SoCal Illustrator Meet-ups

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Joy Hwang Ruiz - Guest Speaker for June 8 Illustrator Meet-up

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Joy Hwang Ruiz, Illustrator

Joy Hwang Ruiz is a NYT Best seller children’s book illustrator. She has published 7 picture books & board books in the past 4 years while working from home with her 2 young children here in O.C. She will share her illustration process, working knowledge from traditional publishing houses, and finding balance working from home. Her growing list of publishers include Dial/Penguin, Chronicle, Scholastic, Little Simon, MacMillan, Viking/Penguin, Abram. Her work have been featured in Original Art Show in Society of Illustrator in NYC, selected as one of the best books of the year by Bank Street College of Education. She is represented by Molly O’Neill of Root Literary Agency. You can find more about Joy’s work : / instagram @momisdrawing

Welcome Illustrators!

Come join other illustrators for art critiques and discussions on industry topics. All experience levels welcome!

WHEN: Saturday, June 8, 10:00am to 12:00 noon

Typically we meet the second Saturday morning of each month.

WHERE: Hybrid-

In person at the Irvine Ranch Water District - Community Meeting Room

15500 Sand Canyon Ave, Irvine, CA 92618

OR Zoom.

Please email Su Moon: or Kunj Bhatt at and be added to the illustrator emails.


  • Exchange Ideas And Mingle:  Meetups are the best place to get to know one another! Come hang out. 
  • Illustration prompts: Prompts will be announced  a month before the meeting. Then we will critique each other’s illustration during the meeting. The goal is to develop your portfolio. 
  • Portfolio Hot Seats: Illustrators can submit their portfolio to be reviewed by the group. You can ask once a year. 
  • Guest Speakers: We occasionally have guest speakers!
  • 15 Minutes Topic of the Month: We pick a topic every month such as agents, self promotion etc. Ask anything, share anything!


Keep up with announcements, polls and discussions by following us on social media and signing up to be on the illustrator email list. 


Future meeting dates will be:

July 13- Hybrid - Irvine Ranch Water District

Aug 10 - Hybrid - Irvine Ranch Water District

Sept 14 - Zoom - Guest Speaker: Nidhi Chanani 

Oct (no meeting, Fall Harvest 10/5)

Nov 9 - Zoom

Dec 14 - Zoom - Guest speaker: Anoosha Syed

Maple Lam - Guest Speaker July 13 meet-up

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Maple Lam

Maple Lam is the author and illustrator of DIM SUM, HERE WE COME, MY LITTLE SISTER AND ME, and WHERE ARE THE TREASURES (Chinese). Her debut graphic novel series, MONKEY KING AND THE WORLD OF MYTHS, will come out April, 2024. She is the illustrator of SHAKE MY SILLIES OUT (written by Raffi), WHAT CAN WE DO WITH A TOOLBOX (written by Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri), FRENEMIES IN THE FAMILY (written by Kathleen Krull), and TWO GIRLS WANT A PUPPY (written by Ryan and Evie Cordell). Maple was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Greater Los Angeles at age 11. She studied Studio Arts at University of California, Irvine and took night classes at Art Center College of Design. After working as a designer and art director at an event design firm for seven years, she transitioned to become a full time author-illustrator. Maple currently lives in sunny and beautiful Greater Los Angeles, USA. You can find out more about Maple at, on Instagram @maplelam, or on Substack,, where she shares everything she loves about comics and graphic novels.

Anoosha Syed - Guest Speaker Dec. 14 meet-up

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Anoosha Syed

Anoosha Syed is a children's book author, illustrator, and character designer for animation. She has worked on many beloved books including the award-winning Bilal Cooks Daal and I Am Perfectly Designed, as well as her authored titles That's Not My Name! and Lost Stick. Her past clients include Disney Jr, Netflix, Nickelodeon, Target and Google. In her spare time, Anoosha hosts a YouTube channel dedicated to accessible illustration education. Anoosha Syed shares her journey into art school, starting her illustration career and beyond. She will host a Q&A session to answer all your questions on the publishing industry, starting an illustration business, pricing and contracts, agents, and more.