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How would you go about finding a story to illustrate for?

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Hey SCBWI community! I have enjoyed reading through and having some brief discussion with a few of you as I try to move myself into this world! I have tried my hand at writing a story, but I recognize that it is not my strong suit. I have the ability to illustrate and design with excellence, and I desire to start focusing in on my art style to build a portfolio instead of waiting till I am a solid writer as well, but I need a good story to go from.
Are there story illustration competitions or ways in which you can find stories to illustrate for? Or should I look for authors to illustrate for if my abilities lie in my art, and not in my writing? How would I go about that process? Or lastly, is there a list of stories that would be good stories to begin illustrating from for the sake of polishing up my children story illustration abilities?
Thanks for anyone who has suggestions.
#1 - February 06, 2017, 05:09 PM

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I think you'll find a ton of resources over at kidlit411.com (under the For Illustrators tab) on building a portfolio, self-promotions, etc.

If you're looking for a story to illustrate to build your portfolio - try doing your own personal twist on a fairytale or legend.

I found Susanna Hill's story contests to be very helpful in pushing my storytelling abilities. Usually I go ahead an do an illustration or two to go along with the story I've written with her prompts as a way to build my portfolio. Current contest is open for submissions Feb 10th to 14th: https://susannahill.com/2017/01/28/announcing-the-2nd-annual-valentiny-writing-contest/

The Book (SCBWI resource) is a great starting point if you want to approach traditional publishers. If you plan to work with self-publishing authors there's some great posts over on the Illustrating board: https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=4.0

I really like browsing the Sub it Club's postcard post archives too.https://subitclub.wordpress.com/postcard-post-archive/

If you want to write, keep at it. Like anything you'll get better with practice. Kidlit411 has lots of resources for writers too. Joining a critique group will really boost your writing skills.
#2 - February 07, 2017, 07:38 AM
https://marlalesage.com/
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Some of my favorite titles, Tom Sawyer, Little Women, The Wind in the Willows, Robin Hood, etc. are in the public domain. Illustrating a classic might work for you. You can find the books here: http://www.gutenberg.org.
Sarah
#3 - February 07, 2017, 08:12 AM
LOVE AND LEFTOVERS and FAN ART
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To add to Sarah's suggestion, fairy tales should be in public domain also.  :goodluck
#4 - February 07, 2017, 08:29 AM

I think you'll find a ton of resources over at kidlit411.com (under the For Illustrators tab) on building a portfolio, self-promotions, etc.

If you're looking for a story to illustrate to build your portfolio - try doing your own personal twist on a fairytale or legend.

I found Susanna Hill's story contests to be very helpful in pushing my storytelling abilities. Usually I go ahead an do an illustration or two to go along with the story I've written with her prompts as a way to build my portfolio. Current contest is open for submissions Feb 10th to 14th: https://susannahill.com/2017/01/28/announcing-the-2nd-annual-valentiny-writing-contest/

The Book (SCBWI resource) is a great starting point if you want to approach traditional publishers. If you plan to work with self-publishing authors there's some great posts over on the Illustrating board: https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=4.0

I really like browsing the Sub it Club's postcard post archives too.https://subitclub.wordpress.com/postcard-post-archive/

If you want to write, keep at it. Like anything you'll get better with practice. Kidlit411 has lots of resources for writers too. Joining a critique group will really boost your writing skills.

Thank you for your help! This is alot of material you have provided. I was unaware of Kidlit411, but I can tell it is has lot of good stuff I need to go over.
#5 - February 07, 2017, 04:59 PM

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Since you're trying to build up a portfolio I would look for authors who are self publishing on a budget. That's a great way to gain experience, build a portfolio and to help an author.  Something I do to help have ideas for my portfolio is to illustrate traditional fables.  You can do Hansel and Gretel, Beauty and the Beast, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc... Also you don't have to illustrate the whole story. If you're just doing this for a portfolio just chose a few pages for different stories. That way you can show more variety in your portfolio.  You want to make sure you're covering your bases. In your portfolio try to show:

- Indoor and Outdoor scenes.
- Different times of day.
- Different weather and environments.
- Diversity.
- Animals.
- Different ages, but most importantly the age group that you're drawing for.
- Boys and girls.
- Different actions.
- Different emotions.
- Include objects, vehicles, etc...
- Show you can draw the same character multiple times.
- Characters interacting with each other.

I'm sure there might be a few other things to add to the list. But that's what I got from the top of my head. You can include more than one in a single image too.

There are different sites that can give you a prompt. SCBWI has the monthly illustration prompts. You can also check out Illustration Friday. That's a site that has weekly prompts.  Also entering contests work well too, cause not only do you have a portfolio piece but you might win too.
#6 - February 09, 2017, 02:37 PM

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