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Sunday, February 26, 2017


I am so glad I made it to this years SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Illustration conference! Last year, I was home sick with the flu! The illustration conference for the Utah/Idaho region of SCBWI is held yearly, usually in February, (but next year, I hear it's in March!) in Salt Lake City, UT. What a memorable experience this year's conference was for me! I have to put a shout out to Shawna Tenny, Manelle Oliphant, Sherry Meidell, and Jen Eichelberger. They did an amazing job organizing this year's conference! With bagels, cream cheese, milk and juice for breakfast and the home made soups, breads and cookies for lunch, along with the amazing guest speakers, it was a wonderful day to remember!

This year's conference focused on middle grade book covers. The first speaker was Nicki Carmack, Art Director, from Peachtree Publishing. It was such a pleasure listening to her English accent while she spoke! (Something about me: I listen to audio books when I'm working and there's just something wonderful about listening to a book read with an English accent! I think it's as simple as another "something" to draw me into the book's setting or world, as you will.) Nicki shared good insights on the design of book covers.

Her main points were:
  • The 10 foot rule.  I hadn't heard of this before, but great advice! She says to stand back from the art about 10 feet and see if it can be seen and understood, clearly. She continues by saying most people read it off of phones and tablets, nowadays, so the image must be simple enough to be read at a small size.
  • Don't give away secrets.  The book cover shouldn't show you the ending of the story or anything that should stay secret and found out only by the reader. A book cover hints at the story. It is the first thing a reader sees before beginning the story so it must be intriguing enough, without giving anything away, to pull the reader in.
  • On trend.  The book cover should be creative and unique but still fit into the current trends of today's book market. Research is the key. Visit your local bookstore and see what's out there.
I sure appreciated her words of knowledge! I will be implementing her suggestions in my next painting!

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