This is the blog home of #kidlitart, a live Twitter chat Thursdays at 9:00 pm Eastern, for children's book illustrators, picture book authors, author/illustrators and friends. Check back weekly to read transcripts, comment on previous chats and suggest topics for upcoming chats.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

#kidlitart28 Art Challenge

Howdy, #kidlitart-ers!

We're so happy you're jumping into February's Twenty-Eight Day Challenge with us.

The topic for the chat on January 26th was all about finding your voice as an illustrator. Our idea is to give y'all a chance to springboard yourselves further into finding the answer to that question.

Here are the guidelines:

1. Draw something every day for the month of February. (Or really, as often as you can.) The medium is up to you: traditional, digital, combined mediums-whatever works.

2. Each day should feature a theme, creature, idea, character, etc. that you LOVE. You are illustrating things that you are ALL ABOUT. Not just as an artist. As a person. What tickles your fancy? What do you geek out about? What stories would you tell if you just had the chance?

b. You can choose to focus on ONE theme the entire month, or do a different theme every day.

3. The finish of each illustration is up to you. It can be a simple pencil or pen sketch, or you can take it all the way to full color.
      b. You can challenge yourself by setting a time limit. Say, 28 minutes? 

4. Post every day (or as often as you can) to tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, etc., but especially Twitter (so #kidlitart-ers can see) your love of the day. And tag it with #kidlitart28

5. No, you do not have to be an official member of #kidlitart to participate. Everyone is welcome.

Our hope is that at the end of this challenge you will be able to look back at these sketches and see the stories, themes, and characters that appeal to you the most. With a bank of beloved topics, who wouldn't be inspired to then create a new picture book, comic, or novel? Wouldn't you want to take at least one of those illustrations further and see where they take you?

We hope so.

So start brainstorming about what you'd be happy to draw for twenty-eight days straight. .

Thursday, January 5, 2017


After years of doing the Picture Book Dummy Challenge, we here at #kidlitart wanted to mix things up. One of the most important factors in an illustrator getting assignments is their portfolio, so we're going back to basics. This year we are going to be kicking off the Build A Portfolio Challenge, or #BAPC. Here is the rundown:

1. During the last #kidlitart chat of each month a #BAPC portfolio prompt will be announced. For those seeking a real challenge, a secondary prompt will also be offered for each month. These prompts are to be completed during the month following the announcement. The goal is to have new pieces to add to your portfolio when the challenge concludes this summer. Whether that number is six or twelve, it is up to you.

2. The chats where the prompts are announced will focus on the theme of the prompt shared. Obviously everyone and anyone will still be able to participate in the chat. It will be children's illustration centered.

3 We will have three scheduled Show & Tells for participants to share their #BAPC pieces for critique, or just to get a pat on the back for finishing. If participants would like additional critique  this can take place in the #kidlitart Challenge FB group and will be self-directed.

4.  When you post your work on Twitter and especially Instagram, be sure to tag it with #BAPC so the #kidlitart community sees it! It wouldn't hurt to tag it with #kidlitart, either.

5. After every #BAPC prompt is announced in the #kidlitart chat, it will be added to the list below so that folks who miss the chat can keep up.

#BAPC Prompts: 
1. Create an illustration featuring HUMANS (aged from infants->toddlers) interacting. How many and what they’re doing is up to you, but they need to be LITTLE KIDS.

(Optional) Create a second piece featuring a small group of young children sporting different emotions and expressions than the first piece you illustrated.

*Keep in mind those chats about accurately reflecting the diverse world we live in as well as using your voice (personality) in the creation process.
*Remember our chats about varying expressions and how your portfolio shouldn't be filled with happy-happy-happy. Variety is the spice of life!
*This is also a great time to explore your character poses and postures. Expression isn't just in the face!
*Have FUN.

1. Create an illustration that features characters, composition, technique, medium, subject matter etc. that is completely outside the box for you. Bust out of your comfort zone for this one!

(Optional) Participate in the #kidlitart28 challenge. This is maybe a chance to explore your outside the box topic?

* The goal here is to try something new. Don't get locked in on perfection. Play, shape your personal challenge into something that appeals to you and it will actually become appealing.

1. Create a black and white illustration that would fit into the chapter book or middle grade market.

(Optional) Create a second piece featuring the same characters from in a scene with the opposite time of day or lighting as the first piece.

*Remember: chapter book readers are older readers, so your characters and scenes need to reflect that. No toddlers being featured.

*Don't forget to thumbnail like crazy. Play with composition, value, textures, etc BEFORE you go to final. Save yourself the heartache!

1. Illustrate a piece that focuses on setting. Consider inside and outside environment, contemporary or whimsical. Remember setting is important and should be just as developed as the characters in the scene (if there are any). Don't forget to play with a variety of compositions/perspectives to make the most of the scene.

(Optional)  Illustrate the same setting during the opposite time of day/lighting as the initial piece. This doesn't mean the perspective or composition has to be exactly the same. Just the location.

1. Create an illustration featuring animal characters: anthropomorphic or realistic in a scene or situation of your choosing.

(Optional) Illustrate a second piece featuring character(s) from the first piece in a different environment & time of day.

1. Illustrate a piece featuring characters (child-elderly) experiencing an emotion BESIDES "happy." They need to have something beyond the placid smile that is so easily a default expression for many illustrators. Choose the age of the character and their emotion wisely.

(Optional) Create a second piece featuring the same character(s) but with a different emotion: scared, exhausted, angry, suspicious, confused, satisfied so that the two pieces either show together as a cause+effect.


Questions? Comment below!