An evening with this art director to make your work better

Click the orange button to subscribe to monthly Guest Group Critiques – or purchase a seat for just the March 24 session with Loraine Joyner. (We have just 10 spots left for the one-time session.)

Join us March 24!

Loraine Joyner has recently retired after working 23 years as the senior art director of Peachtree Publishers, which specializes in children's picture books and YA and Middle Grade fiction and nonfiction.

Many of the more than 300 books she has art directed have received awards and critical acclaim, including recently 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Thomas Gonzales, which became a New York Times bestseller.

We enjoyed a great 3 hour plus group critique session with Loraine last month and we're bringing her back for a Part 2 session on Thursday, March 24.

There's still time for you to enjoy this special opportunity to have your work reviewed by a longtime children's publishing professional. Catch her assignment in the above video. (She's asking for a rough sketch for a piece of transitional spot for for any Hans Christian Andersen story you choose.) Submit your sketch by Sunday night, March 20.

Get all the details how to participate in the upcoming March 24 live session and access both replays (March 24 and February 25) and when you register!

  • Loraine Joyner Critique Assignment PDF
    Loraine Joyner Critique Assignment PDF

    Loraine Joyner Critique Assignment PDF – Part 2, rough sketch for spot art.
    Subject: A small, transitional scene for a Hans Christian Andersen tale of your choosing. (Will open in a new tab.)

Monthly group critiques are 'perfect practice'

They tell you...

  • What isn't working

  • When to push harder

  • When to just stop

And help you to...

  • Get a fresh perspective

    Our guest critiquers – illustrators, author-illustrators, children’s literary agents, art directors, maybe an editor or two  – examine your final in a spirit of teaching and mentoring.

  • Think more like a pro

    Watch up close and personal how full-time creatives evaluate and troubleshoot their own and others’ pieces.

  • Prepare for that thing

    That upcoming kidlit (or illustrators’) conference, important promotional mailing, post or sit-down with a client.

  • Sharpen your discernment powers

    Remind you of those bedrock principles of draftsmanship, design and communication. (Funny how they keep bringing you back to those.)

  • Meet your tribe

    Your colleagues and the expert practioners. Who share their What I Wish I Knew Then stories and become your contacts in ‘the biz.’ (It’s called networking.)

  • Get better at getting better

    Practice with critiques helps you understand the hierarchy of feedback and how to navigate it wisely – knowing what’s valid for you now, vs. what to set aside for later.

Participate in new live critique sessions with KidLit professionals every month!

Group critiques – in the classroom or around a cafe table with friends – have been training artists for centuries. Be part of the conversation.

Subscribe hereFor monthly critiques, including March 24 session

Only $8.95 monthly.

Improvement comes from consistent focus

You don't have to upload your work to every session. You just have to listen.

You'll benefit by being there. It's like practicing the proverbial golf swing in your mind.

Whether it's your work being discussed or someone else's, you'll take away invaluable knowledge to help you later — when it's just you behind the drawing table or monitor making those hundreds of decisions (big and small) that go into completing a picture.

You don't have to go it alone...

With a subscription you can participate in all of our monthly live critique programs and immediately access replays of the 11 guest group critiques we enjoyed last year by these top illustrators:

Click on the photos to see their websites!

Mira Reisberg

Mira Reisberg

Karien Naude

Karien Naude

Karien Naude

Chris Schechner

Loraine Joyner

Loraine Joyner

Author-illustrator Jeff Crosby

Jeff Crosby

Marsha Riti

Marsha Riti

Christy Stallop

Christy Stallop

ustyme books art manager Nick Balian with the cover of his

Nick Balian

C.S. Jennings

C.S. Jennings

Annette Simon

Annette Simon

Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell, moderator

Denise Fleming

Denise Fleming

Wendy Martin

Wendy Martin

Mary Sullivan

Mary Sullivan

Jodell Sadler and KidLit College

Jodell Sadler

It's a bit like art school...

But for $8.95 per month.

Get Started Now

We'll keep it real by limiting enrollment.

Secure your spot at the table while it's available.

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30 Day Money Back Guarantee!

Try out the subscription and see what you think of the next Marks and Splashes Guest Group Critique session. If you find it not hugely helpful or just not your cup of tea, write me (c/o the How To Be A Children’s Book Illustrator blog) and I’ll refund you same day, no questions asked, no worries and we’re still friends. Your replays of all of last year’s Guest Critiques are on us, until then.

Also, remember that you can easily cancel your subscription anytime through PayPal (or write me, c/o the blog and I’ll help with that — Mark M.)