Illustrator Info

By Sarah Baker
I had the extreme pleasure of attending the SCBWI San Francisco South’s 10th Annual Illustrator Day this past weekend. It was a fun, informative and inspiring event—I can’t wait to go back! SF South Ill Day
The event was held in an old firehouse at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, where about 100 people gathered to hear talks by Marla Frazee, author/illustrator extraordinaire, Allyn Johnston, VP & Publisher of Beach Lane Books, and Ann Bobco, executive art director of three of Simon & Schuster’s children’s imprints. The trio were engaging, generous, and had so much knowledge about the book making process to impart. We learned all about how Marla and Allyn developed three of Marla’s most famous picture books, about Ann Bobco’s cover design process, and the making of The Bossier Baby, Marla Frazee’s sequel to The Boss Baby. The day was organized by Illustrator Coordinator Lea Lyon, as well as Regional Advisor Naomi Kinsman and Assistant Regional Advisors Tim McCanna and Kristi Wright. 
Attendees also received helpful one-on-one critiques with Marla, Allyn, Ann and the rest of the faculty, including Kristine Brogno, Children’s Design Director, Chronicle Books; John Clapp, Professor of Illustration, San Jose State University; Danielle Smith, Agent, Red Fox Literary; Simon Stahl, Art Director, Creston Books; Dana Goldberg, Freelance Children’s Book Editor, Exploratorium; ?Julie Downing, Author/Illustrator and Children’s Lit Teacher; and Dr. Mira ReisbergAward-winning mentor, Director of Children’s Book Academy.
Many of the attendees entered their stellar portfolios in the portfolio showcase. They were beautiful and varied, and so much fun to view. The winner of the showcase was Maya Huang (, with honor recipients Shirley Ng-Benitez ( and Grace Chen ( 
I gave a talk on how to make the most of your SCBWI membership as an illustrator. My number one tip? The more member benefits you participate in, the more visibility you get! And always keep your Illustrator Gallery current for your best chance to be chosen as Featured Illustrator. 
If you’re thinking about attending a SCBWI event in your area, go for it! You’re sure to meet new friends, make connections and improve your craft.