Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Illustrator Series: Collaborative Brief with Will Steele, Usborne Books

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Date(s) - 08/10/2016
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

House of Illustration
2 Granary Square - London, N1C 4BH


Why would you want to participate in a masterclass like this? Well, have you ever been frustrated after sending out samples and queries and never hear back, or have received the customary, “Thank you so much for sharing your work with us but it doesn’t fit our style (or you fill in the rest). Good luck with your future endeavours.”? Yes, rejection is part of the process, but would you like specific, clear direction that can actually help you figure out what you need to do to get your work publishable? Then this is the masterclass for you.

Will Steele, senior designer at Usborne, has graciously agreed to give feedback on fifteen submissions beginning with the roughs. Then he will look at all the work brought in to the face to face class on the 8  October at the House of Illustration. The only way you get this type of feedback is if you were actually working with the publisher.

There are 8 people already accepted for turning in roughs (they signed up for the 4 session discount). Don’t despair! If you are not one of the 7 other people who can participate in receiving feedback, you can still attend the event and take part in the critiques on the day. Bookings will be open for the actual on the day masterclass up until the 7 October.

The Brief
Will has assigned a book cover (colour) and inside illustration (black and white) for a children’s book classic, 6 – 9 age range. Which children’s classic is up to you as long as it is in the correct age range. Size formats for the books vary, so I suggest you go to your local book store with a ruler and check out the size and formats of most books for this age range. It will also give you a good idea of what is being produced now as classic books are reprinted all the time.

31 July – Deadline for cover and inside illustration roughs. My suggestion is you submit up to three ideas for each one.

Tips: produce your roughs in the size and format of your final cover and inside illustration. Compositions can look radically different when taken into a different aspect ratio and size. Consider showing tone in your rough to give more information about the composition you are working on. Please include a sample of your artwork to give Will an idea of how you work. Do not include typography, but do tell us the classic book your are submitting for.

31 August – All feedback will be returned to you in written form. You will then have a little over a month to take your piece or pieces to final applying the feedback given. Please bring your feedback with you on the day, it's helpful to all of us, including Will, to know what you were aiming for.

So, no time to loose! The last 7 places left to participate in the pre-masterclass feedback are assigned at a first come, first served basis. I will let you know right away if you made it. Please send all roughs to me at by the 31 July!

Will Steele

Will Steele currently works as a senior designer with Usborne Publishing. With extensive experience in publishing, he specialises in covers, books, magazines and all design for print. Will has worked as Art Director of fiction at Templar Publishing and Piccadilly Press as well as a freelance senior designer at Penguin Random House Children's Publishers and Faber and Faber before joining Usborne.