Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Illustrator Intensive with Laurent Linn

Date(s) - 04/14/2018
8:30 am - 12:00 pm

University of San Diego, Hahn School of Nursing, Room 106
5998 Alcalá Park, West Campus - San Diego, CA 92110


World Building: Starting the Journey

Illustrator Intensive with Art Director and published YA author Laurent Linn

This half-day workshop with Art Director Laurent Linn (Simon & Schuster) will provide a behind the scenes look at illustrating books for children. Linn will focus on the beginning of the journey: the moment we meet our protagonist, the world they inhabit, and see how they fit, or don’t, into their world – all which will be new to the reader. He will focus on the visual storytelling skills needed to create an emotional connection between the reader and the character(s). Not only do the first pages of a picture book start the story arc, they show the promise of the book and plant the seed of the theme. The beginning of the journey is key for both illustrators and authors.

During the Intensive, Linn will review and comment on the initial scene created by those participating in the optional Illustrator Mentorship (see below). The discussion will provide all participants with insight into the process an illustrator and art director go through when creating art for a book. Throughout the intensive, participants will get a better sense of what works from an art director’s perspective, what doesn’t, and why. The Intensive will also include an open-dialogue with Linn – a chance to discuss common mistakes and how to fix them, ask questions, and learn more about illustrating children’s books.

Authors attending will gain insight into critical elements of the opening of a picture book and come away with a better understanding of what is needed for an illustrator to bring the story to life. The goal is for everyone to learn from each other and be inspired and energized by talking about art and story and the dance between art and text.


Laurent Linn

Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Linn began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop where he was the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award. Currently, at Simon & Schuster, Linn art directs picture books, middle-grade, and teen novels, including Moon’s Almost Here, by Tomie dePaola; DRAW!, by Raúl Colón; Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle; and the Rot & Ruin YA series by Jonathan Maberry. Linn is on the Board of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and is Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. He is also an author and illustrator: his illustrated teen novel is Draw the Line. Find him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @LaurentLinn, and


Optional Illustrator Mentorship – Dec. 1, 2017 through April 14, 2018  (FULL)

This year’s mentorship will provide a limited number of illustrators or author/illustrators with the opportunity to work directly with Art Director Laurent Linn. Mentees will select the opening lines of their own story or use the first lines of a picture book text provided by Linn. Mentees will create a sketch of their opening scene following specs provided by Linn and submit the sketch to Linn for review and comment. Mentees will then revise as needed and produce a final double-page spread that meets specifications provided by Linn. The initial sketches and final art will be presented and discussed at the Illustrator Intensive. Linn notes that while those participating in the mentorship may be at different experience levels and perhaps a bit shy about sharing their art in front of others (who isn’t) the goal is for everyone to learn from each other and walk away inspired and energized. Details of the assignment can be found here. The timeline for the mentorship is as follows:

Dec. 9   – Registration for the Mentorship closes – please note the mentorship tends to fill up FAST

Jan. 20  – Submit sketches to Laurent Linn for comment

Feb. 25  – Receive feedback on sketches

April 7  –  Submit final art

April 14 – Bring original sketches and final art to Intensive


The Illustrator Mentorship is now full. You have not heard if you were accepted into the Mentorship or are on the waitlist by Dec 8, please email Katrin Azimi at to confirm your status.


We are still accepting registration for the Illustrator Intensive itself.