Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

ARTober 2020

It’s ARTober and have we got treats for you!  

— Illustrator Chat via Zoom (October 13)

— Webinar with author/illustrator Daria Peoples-Riley (October 28):
“Writing and Illustrating the Picture Book of Your Heart During Difficult Times”

— The Illustration Maze, a month-long creativity event during October 2020

Illustrator Chat

This is a casual social event for our illustrators and author/illustrators. Bring your sketches and new art—share some of the children’s book art you’ve been drawing or painting—or maybe a story snippet from your picture book dummy or middle grade adventure.  Bring good news and any questions you might have about illustrating for children’s books!

WHERE: A Zoom link for this Social will be sent out the day before the event.

WHEN: 7pm-8:30pm; October 13th, 2020.

WHO: SCBWI-AR members only.



Webinar with author/illustrator Daria Peoples-Riley

What with Pandemic and Politics, our Year of 2020 has been tough for everyone. Like me, maybe you’ve sometimes wondered how a writer or illustrator of children’s books could possibly be any type of creative during a time like this?

Then you won’t want to miss our inspirational webinar with author/illustrator Daria Peoples-Riley. She will be sharing her thoughts and processes for “Writing and Illustrating the Picture Book of Your Heart During Difficult Times” on October 28, 2020.  

Daria will also be offering a limited amount of portfolio critiques! Details about the portfolio submission requirements will be provided after registration.  

For additional info about Daria’s webinar and the portfolio critique, and to register for one or both events, please click here.


The Illustration Maze

While Sketchtember offered creative prompts
To inspire your pencil or the pen in your hand
(whether on iPad or paper or some other device),

Now it’s time to illustrate!
Create the art that tells your tale,
Make the world you’d like see in a child’s favorite dream.

It’s a maze of many ways,
This journey to publication;
So, choose a path that best fits your goal,
And you’ll have something to share—

For your website, your gallery and maybe your portfolio;

A story in time for Halloween,
And art that can be seen!


Last month’s Sketchtember included fun, daily creative prompts to inspire members of our region to develop drawings, sketches or story snippets. 

For our first ARTober, instead of a daily prompt, we’ll have three sets of weekly suggestions throughout the month specific to children’s book illustrators—whether you’ve already been published or are still aspiring to be.

These options will provide a guide through the “ARTober 2020 Illustration Maze” so that by the end of the month, you’ll have created (with or without text):

— new artwork for a potential Picture Book

— or a set of illustrations for Middle Grade covers

— or maybe sequential art for an Early Reader/MG mini-comic

By participating, you will have challenged your skills in developing narrative art for publication, and will have some new art you’ll want to post on your website gallery, social media and/or print for your portfolio.

Not sure which option to pick? 

Choose the one that most interests you while following your children’s book illustration goals. It should be the one that you think you’ll enjoy creating the most for the month of October.

Good luck and have fun!

Option One: The Picture Book Path — Illustrate a classic picture book in your style

  • — Week 01: Get to know your main character, focus on
    • —Emotions
    • —Body language and silhouettes
    • —Costumes
  • — Week 02: Get to know the story “world”, create 3
    • —Backgrounds/landscapes
    • —Elements from this “world”
    • —Or Secondary characters
  • — Week 03: Design a cover
    • —Create the cover for your picture book idea
    • —Design the title treatment
    • —Create endpapers
  • — Week 04: Create a narrative sequence of 3-5 pages
    • —Illustrates a beginning, middle and end
    • —Shows character consistency throughout
    • —Highlights illustration layout and design skills

Option Two: The Graphic Novel Path — Adapt a classic or traditional tale into a mini-comic for MG or Early Readers

  • — Week 01: Create the script
    • —Pick a story to adapt
    • —Convert the story into a script that is 3-6 pages of comic book formatting
    • —At least 3 panels per page
    • —No more than 9 panels per page (no more than 6 is ideal)
  • — Week 02: Rough Layouts and character designs
    • —Sketch thumbnails of the panels and pages
    • —Consider text placement and pacing
    • —Design your characters
      1. —1. Consider emotions and facial expressions
      2. —2. Strong silhouettes and body language
      3. —3. Character turnarounds for consistency
  • — Week 03: Finalize Pencils
    • —Pick final character designs
    • —Pencil final mini-comic panels and pages
  • — Week 04: Ink and Color
    • —Ink pages (traditional or digital)
    • —Color pages
    • —Create a Cover and title design

Option Three: Create Cover Illustrations for a MG or YA Story

  • — Week 01: Cover for a classic tale in your style
  • — Week 02: Cover for a STEM or Non-fiction story
  • — Week 03: Cover for historic adventure story (fiction or non)
  • — Week 04: Cover for a Halloween or Urban Legend tale, or a Ghost story

Have questions or looking for additional resources?
Please contact the Illustrator Coordinator, Tanja Wooten, via the SCBWI-AR Facebook group (SCBWI members only), or through the SCBWI-AR IC email: