Robert Quackenbush has a painting assignment for you
Robert Quackenbush is the author and illustrator of nearly two hundred books for young readers.
His story characters have become known all over the world. Whenever he speaks before audiences of children - which often includes author tours from Alaska to South America and from Europe to the Middle East - he is introduced as the father of Henry the Duck, Detective Mole, Miss Mallard, Pete Pack Rat, Sheriff Sally Gopher, and many more. He is the three-time winner of the American Flag Institute Award for outstanding contributions to children's literature and winner of an Edgar Allan Poe Special Award for best juvenile mystery.
He graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and has a Masters in Social Studies and a Ph.D. in Childhood Education.
He'll be our guest instructor for September's Guest Group Critique, set for 7 p.m. (U.S. Central Time), Wednesday, October 26.
Scroll down for this month's assignment.
A Halloween Hunker Down
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Your fairy tale assignment: Final art for a two-page spread
Robert Quackenbush's assignment for our October 26 Guest Group Critique Halloween Party is straightforward and precise. "It is the way I start my classes," he says. "Fold eight sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of paper in half and gather them together.
"Number each page and you will have 32 pages - the standard number of pages for a picture book."
"Page one will be a title page; Page 2 will be the copyright page; Page 3 will be the dedication page; Page 4 will start you story and Page 32 will end your story.
"On these folded pages layout in quick sketches your story and pictures.
"Then do a finished illustration in any media you chose of a spread from your 'dummy' book (two facing pages is a spread) without text.
"The size of the finished illustration will be 10" x 16" or 8" x 20", depending on whether you want horizontal or vertical 8" x 10" book, which a standard size for a picture book when closed.
"For subject matter I suggest a fairy story or nursery fable – one that hasn't been done before. You can find that out by googling the name of your selection and see if it has been done. There is always a market for unusual folk tales and fables.
"You might even consider a fable or folk tale from India that has not been published before in the U.S for a wide audience including India that looks for books in English. Or write your own story, which is even better."
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.
Click on the photos to see their websites!