Curating Your Craft: Art Director Assignment

Art Director Assignment: Illustrating a Middle Grade Cover

To participate in the AD assignment you must register and pay an additional $10.

Feedback on the attendees' assignments will be given at the event either by the Art Director or the Editor. Feedback will be given verbally in an open format, so all attendees can learn from each other's critiques.

The Art Director Assignment is due October 4, 2024. Please send a jpg or pdf to Berrie ( by October 4, 2024. In the Subject line please put - Art Director Assignment/Your name.

I’m so excited to be working on a book cover with you! Attached below are 3 cover briefs for you to review. These are books that have been published and can be found at a local library, perhaps even as an e-book or audio book. We often repackage books after hardcover for the paperback edition to give it a fresh life in the book store in hopes of attracting new readers. I’m asking YOU to come up with a fresh new look for these covers. Please don’t just recreate the current cover, what’s the fun in that?!


A few things about the cover brief to get you started:

  • Book title: You will want to keep the title in mind while sketching, so the image and the title work together to attract readers.
  • Age range: These are all middle grade books, so your intended audience is in the range of 8-12. This is important to keep in mind. 
  • Trim: 5 ¼ X 7 5/8. It’s important to work with the trim in sketches, so that you don’t face any surprises when you go to final.
  • Comp titles: Otherwise known as competitive titles. We always want to know where the book will fit on the shelf and what readers of this book may also be reading. 
  • Characters: I’ve included a small list of characters to get you started, but have left the rest of the research to you. 

Next Steps:

  • Select the brief that most inspires you.
  • Review materials, and start sketching!
  • Consider submitting 2-3 sketches that show different compositions, rather than getting focused on 1 fully rendered sketch. Don’t forget to leave room for the title and author’s name.
  • You can illustrate a pivotal scene, key character, iconic object, or tell the story with hand lettering. Anything goes in sketches!

Can’t wait to see what you all come up with.


Brief Options for the Art Director Assignment


Option #1


Option #2


Option #3