand with someone on both the art direction and editorial sides what works, and what doesn’t.



12:00–1:00       Lunch onsite (Optional paid boxed lunch from Planet Sub available, but you must pre-register. However, you are free to bring your own food)



1:00- 2:00       A Day in the Life of an Editor/Art Director with Claudia Zoe Bedrick

What does an art director or an editor do all day? As both, for Enchanted Lion Books, Claudia is in the unique position to answer such burning questions. In addition, she’ll discuss what aspects of an illustrator’s portfolio jump out to her and why she might contact a new illustrator. What shows a depth and breadth of talent? How does she know she wants to work with a new artist?


2:15-3:45    Discovering Your Process with Zoey Abbott

I will share with you a bit about my journey illustrating my first picture books and some challenges I faced along the way. We will talk about making time for research, experimentation, and choosing your medium. We will also talk about the storytelling aspect of illustrating and how to discover and ‘write’ the ‘second story’ of the book.

We will review our mini-homework assignments and share insights from this process. If we have time we will also do a character/story building exercise from Gianni Rodari’s, “The Grammar of Fantasy.”

Homework/Workshop Prep: This is a playful idea/sketch assignment so please keep it loose and enjoy! With this in mind, please read the mini-text options provided and choose the ONE that most resonates with you.* Take time to brainstorm all the kinds of characters and scenarios you could use to illustrate the text before settling on one idea. (See how many you can come up with!) Take your best idea and thumbnail 4-6 sketches to accompany the text. If you need to change a word or two to make your story “fit” your scenerio, that is fine! Please bring to our session to share. 

Bring to Session: Please bring your brainstorm list as well as your thumbnails from mini-assignment. Also, please bring notebook/blank paper and drawing materials.



*Mini-prompts for Abbott Session:

Option 1:*

I made a mess of the day.

It was quite upsetting.

But by the night I decided that I should call the mess art.

(*Used with permission of the author, James Proimos. Copyrighted James Proimos.)

Option 2:

“Hurry up,” said Mabel

Sam just grunted.

“This is never going to work,” Mabel thought to herself.

[time passes]

“I’m DONE!” Shouted Sam.

He looked at Mabel.

She was done, too.

Option 3: 

Gary had two.

Sam had four.

“It’s not fair,” said Gary.

Gary found a solution.

Sam didn’t like it at all.

Option 4:

“I have to go,” she thought.

But it wasn’t that easy.

The boy also needed to go.

They looked at one another.

They had the same idea.


**Workshops may be subject to change