Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Portfolio 911: A six-month intensive workshop for illustrators with four fantastic faculty mentors!

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Date(s) - 01/12/2019 - 07/20/2019
9:30 am - 4:00 pm

Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Branch
1901 Vine Street - Philadelphia, PA 19147



Eastern PA SCBWI Proudly Presents


Portfolio 911



Registration is now full. If you’d like to be put on a waiting list, please email


Whether you’re looking for an agent or a book contract, every illustrator needs a portfolio. It’s our most important marketing tool. If you don’t have one, 2019 is your year to buckle down and get to work under the guidance of four fantastic faculty members. And, if you do have a portfolio but haven’t enjoyed the career success you hoped for yet, our faculty can help steer your work in a more marketable direction.   


Portfolio 911 is a six-month intensive workshop for intermediate to advanced illustrators who wish to develop a portfolio of work appropriate for the children’s book industry or who believe their current portfolios could have more impact. During three full-day workshops, our esteemed faculty, which includes:


Author-Illustrator Jonathan Bean;

Art Director Semadar Megged;

Senior Agent Rebecca Sherman, Writers House; and

Senior Designer Aram Kim, Roaring Brook Press and Farrar Straus Giroux, Macmillan Children’s Publishing


will share their insights on what makes a winning portfolio and provide feedback on attendees’ work. The program is designed to let every illustrator work at their own pace and be successful by setting a series of short-term goals and offering feedback and support along the way. Before every meeting, illustrators will complete a pre-workshop assignment. Illustrators will upload this work to a shared Dropbox folder two weeks prior to the meeting for the faculty and fellow illustrators to review. Meetings will begin with one to two presentations by the faculty. Then we will move on to the critiques. Critiques will be delivered verbally and in an open format so all attendees will learn from the feedback. Between meetings, registered illustrators will have the opportunity to communicate and share work. Due to the amount of personal feedback, registration is limited to 15 attendees. For more information about our faculty, please follow this link.


REGISTRATION: $400 Members, $450 Non-Members. Registration is now full. If you’d like to be put on a waiting list, please email

*Cancellation Policy: All cancellations prior to December 15, 2018 will be subject to a $25 cancellation fee. NO REFUNDS after 12/14/2018.

If you are paying with a credit card, please note there is a step in the payment process where you must select PayPal. This often confuses people.  Please continue and the next step will give you a choice of paying by credit card or paying via a PayPal account. 


Illustrators who register must have access to a scanner and be capable of uploading JPGs/PDFs to a shared Dropbox folder. 

After carefully reading the information on this event page, if you still have questions, please contact Virginia Law Manning, Eastern PA Illustrator Coordinator, at


SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY: New this year, we will offer one scholarship that will cover the cost of event registration. Additional expenses, such as transportation to/from the event, are not included. Any current EPA SCBWI member may apply. To apply, please send an email to by November 27th with a link to a website that has examples of your illustrations and an explanation why you’re applying for the scholarship. Winner will be notified by email 11/29/2018.The scholarship winner must arrive at the event at 8:30 AM and stay until 5 PM to assist with set-up/clean-up before/after the event and should assist during the event as needed. SCBWI reserves the right not to award a scholarship if applicants do not meet necessary criteria. Please email questions to EPA Illustrator Coordinator, Virginia Law Manning, at Don’t forget the 11/28/2018 deadline!    



All meetings will occur at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Branch, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. A catered lunch will be provided by La Brulee and is included with the registration fee. 


Pre-Workshop Assignment: Due December 29, 2018. Each registered illustrator will upload 3 to 5 illustrations and 8 to 12 thumbnail sketches to a shared Dropbox folder. (I’ll send an email with more specifics to illustrators once they register.) This will allow the faculty time to review the illustrators’ work prior to the first meeting and provide more thoughtful feedback at the meeting.


Meeting #1

When: Saturday, January 12th*, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  (*Please note new date.)

Faculty: Author-Illustrator Jonathan Bean and Art Director Semadar Megged

Agenda: The first meeting will begin with presentations by our faculty. Then each illustrator will have approximately 10 minutes to share their work and receive feedback from the faculty. Mentor author-illustrator Jonathan Bean and art director Semadar Megged will help illustrators build on their strengths as they move forward. The faculty will also review the illustrators’ thumbnails of new illustrations they hope to create.

Homework: Assignment to be submitted digitally by March 15th. Each participant will revise their thumbnails and develop refined sketches/color studies and upload these to the shared Dropbox folder.


Meeting #2

When: Saturday, March 30, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Faculty: Author-Illustrator Jonathan Bean and Christopher Brown, Curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collection, Free Library of Philadelphia

Agenda: At the second meeting, Christopher Brown will discuss his selection process for artwork to be included in an upcoming exhibition of children’s book illustrations that depict the Five Senses. During the critique portion of the day, each participant will have 15 to 20 minutes to present their refined sketches and color studies and receive feedback from illustrator Jonathan Bean and the other members in the group. I encourage all participants to review all files in the Dropbox folder prior to the meeting, as we hope this meeting is a group discussion. 

Homework: Assignment to be submitted digitally by July 5th. Each participant will develop their refined sketches/color studies into final, color illustrations. Art directors like to see 8 to 12 illustratrations in a portfolio; however, each illustrator is encouraged to work at their own pace and remember quality is more important than quantity.                                        


Meeting #3

When: Saturday July 20, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Faculty: Author-illustrator Jonathan Bean, Art Director Aram Kim, and Agent Rebecca Sherman

Agenda: Following formal presentations by Aram Kim and Rebecca Sherman, each illustrator will have approximately 10 minutes to share their portfolio with the group and receive feedback from the faculty. The faculty will help guide them in the next step of development.

Homework: Refine illustrations to address feedback. Post your illustrations on your illustrator website. Encourage art directors, designers, editors and agents to review your online portfolio by developing and mailing three to four promotional postcards each year to industry professionals. Make high-quality prints of your illustrations and include them in a physical portfolio. Register for one-on-one portfolio critiques and display your portfolio in portfolio showcases at SCBWI events, including EPA SCBWI Illustrator Day on September 14, 2019! 


I hope you’ll join us for this unique opportunity. Illustrators who took EPA’s “Picture Book Masterclass” in 2018 knocked our socks off and unanimously rated the program a 5 out of 5! We’ve tweaked the format to make this year’s program even better. I hope to see you on January 12th!

Remember, if you’ve carefully read all the information on this page and still have questions, please contact Virginia Law Manning, Eastern PA Illustrator Coordinator, at


This event is fully booked.