Emerging Voice Illustrator Mentor Award

The Austin SCBWI chapter is proud to offer the Emerging Voice Illustrator Mentorship. The winner will receive a year's mentorship with a local published illustrator to help bring their work to the next level. Illustrators entering the Portfolio Showcase at the Austin SCBWI Conference are eligible to apply. The mentor will choose an illustrator based on the portfolios in the Showcase.


The 2023 Emerging Voice Illustrator Mentor is the wonderful Vanessa Roeder.

Vanessa Roeder is an award-winning author—illustrator, a painter, and a crafty mess-maker. A former muralist, she now spends her time making books for children. Her work is created with layers of paper, acrylic paint, colored pencils, thread, trinkets, and a little bit of digital magic. In addition to making art, she loves teaching art, acting in plays, and speaking at schools, conferences, libraries, and bookstores any opportunity she gets. She lives in Austin, TX with her husband, three kids, and two hairy dogs who continually feed her ideas for the next story.

Mentors in this program rotate each year. We're lucky to have these other illustrators in our program:

C.S. Jennings is the illustrator of over two-dozen books for kids; working with publishers like Penguin Group Books, Scholastic, Houghton Mifflin, and Sterling Publishing. His specialties are middle-grade, character design, humor in storytelling, and art direction. He illustrated the TLA Bluebonnet 2020-2021 Master List book, From an Idea to Disney. He’s the author of Animal Band; Hello, Texas!; and Too Close Panda (Penguin, 2023). A Texas native, he makes his home in Austin where he bikes and hikes, wandering the hill country looking for inspiration.

Starting in 2024, Patrice Barton will join as a mentor. She is the illustrator of countless beautiful books – most recently Brave Every Day and The Invisible Boy. She earned her BFA in Studio Art from UT in Austin TX, where she lives today with her family and good dog, Archer. Her picture book illustrations have twice been accepted into the Society of Illustrator’s Original Art Exhibit. She also received an “outstanding portfolio” certificate in the fifth grade from Sister Mary Pacella, which was the prime motivation for pursuing her dream job, illustrating children’s books.