CBIG Meeting Notes January 15 – Neil Swaab, art director, illustrator, writer

by Vicky Rubin on February 6, 2017

CBIG Meeting Notes January 15, 2017

Guest: Neil Swaab, art director, illustrator, designer, cartoonist, author, screenwriter

He did a lot of editorial when he started. Alternative weeklies are good learning grounds. He gained recognition from his web comic.

Advertising pays well and can carry you while you look for other illustration work.

Worked for Spot Co and Serino Coyne – Broadway advertising agencies

Promotion: Suggests sending promo cards to editors, who are the decision makers

Make personal connections

Book Promotion: key librarians who are bloggers

Have a strong dummy, it shows storytelling ability and character continuity

In his opinion, doing your own projects is better than taking self-publishing illustration work. If the author gets picked up by a publishing house, the house will likely choose a new illustrator.

Have a good web site. More people will see that than a physical portfolio. For every piece, ask what problems does it solve? For example, would this be a good piece for Cricket magazine?

Think how the image will be used – picture book spread, middle grade interior, cover?

Don’t show everything you’ve done, even if it was published, only what you want to continue to do.S how less rather than more. You can always show more if they are interested.

Clear out work that is older than the last few years. Portfolio should start and end strong.

Look at silhouettes when constructing shapes.

Give characters expressions, internal lives.

Show relationships between characters.

Make darkness colorful, i.e. not black but rather, deep purple.

As an art director he wants to see full illustrations, carefully considered.

Re having an agent: He has three for the different sectors he is involved in (entertainment, literary, illustration). He still follows up on what they do and makes his own contacts.

To learn more about Neil, visit his Web site: http://neilswaab.com/

Blog: http://neilswaab.com/blog/