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.

A smart critique will make the difference

Denise Fleming received the Caldecott Honor for In the Small, Small Pond (Henry Holt and Company.) Her colorful concept books for very young children, distinguished by great language and rambunctiously beautiful art are a staple in children's libraries and elementary school libraries across the country.

Author and popular writing teacher Jodell Sadler directs KidLit College, which provides classes on how to craft musical language, irresistible comic timing and "Wow" pacing for children's picture books and other topics of interest to children's writers and author-illustrators.

In December's interactive live critique Jodell and Denise examined 30 illustration submissions. They came with their prepared notes of recommendations to make the pieces better.

They pulled no punches. Sometimes they drew on copies of the art to suggest corrections or changes in a composition. 

They talked with viewers and each other about the need for more 'story' in the pictures and brainstormed ideas for heightening character interaction and elements to add to scenes to create reader anticipation and compel 'page turns.'

Jodell even visited the websites of some of the submitting artists and made helpful observations.

Catch the replay of this exciting live event – and participate in new live critique sessions with KidLit professionals every month!

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

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Only $8.95

Join us around the table.

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

Author-illustrator Jeff Crosby

Jeff Crosby

Marsha Riti

Marsha Riti

Christy Stallop

Christy Stallop

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.

Subscribe Now to Guest Group Critiques

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.)