Seeking the Specific in Illustration


I found this article helpful; I hope you do too. Beryl


By Diana Zipeto

For years I have worked as an artist, with dreams of being a children’s book illustrator. At last year’s New England SCBWI conference in Springfield, Massachusetts, I had the opportunity for a portfolio review with Candlewick Press Art Director Kristen Nobles. Among the many great tips and feedback she gave me, she told me my characters needed to be more specific.

It was a great bit of info, as I had been working on creating children’s market illustrations for a while in somewhat of a generic way.

When I started thinking of doing children’s book illustration, I was doing large still-life paintings of objects. Not so fun, not kid-oriented, not even illustration!

Then, I started trying to piece together illustrations.


This one had some actual characters in it, but it was not so clear or fun and it took about a thousand years to create. It…

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About berylreichenberg

I am a storyteller. Writing and illustrating books for children, I have published over 35 titles. Three of my books, "Ants on a Log", "Camouflage", and "The Mysterious Case of the Missing Birthday Cake" have been published by a traditional publisher, Oak Tree Press. These are available from Oak Tree and Amazon as well as other outlets. The others are published by and can be seen on their website. Some of my stories are in prose and some in verse. All are designed for small children and young school children. My fiction stories are designed to delight these children and help them learn about themselves and the world around them. I also have a number of nonfiction books about animals, the natural world, and other cultures. I illustrate my stories with drawings and photographs. I hold a Master's Degree from UCLA and have taught school in California. I hope that young children and their adult companions will enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.

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