Los Angeles Region

Mentorship Contest 2017: Illustrators or Author/Illustrators


Six-month mentorship with Carmel O’Mara-Horwitz and free tuition to SCBWI-L.A. Writers & Illustrators Day 2018 (or equivalent). The mentorship includes six-months of interaction and critiques via phone, Skype, e-mail, and one-on-one meetings.


O’Mara-Horwitz will help the mentee to evaluate art pieces in their portfolio, and to create a couple of new pieces as necessary. Her focus will be helping the mentee to:

– Understand the difference between making fine art or a single drawing versus storytelling with character development for a picture book – and how to convey this understanding in a portfolio

– Discover and understand the audience for a successful picture book

– Understand book construction, pacing, and layout and how to convey this in a portfolio

– Explore the different platforms for storytelling such as pop-up book construction, apps and digital media

“My focus is on children’s book portfolios, picture book pages, covers and spot artwork.”

– Carmel O’Mara-Horwitz


Submissions: 1/3/17 – 2/14/17

Winner announced: April 14, 2017

Mentorship: May 1 - October 31, 2017


1. You must be a member in good standing of the SCBWI-L.A. region.

2. Associate or Full members may apply. (No PAL members).*

3. Limited to one entry per person.

*SCBWI membership levels: PAL (published and listed), Full (published unlisted), Associate (unpublished)


1. DO NOT contact the mentor directly.

2. Applicants not in compliance with the rules or that do not adhere to the application instructions will be disqualified.

3. To ensure fairness to all, no questions will be answered.


Your submission will consist of two parts:

I. Written responses to the following:

1) Name three children’s book illustrators you admire and why.

2) List any picture books that have influenced you.

3) What is your dream project?

4) Educational background (dates not needed, just a little on how you’ve learned your craft)

5) Previous experiences (can be related to publishing, illustration or anything else you have done).

II. Digital images

Provide up to 10 images that you feel are ready to include in a children’s book portfolio. It would be helpful to include a couple of sketches.


1. Your submission must be emailed with the subject line MENTOR CONTEST to:

2. In the body of your email include:

– Your current SCBWI member name

– Address

– Phone numbers

– Email address

3. Provide your written answers to the questions in Roman numeral I (above) as a PDF attachment. Name your file: LAST NAME_ANSWERS. Example: Seuss_Answers.pdf

4. Your digital images should be 300 dpi, TIF or JPG files and no larger than 5 MB per image. Limit 10 images. Name your files with your last name and a short description: LAST NAME_SHORT IMAGE DESCRIPTION. Use numbers for multiple images with the same description. Example: Seuss_3D clay construction1.tif, Seuss_3D clay construction2.tif and Seuss_Ink sketch for graphic novel.jpg

5. Entries must be received by 11:59pm on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017.

About Carmel O'Mara-Horwitz

Carmel O’Mara-Horwitz is an award-winning author and illustrator of books for children and adults. Her first book, "Good Morning/Good Night", was translated into three languages and has been republished in multiple formats. It was chosen as “Pick of the List” by Publishers Weekly and presented with an ABBY award. She earned her BFA in fine art and illustration at Cal State University at Long Beach and has had tutelage from the renowned artist Uri Shulevitz. She had the honor of attending Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and assisting with student portfolio reviews. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Movable Book Society. Among other things, Carmel has run a successful Kickstarter campaign, leading her to the Bologna Children’s book faire and connections with many different publishers. Besides writing and illustrating traditional and pop-up books, Carmel also has been a Certified Art Teacher and a freelance designer for toys, packaging and home decor.

As a long-time member of SCBWI, Carmel knows how important the mentorship she has received from professionals such as Robert Sabuda have meant to her artistry, not to mention the support of artists who have grown alongside her at mingles and critique groups.

“I am here to assist my mentee to explore the difference between making fine art or a single drawing and storytelling with character development for a picture book, so this is conveyed in a clear and concise manner in their portfolio.”

— Carmel O’Mara-Horwitz