Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Bayard magazines - SCBWI at the House of Illustration

A selection of Bayard magazines for a range of age groups.
Last Saturday I went to an SCBWI British Isles overseas illustration opportunities masterclass at the House of Illustration in London. The speakers were Bridget Strevens Marzo, illustrator, and Marianne Vilcoq, art director at Bayard in France.

I came away enthused and impressed by the wonderful Bayard magazines I collected at the event. Bayard publish children's magazines and books all over the world including the UK (known as Story Box here) but the French magazines were my favourites. They are strikingly colourful, illustrated throughout and beautifully designed.

During the masterclass there was an interesting discussion about eyes in illustrations. Apparently UK illustrators too often give their characters closed eyes, OK for characters that are asleep but not good otherwise! Having said that Marianne commissions work from illustrators all around the world including those in the UK.

Marianne's advice for submitting to art directors is to make sure to include character sheets in your portfolio that show lots of different positions and attitudes - this is to demonstrate that your representations of your characters are consistent. She also suggested putting some rough drawings in amongst the finished illustrations to show your working process.

Another tip is that she, and other art directors, often search online for new creative talent so make sure to include your own name in tags and on all your website pages. She said that she often looks for illustrators in Issuu, Pinterest and Instagram. Also Bologna Children's Book Fair seems to be a great place to meet with French art directors such as Marianne, to see the books they publish and to show them your work.

Saturday's event was the first SCBWI-BI illustrators event I'd been to – I hope to go to more. You can find about SCBWI events in the UK on this link, you don't have to be a member to go along.