Illustrator Portfolio Showcase

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We encourage illustrators to submit your portfolio to the Portfolio Showcase! The showcase is $10 to enter, and open to all in-person Saturday attendees. It’s a wonderful way to show off your work to conference faculty and attendees! Please see below for all details and awards. If you have any questions after reading through, please reach out to Austin IC, Laura Fisk, .

What is the portfolio showcase?

The portfolio showcase happens the Saturday of the conference. It’s a way for illustrators to show their work.  Portfolios will be out on tables for all conference attendees and faculty to check out. Each portfolio has about 10 - 15 pieces, showcasing the illustrator’s best work. We have comment cards out for attendees to write encouraging notes about the portfolios! The showcase is out all day on Saturday. 

Why participate? 

It’s a great opportunity for people in the industry to see your work in person. There are prizes! And, it is also a great experience to show your work alongside your fellow illustrators. 

Am I ready?

If you don’t feel ready, that’s ok! Illustrators absolutely attend the conference and do not submit a portfolio. However, if you feel you are close to ready to show your work, the conference is a great deadline to push yourself to have work ready to show.  You should have at least 6 pieces that work together in a portfolio to show at the showcase. If this is the first time you’re showing your work, know that this conference is where many of us also showed our work for the first time.  

What should I show?

Pieces that are relevant to the children’s market, ranging from board books to YA book covers. You should have at minimum 6 pieces, with the sweet spot of 10 - 12 of your best pieces. Please try to not have more than 16 pieces. Less is always more! 


Portfolio Showcase participants are eligible to win:

  • Portfolio Showcase Grand Prize Winner - gets a $50 art store gift card, and to illustrate a banner for the chapter’s website (if you would like)
  • 2 Portfolio Showcase Honor Winners - each get a $25 gift card to the art store of your choice
  • Emerging Voice Mentorship - mentors with a PAL chapter illustrator for the year. 

Judging is done by our faculty Art Director and Keynote Illustrator. They will review the portfolios in person at some point in the day privately.  Winners will be announced during closing announcements at the end of conference day Saturday. 

When dropping off your portfolio on Saturday you can choose to opt out of being considered for any of the awards and/or mentorship. Participants usually choose this if they are seasoned published illustrators. 

Details and qualifications:

  • You must be participating in the conference in person on Saturday to be eligible to participate in the conference Portfolio Showcase. 
  • Your images must be displayed in an actual “portfolio” -  this can be as simple as a 3 ring binder or a basic plastic sleeve portfolio. No loose pages please. 
  • Portfolios are dropped off Saturday morning anytime before the opening announcements. You will be notified as to where closer to the conference date. 
  • Portfolios can be no wider than 23” open (that’s a vertical 11x14 portfolio) and no taller than 16”. A reminder that most picture books are not larger than 14x14. Having your work displayed no larger than that size is the most relevant to see how it would look in a PB.
  • If you have a dummy, you may include one dummy along with your portfolio. Please make sure the dummy is attached to your portfolio in some way.
  • Your portfolio (and optional dummy) must include your full name and your contact info. 
  • We recommend you have some sort of promotional materials to place along with your portfolio - items like 4x6 postcards, small stickers, or business cards to put out with your work. (These are great to trade as well!) Please limit yourself to 2 types of promotional materials. 
  • Your portfolio and materials must be picked up at the end of conference day Saturday. We are not responsible for any portfolios or materials left at the end of the day. 
  • Doing a critique or portfolio review? You will pick up your portfolio where it’s displayed before your critique, and then bring it back afterwards. 

When can I sign up?

You may sign up during registration or if you decide after you have registered you will need to update your registration.