Susan Eaddy is the Illustrator Coordinator for the Midsouth SCBWI and the illustrator of over 80 books in the educational market. She was also an art director for 15 years and is a wealth of information for illustrators starting their career.
“Being a professional illustrator takes time. Like many adventures and journeys, you never know what’s going to come next, so enjoy the process.”
Build Your Portfolio
Choose your pieces appropriate for your audience. Remember you’re illustrating for children. Consider each piece for character, setting, perspective, expression, action, and story.
Get your work out there
Susan feels one of the best ways to build and add to your portfolio is to enter the contests and intensives like the ones you’ll find at you local SCBWI chapter. You want people in the industry to see and discuss your work. Illustration Friday and Illustration Mundo are also great opportunities online. Art directors are looking at those sites.
Create a mailing list from your SCBWI book and send postcards 3-4 times a year.
Susan believes postcards are the start of the AD/illustrator relationship.
Develop a website or a blog and make sure to keep it updated. You want your new work on there when an art director checks it out. There’s no end to the resources online for showing your work and networking with other illustrators.
Get work and keep clients by being professional and meeting deadlines. The children’s book industry runs on relationships. Always do your best work and word will spread.
Her words on rejection and developing a thick skin:
“You’re always growing. Nobody can do what YOU do. It’s scary to bare your soul, but you are not alone.”