Pick an example of your art for your next postcard mailer or portfolio – and see if the Girllustrators agree with you. That’s your illustration art prompt (and quest, should you choose to participate) for the grand finale workshop (#5) in our workshop series, Going from Good to Great with the Girllustrators.

Led this time by illustrator, designer, writer, and graphic novelist Rivkah La Fille, the Girllustrator panel will pick 10 submissions from the shared folder.

“Choose one piece that you’d present…It can be one you’ve already created. [Or]It can be a new piece.” Rivkah says. They’ll critique on not just the merits of each piece as an illustration, but its fitness for the genre or market it’s intended for, she says.

Deadline to turn in your piece for the Oct. 20 live workshop: End of day Wednesday, October 17.

The workshop will include a common sense, collective Q&A with the Girllustrators panel led by Rivkah on ‘best self-promotion tactics’ for illustrators – for postcard mailings, blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and advice on ‘how to be’ with agents, editors, and art directors at a conference.

They’ll weigh costs versus benefits of sharing your artwork and yourself on social media,  ‘group branding’ and more.

With Girllustrator Shelley Ann Jackson who heads the children’s book illustration department at Cambridge School of Art in Cambridge England they’ll debate the merits of college and community art classes and the question, ‘is art school really necessary?’

The Girllustrators are a group of talented women illustrators in Austin, Texas who unite for sharing, support, and shop talk in the field of children’s illustration. Collectively. they’ve illustrated and written picture books and graphic novels received national recognition for their illustration art, created a hit picture book series, and designed for animated PBS kid shows, like Blue’s Clues.

In July the Girllustrators shared their process for evaluating their own and each other’s work while keeping their friendships healthy, how they work together as a group, productive critique skills and how to critique yourself.

In June the Girllustrators introduced themselves in their first workshop and showed how they brought some of their own ideas to effective realization and life. With the art prompt of light, they explored the wellspring of Inspiration – where to find it, how to keep it. How to generate ideas for bold concepts and new techniques to try.

In August, Girllustrator Vanessa Roeder showed how a character doodle in her sketchbook became a picture book proposal that led to a publisher’s auction that netted a two-book contract. (The first picture book, Lucy and the String came out this summer from Dial.)

In September Vanessa’s agent, Rebecca Sherman of Writers House Agency revealed how she worked with Vanessa to get her picture book ‘pitch ready’ for the major houses and how their submission ignited a New York ‘bidding war.’

Sherman’s clients include Daniel Salmieri, illustrator of #1 New York Times Bestsellers Dragons Love Tacos and Dragons Love Tacos 2 (Dial Books for Young Readers), Grace Lin, author/illustrator of NYT Bestseller and Newbery Honor book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author/illustrator of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series (Knopf) and Dan Yaccarino, author/illustrator of The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau, All the Way to America, Every Friday, Unlovable, Oswald, and more.

Rebecca Sherman, Writers House Literary Agency

Rebecca Sherman, Writers House Literary Agency

Illustration art by Rivkah LaFille

Art by Girllustrator Rivkah LaFille

In three of the workshops, Girllustrators examined pieces from the class as if they were critiquing each other in one of their monthly meeting huddles in Austin, Texas.

In the fourth workshop, agent Rebecca Sherman picked ten pieces to review as if she was looking at submissions in her agency office on West 26th Street in Manhattan.

Register for the final workshop this month and get the replays for the entire series.

Join the workshop

Art by Girllustrator Patrice Barton

Art by Girllustrator Patrice Barton

Art by Christine Mix

Art by Christine Mix

Girllustrator Vanessa Roeder with her characters for Lucy and the String (Dial – Simon & Schuster)


Meet the Girllustrators

Patrice Barton is the illustrator of the award-winning picture books MINE! by Shutta Crum (Knopf, 2011) and The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig (Knopf, 2013). Her chapter books include the Junior Library Guild selections The Year of the Three Sisters, an Anna Wang novel by Andrea Cheng (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015) and The Naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard (FSG, 2009). She’s represented by Christina Tugeau of The CAT Agency.

Lalena Fisher has designed characters and backgrounds for TV’s Blue’s Clues and The Wonder Pets, and created graphics for The New York Times. Her educational press clients have included Oxford University Press, McGraw-Hill, and Benchmark. Her first picture book, Pursuit of the Magic Piece was published in 2015. She’s represented in children’s books by Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Luz Marie Iturbe, fine artist, graphic designer a native of Mexico is writing and illustrating a series of apps that helps children learn Spanish as well as picture books teaching children about craft and traditions.’

Rivkah LaFille is an Illustrator, designer, and writer living in Manhattan and Austin, TX. Her graphic novel series, Steady Beat was nominated by the American Library Association for their Great Graphic Novels for Teens list.  Rivkah’s specialties are children’s illustration, book cover layout and design, and hand-illustrated typography. Her clients have included Harper Collins, St. Martin’s Press, The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Cricket Media Group, Vertigo/DC Comics, Tokyopop, and various fashion, tech, and publishing companies.

Shelley Ann Jackson is an author-illustrator, former Austin SCBWI regional adviser, and the founder of the Girllustrators. Still a member of the group she createdshe now heads the MA Children’s Book Illustration Program at the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.

Marsha Riti has illustrated 12 books and all of the covers for The Critter Club series of picture books for Simon and Schuster Publishing.

Vanessa Roeder, aka Nessa Dee, has illustrated six picture books, including The Angel Guardian, Varla’s Gift, and Useless and for Highlights Magazine. A muralist, too, she creates art for children’s magazines, picture books, and homes. She’s represented by Rebecca Sherman of Writers House Agency.

Emma J. Virján is a graphic designer the author-illustrator of the popular Pig in a Wig picture book series, published by HarperCollins. She’s represented by Edite Kroll of the Edite Kroll Literary Agency.

Join the workshop.

The Girllustrators in Austin, Texas

The Girllustrators in Austin, Texas

Some faculty members of The Contemporary Austin Art School mull the bronze, Water Woman by Wangechi Mutu at the Betty and Edward Marcos Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria

Some faculty members of The Contemporary Austin Art School mull the bronze, Water Woman by Wangechi Mutu at the Betty and Edward Marcos Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria