Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Student Illustrator Scholarship


Student Illustrator Scholarship


Each year, the SCBWI sponsors four conference scholarships for full-time graduate or undergraduate students studying illustration. (Two for the Winter Conference, two for the Summer Conference.) The Student Illustrator Scholarship winners will receive admission to the Summer or Winter Conference and entry in the Juried Portfolio Showcase. Many of our SIS winners have gone on to be represented by agents, get illustration work, publish books, and win awards.

SCBWI reserves the right not to award the scholarship in any given year.



Open June 6 through July 8.



2021 Winter Conference Winners 





  • You must be currently enrolled, or have graduated in the past semester, as a full-time graduate or undergraduate student at an accredited educational institution, and must be at least 18 years old.
  • Applicants cannot have published a picture book before.
  • You may apply even if you have applied to the SIS in the past, as long as you have not won before. 



  • A description in 250 words or less of why you wish to attend the SCBWI Conference.
  • Three samples of your children’s book-style illustrations in separate attachments.
  • Photo of your current student ID. 

Submission portal now open. CLICK HERE to apply.

Have one professor send a letter of recommendation to Sarah Baker at

  • The letter should be emailed directly from the faculty member and must be in the body of the email, not in a separate attachment. The subject line should be structured as follows: SIS Recommendation (Student Name) 

Scholarship recipients will be chosen by a rotating jury composed of three industry professionals.


NOTE: In the event that a recipient cannot attend for any reason, Sarah Baker should be notified as soon as possible. The scholarship may, in that event, be awarded to another applicant. The grant is not transferrable and cannot be postponed.





Thoughts from Past SIS Winners 


Katie Kath 

Since winning the Scholarship, I’ve been working with an illustration rep in New York (Shannon Associates), and have worked for about sixteen different clients. Most are publishing houses, both large and small, some are magazines and educational institutions/companies. Many of these clients are return customers and I have done several books with them.

I’ve illustrated fourteen books (a combination of both picture books and middle grade novels) since the SIS, two of which will be published this Fall (two MG sequels), and I have two new children’s books I’m currently illustrating that will be published in the next few years.

One of the most exciting book deals I have gotten so far is one I completed a few years ago, a re-issuing of a Dr. Seuss book entitled Come Over to My House. It still feels weird seeing my name next to the beloved Dr.’s on the cover, but it’s definitely an honor!

I’ve visited many elementary schools, libraries, and have spoken about my work and the children’s book industry at universities as well. In July of this year, I’ll be speaking at the Mazza Museum in Findlay, Ohio, for their summer conference.

I truly believe that none of these opportunities would have been available to me had I not won the Scholarship, and it has really provided the open door for me to illustrate books and media for children the way I have been. Art directors, editors, and authors in this industry are such lovely people and have always been wonderful to work with.

Through the SIS, I believe I was also able to obtain representation from a prominent illustration agency, which is something I had wanted very badly since attending grad school, but what seemed like only a pipe dream to me at the time.

I am so very grateful for my SCBWI “family” for graciously giving me the means to achieve my dreams—thank you!


Visit Katie’s website


Ziyue Chen 

Winning the SCBWI Student Illustrator Scholarship helped me get my work out there, meet art directors in NYC, and get an agent—Mela Bolinao. I’m really grateful for all of that. Together with hard work, it led me to work on my debut children’s book, When I Carried You In My Belly written by Thrity Umrigar, which was released last year. I’m forever grateful to SCBWI for the Scholarship which gave me a good start to my illustration career.


Visit Ziyue’s website


Jaime Kim 

Receiving the SCBWI Student Scholarship was one of the biggest turning points in my life. Before I got the SCBWI Scholarship, I  wanted to be an illustrator, but I couldn’t tell exactly what kind of illustrator I wanted to be. After being selected as one of the winners of the 2014 Winter Scholarship and participating in the Winter Conference, I realized that I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator.

Participating in the SCBWI Conference was a great opportunity for me as a student at the time.

I met many agents and art directors, and I was able to see the portfolios of many other illustrators. By participating in the Conference, I was able to experience the atmosphere of the children’s book industry for the first time. I think it’s not enough just to say that it was helpful.

I’m currently working as a children’s book illustrator.


Visit Jaime’s website