Los Angeles Region

Mentorship Contest 2019: Illustrators and Author/Illustrators


Six-month mentorship with Bethany Barton. The mentorship will include six months of interaction and critiques, including email communication at least twice a month, with a phone/Skype (or, depending on location, sometimes face-to-face) meeting once a month.


The contest is open to both illustrators and author/illustrators. Bethany Barton will help the mentee to evaluate & elevate art pieces in their portfolio and/or a picture book dummy they are currently working on. Her focus will be helping the mentee to:

– develop their personal voice/aesthetic in their projects

– recognize their strengths and utilize them

– polish their portfolio pieces and/or picture book dummy

– discuss the process of illustration and the digital layout process for picture books

– explore the picture book audience/market and the mentee’s ambitions as an author/illustrator

– find the life balance between writing/illustrating and marketing, working, family, etc.

“I am most interested in helping an illustrator or author/illustrator develop their personal voice and aesthetic in their projects. Everyone has a story to tell, but what makes this story uniquely yours? How can you illustrate this story in a way no on else could? I’m excited to be inspired by the talents and voices that make up SCBWI.”

—Bethany Barton


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*SCBWI membership levels: PAL (published and listed), Full (published unlisted), Associate (unpublished)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) Why do you want to make children’s books?

2) What are some of your favorite stories? These could be books, films, folk/religious stories, etc.

3) Quick fire answer; don’t overthink this: Name 3 artists that inspire you. (Could be illustrators, writers, musicians, fine artists, photographers, animators, whatever. Give me your gut response.)

4) Why do you want a mentor? What do you hope to learn or accomplish with a mentor?

5) How are you with criticism? Does it light a fire under you, or cause you to retreat?

6) Are you willing to make significant changes to the project/portfolio you’re submitting, if it

would help make your book/portfolio better?

7) Where do you see your children’s book career in the next 5 years?

8) Do you have a “day job?” How does this serve, influence or hinder your writing/illustration?

II. Digital images

Illustrators: Provide up to 10 images that you feel are a good representation of your work and your visual voice. Works-in-progress and sketches are welcome, but please also include several examples of your completed/polished work.

Author/Illustrators: Provide the first 10 pages of a picture book dummy. By that I mean the first ten pages of text with some illustrations (doesn’t need to be final art; can be work-in-progress.) Provide enough imagery/text to give an idea of your both your book and your style/voice as an author and illustrator.


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 3/22/19.

About Bethany Barton

Bethany Barton is an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books. Her 2015 book "I’m Trying To Love Spiders" (Viking/Penguin) garnered numerous awards and starred reviews, including the 2016 Children’s Choice Award 3rd/4th Grade Book of The Year. Her 2017 book "Give Bees A Chance" (Viking/Penguin) was a 2017 SCIBA Award finalist, was listed in Scripps National Spelling Bee “Great Words, Great Works,” and was featured in the New York Times. Her books have been translated into 3 languages. As well as illustrating her own stories, Barton has illustrated for other authors, including Todd Hasak-Lowy’s hilarious middle grade novel "33 Minutes" (Simon & Schuster.) She is represented by Writers House LLC.

Bethany often spends several weeks of the year touring: doing school visits, speaking to authors and educators, painting colorful murals with students, and sharing her love of books and creativity with young readers at schools and libraries across the globe.

Bethany also has a busy career in the art, prop and set decoration departments for film & TV. Notable projects include ABC Networks "The Muppets", "The Middle", and "`blackish", as well as movies like "Bumblebee", and dozens of commercials. She has created artwork for high-profile clients such as Starbucks & Patagonia, and her art has been featured in gallery shows and installments around California.

Bethany lives in Los Angeles with her amazing husband and son, who are the best ever (no seriously, they’re the best!)



Instagram daily art posts (new!):