Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Illustrator Info




As an SCBWI illustrator member, you have so many opportunities for recognition and exposure that it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Here is a quick reminder of the different ways you can take advantage of your membership and put yourself in the running for acknowledgment, publicity, and prizes. 



Featured Illustrator


All you need to do to be in the running for Featured Illustrator is keep your SCBWI Illustrator Gallery up to date. There is no official application process to become Featured Illustrator, but you must have an up-to-date gallery and the more you participate in other SCBWI opportunities, the better chance you have at being chosen. That includes regional events, portfolio showcases and contests!




Megan Tennant


Bulletin art/Art Spot


Submitting art to the Bulletin is a wonderful way to gain exposure. The Bulletin reaches not only the SCBWI members but also many industry members who hire illustrators. There is no limit to how many pieces you can submit, and you can submit any time.



Draw This


Our monthly art prompt, given in every issue of Insight, is a great way to keep your creative juices flowing and gain exposure at the same time.


Draw This! Submission Guidelines


Vashti Harrison: A Draw This! Success Story



Narrative Art Award


SCBWI is giving the first Narrative Art Award this year. All the submissions have been received and the judging is in progress. The theme and specific assignment will change year-to-year, but the general goal will be to show sequence and narrative. The prize is an all-expense paid trip to the SCBWI New York Winter conference. The winning illustrations will be displayed during the New York Portfolio Showcase (in conjunction with the conference). We will also have an online gallery displaying the submissions to the award for any member who submitted to the award and wants to participate.


Don Freeman Work in Progress Grant


Two grants of $1,000 each are awarded annually. One grant to a published illustrator and one to a pre-published illustrator. The money may be used in any way to help you complete your project.



Portfolio Awards


Coming to the Winter or Summer SCBWI conference? Enter your portfolio into the showcase to gain exposure to industry professionals and be eligible for the Portfolio Award. The grand prize winner receives a trip to New York and meetings with three art directors.



Mentorship Awards


If you are coming to the Los Angeles conference and enter your portfolio, you are also eligible for the Mentorship Award, with one on one meetings with five different industry professionals to get feedback about your work. After the conference you are welcomed into a wonderfully supportive group of past Mentorship winners, and get to participate in their fantastic blog.



Bologna Illustrator Gallery (BIG) Award


Enter the BIG Award to be recognized at the SCBWI Winter Conference and displayed prominently at the SCBWI book at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.


Submissions for the 2018 Fair will be open soon!



And for illustrator members who have already been published, don’t forget about these opportunities:


The Magazine Merit Award


The Golden Kite Award (make sure your publisher is submitting your book!)


The Crystal Kite members choice Award


The Book Launch Award


The Spark Award



For questions about illustrator opportunities for members, write to

SCBWI Exclusive with Carrie Howland

CarrieHowlandHeadshotCarrie Howland joined Empire Literary after eleven years as an agent at Donadio & Olson, Inc. She represents young adult, middle grade, and select picture book authors. Carrie’s background is in poetry, so beautiful language is one of the first things she looks for in any project. Also important are a strong voice and great story, which she’s looking for across genres. Carrie is a member of the AAR as well as SCBWI. She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Albion College. In her spare time, Carrie volunteers as a foster for a local dog rescue and with deployed military men and women through an organization called Soldiers’ Angels. She is an active volunteer and member of the New York Junior League, through which she teaches a third grade art class once a week, as well as a member of the executive board of the New York City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Gamma. You can follow Carrie on twitter at @ecarriehowland or visit for more information.

What led you to childrens' book publishing and becoming an agent? I actually began my academic life at a Math & Science Center (now called a STEM school for all you post-nineties kids!), which sent me to college on a scholarship for Biology, Environmental Studies, and Pre-Medicine. Little did I know, a Creative Writing 101 class I signed up for on a whim, the semester I was taking Organic Chemistry, would change my life forever! I actually thought O-Chem was a breeze, but writing—WOW that was difficult! There was something to it that just kept pulling me back for more. I eventually switched my major to Creative Writing with an emphasis in poetry (yes, poetry!) and during my first semester of my senior year, moved to NYC to begin an internship at this thing called a literary agency. I had no idea what that meant, but three months later, I knew it was what I was meant to do. A few days after graduation, I moved back to New York from Michigan, landed a job at that same agency, and have been doing it ever since! (Twelve years now!) I wanted to work in children’s literature specifically because of the books that influenced me not only as a child (Are You There, Judy Blume?) but the contemporary writers who shook me even as an adult (Laurie Halse Anderson: thank you, thank you, thank you). There really is no greater job than to help foster the next generation of readers. I am so blessed every single day that I get to help do just that. 

When you read a submission, what keeps you turning the pages? Voice, voice, voice! Strong voice pulls me in, and keeps me reading! If I find a voice I love, I will follow that character anywhere. I truly believe that we, as an agent-author team can fix things like plot issues, we can work on character development, but voice is something I can’t teach you. You have to find your character’s voice, develop it, listen to it, nurture it, and your story will shine. 

When you offer representation to an author, what can they expect from you? I’m an incredibly editorial agent (Just ask my clients! They absolutely love all the revisions I ask them to do! Right, guys?). This means I really am looking for authors who are interested in a partnership. When I call to offer to represent you, I’m really saying “Let’s do this thing, together, for as long as we both shall live.” I like to say I represent careers, not books, so whether we are working on your manuscript, building your platform via social media, or just having a chat about how awesome our dogs are, it’s all about finding that connection and building a relationship. Of course representing an author begins with the work, that’s what draws me in, but there’s so much beyond that. Find an agent who you can really see yourself being with long-term. Your work, and career, will be better for it! 

What's on your manuscript wish list? I would love a great young adult thriller. Think Gillian Flynn for teens. I’m also always looking for a great middle grade ghost story. One of my early favorite authors was (and still is!) John Bellairs, who wrote The House with a Clock in its Walls, and I’ve loved a good scary story ever since! (Fun fact: John Bellairs is from my tiny hometown of Marshall, MI and his stories are all based on a fictionalized version of the town). While I love an adventure book, I’m also always looking for a poignant story, whether it’s middle grade or YA. I’m not afraid of tough issue books in YA, or a MG which deals with the loss of a sibling. I think kids are really looking for books they can escape in or relate to, and it’s our jobs as members of the children’s book community to provide those stories. 

If you think your manuscript is a fit for Carrie, send her a query letter and the first 20 pages of your manuscript (or full mss. for picture book) to