Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Illustrator Information: Portfolio Critiques and Showcase

Portfolio Showcase

The Portfolio Showcase doesn’t have a deadline. Just bring your portfolio to the Portfolio Showcase Room from 8:15-8:45 am and sign a release.

The Portfolio Showcase is a FREE opportunity open to MEMBERS ONLY. Portfolio drop-off is from 8:15-8:45 am, and pick-up is at 4:20pm. Artists may display their work on tables in our “Portfolio Showcase Room” during the conference. To participate, please complete a release form and leave it with Co-RA Kristen Schwartz when you arrive to drop your portfolio off. The release form will be available the day of the conference, or you can find it HERE for quicker drop-off. Portfolio Guidelines are HERE.

Attendees and faculty will be encouraged to leave written notes for artists. Faculty Judges will choose one winner, who will receive a FREE Portfolio Critique at next year’s Spring Spirit Conference. 

Face-to-Face Portfolio Critiques 

Portfolio critiques are paid, 15 minute, face-to-face consultations for feedback on your illustrations with our faculty Art Director. Only SCBWI members are eligible. Please note this is different from the Portfolio Showcase. THERE ARE NO REFUNDS ON PORTFOLIO CRITIQUES! NO EXCEPTIONS.

Fee: $50. Payment for critique and registration must be received by March 15, 2020 for you to be included in the schedule of meetings.  We have a limited number of available spaces. Assignments are made on first-come, first-served basis. You will receive your scheduled time on the morning of the conference. All portfolio critiques will be performed by Art Director Ellice Lee. You can read about her on the faculty bios page. Remember, this is a critique session. Though an industry professional may invite you to submit samples later, it is highly unlikely that you will be offered a contract at this meeting. 

Critique Guidelines

See Portfolio section HERE for portfolio guidelines.  

Before Your Critique:

• Put ONLY your very best work in your portfolio and make sure it reflects the type of work you will be pursuing.

• Use the best printouts of your work that you can.

• Decide what you want to accomplish in your consultation. i.e., how to improve your work, get suggestions for marketing, etc. 

• Be prepared to discuss your work, i.e., genres/subjects you prefer (fiction, nonfiction, novel covers, picture books, board books, etc.); target audience; and what is unique about your work. You may even want to practice what you’re going to say or ask. 

• Make a small lo-res printout of your portfolio to make notetaking easier.

• Be on time – appointments are booked back to back. If you are late, you still have to end on time. Arrive early, so you can start on time. 

Missed appointments cannot be made up or receive a refund. 

• You may have to leave a session early or come to a session late because of your consultation. Try to enter/exit as unobtrusively as possible. 

• If applicable, remember to give yourself plenty of time to quietly pick up your portfolio ahead of time from the Portfolio Showcase. (Portfolios are judged at the very beginning of the conference, so you won’t miss the judging.)

During Your Critique:

• Be concise and ask specific questions. 

• Take notes. 

• Be professional, organized, courteous, and responsible. 

After Your Critique Remember Artist-To-Industry-Pro Etiquette: 

• Depart graciously and promptly when your time is up – (others are waiting or the faculty member is scheduled for a workshop or much needed break). 

• Do not ask your reviewer to take art samples home. 

• Do not contact an art director, editor, or agent unless invited specifically to do so (except when submitting samples allowed using submission guidelines supplied by the AD). 

• You may submit samples to the faculty after the conference according to the instructions in your conference folder.