Winning Image

"Scout knew where to go, but not how to get there."

Prairie Writer's & Illustrator's Day 2018 Contest Winner

Judges: Jim Hoover, Art Director at Viking Children's Books and author/illustrator Kelly Light

From SCBWI IC Janet McDonnell:

Congratulations to Darcy Day Zoells for winning the illustration contest! As you'll recall, the prompt was: "Scout knew where to go, but not how to get there." Kelly Light and Jim Hoover BOTH chose Darcy's art! I thought I'd share their reasons, so we can all learn from their reactions:

Kelly J. Light -

"The illustration of the cat with the yarn made me want to read the story. The art and the illustrator’s handling of the media and of color - was really successful. The yarn makes the eye flow to all of the visual clues on the back wall, which are - delightful. “Visit Catalonia” - the map, the catapult, no cat carrier!, the catamaran, the deep wallpaper. It gave personality, place and plot."

Jim Hoover

"This illustration is beautifully executed aesthetically speaking, but what makes this one stand out to me is how thought-provoking and playful it is. Is Scout the viewer watching his/her cat destroy his/her itinerary for his vacation plans?

Or is Scout the cat, finally giving into the distraction of vacation-planning for an irresistible ball of yarn? (This would easily be answered by a second image in the story.)

This person took the prompt, turned it to a different angle, and approached it in a way that just gives them a dynamite piece for their portfolio. You no longer even need the prompt to get it and interact with it. These are the opportunities an illustrator must look for. This is what an editor or art director is relying on for an illustrator to bring to the table. This person is illustrating that they can do this, showing what they have to offer and what their client will get when they hire them.

A portfolio is not just a collected body of work, it is a job interview, a stage audition. "