Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Event: Illustrator Gatherings, Featured Illustrator Interview, and Much More

The Narrative Art Award information is now up on the website!
 For more on this and other grants, click HERE.
Submissions are open September 15 through October 21, 2022.

To submit to be a featured Illustrator on the main SCBWI site click here.

 Scroll down this page to see our chapters featured Illustrator interview and pictures.

It will soon be the one-year anniversary of the death of notable author, naturalist, and longtime SCBWI member, April Pulley Sayre. We invite you to share our conference to honor her memory (on November 5th) with your members. It should be of interest to anyone who wants to write or illustrate nonfiction, particularly about nature, for kids. Indiana chapter is holding an April Sayre Celebration Conference on November 5th. For more info click here.  All attendees will have the opportunity to submit to the faculty, specific information given at time of registration.

This year’s Illustrator SchmooZoom will take place online in zoom on the third Thursday of each month from 7-9 PM, except December. There is no Schmooze in December.

Each month be sure to email Lisa, at her special Schmooze email listed below, that you will be attending so she can send you the Zoom invite. The Schmoozes are a great place for chapter illustrators to gather to share inspiration and enjoy the company of other illustrators of children’s books. We will also exchange ideas, tips on materials, etc. and critique work.

To stay connected and share your creativity. Join Us!

Here are the dates for our 2022/2023 season Schmoozes: Be sure to email Lisa (email address below) as she will need to email you the Zoom invite each month.

Sept 22 – Online

Oct 20 – Online

Nov 17 – Online

Dec (No Schmooze in Dec)

Jan 26, 2023- Online

Feb 16 – Online

Mar 16 – Please join us in person on March 16th for a cup of coffee or tea in beautiful La Jolla at the Living Room Cafe, 1010 Prospect Street, La Jolla, California 92037. We would love to get together and chat, please also bring something to sketch on or work on your latest project. We will be there from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.

April 20 – Online

May (No Schmooze in May)

If you’d like to be included on the illustrators SchmooZoom email, and to receive the monthly Zoom invite, please contact me, Co-RA Lisa Venditelli Karmel, at

San Diego Chapter’s Featured Illustrator Interview

 Meet the Illustrator

 Pam Fong – Author/Illustrator:

 Rou and the Great Race (Reycraft),  

 Once Upon A Forest (Random House Studio),

   A Spark In The Dark (Greenwillow), 

 When The Fog Rolls In (Greenwillow, 2023) 

 Hedgehog and The Log (Union Square Kids, 2023)

Illustrator Interview

 How did you first get into Children’s Book illustrations?

I loved to doodle and draw from an early age. In college, I studied Visual Art and Art History at UCSD and have painted, sculpted, and used my hands to create throughout my life. I was a curator for many years before starting my own graphic and web design company, so I have been looking at art and design for a very long time. But I only started concentrating on book illustrations five years ago when I started in earnest to craft picture books.

Where did you study art?

My bachelor’s degree in visual arts and art history is from UCSD. I have a masters in arts management from Carnegie Mellon University which afforded me a career in museums and art galleries. I have acquired the majority of my “studies” by looking at the masters.

 Which medium(s) do you prefer and why?

I love watercolors. I love the unexpected and surprising nature of the medium – those happy accidents. I also think watercolors are able to imitate nature without much interference from the artist’s hand. It’s like magic. But when I feel in a controlling mood, I prefer oils.

For artwork for my books, I work digitally. I like the option of being able to try new colors, compositions, elements, etc. quickly and without having to start over. There is a sense that digital work is somehow inferior to traditional ways of illustrating, as if the computer does the work. But I see the digital tools as just another tool. It still takes an artist’s understanding and imagination to cause it to create. And ultimately, the publisher wants digital files, so might as well save yourself some time.

Is there a skill you would like to learn or improve upon?

I always start with the intention of keeping my drawings loose and flowy, but end up enjoying making tighter drawings. I gravitate towards tighter illustrations in the books that appeal to me. And I am always wishing to be a stronger storyteller, whether visually or through words.

What is your illustration process?

I work in both Procreate and Photoshop. I create smaller elements in Procreate and then combine them all into many, many (sometimes hundreds) of layers in Photoshop, using a Cintiq. I have found that preserving all the layers gives me more flexibility to change things whether it’s to make room for text in the layout, supplemental marketing materials, or an animated trailer. You never know where your illustrations will end up.

I’m a big fan of shapes. I start by creating silhouettes and gestures with shapes and moving them around the page for composition. Once I’m happy with that, I can transform the shapes with details – color, texture, values and light to bring them to life.

 Do you have a dedicated art space?

Yes. I am lucky enough to have one space for when I illustrate and a different (smaller, cozier) space for when I write. My illustration space is surrounded by pictures, figurines, picture books, and other sources of inspiration. It’s a mess. My writing space is a small desk that is always kept tidy, tucked in a corner, facing white walls.

What fun projects are you working on now?

I’m always working on new PB stories, with each one being a new challenge. I love the problem-solving aspect of creativity, so this is all fun to me. I am also working on my first MG chapter book.

 Any tips for illustrators who are starting out?

Draw what you love. That will come through. It’s more important than drawing the current checklist of what publishers are “looking” for – and more fun. Learn about composition and lighting. And observe absolutely everything around you to the smallest detail.

How long have you been a member of SCBWI?

Since 2017.

 What is the most impactful thing you’ve learned from being in SCBWI?

SCBWI brings together in one place all these important gatekeepers in the industry. They actually bring them to you!! But it is up to you to show up! Do the work. Be prepared. Learn the craft. It is a competitive industry, but how many people are really showing up? Really understand the craft? And are putting it down on paper? The competition is not as stiff as it may appear.

Where can people find more of your work? Click here