BY MONIKA BAUM, ILLUSTRATOR COORDINATOR
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There are a few things to be said about children’s book illustration and twitter: Twitter can get you work as an illustrator, but mostly because someone has tweeted a link to an external site. Because of this, the platform is more suited towards networking, tips and chats.
It is also a secondary platform to Instagram where illustrators share their artwork and tag it with strategic hashtags.
You do not need to have an account to have a look around and explore, as everything is public, but it helps in case you want to keep track of a few things or to network. Keeping that in mind, twitter can be extremely helpful but also time-consuming.
To write this blog, I thought I would compile a list of art directors and illustrators that post content relevant to illustration and how to get work opportunities. However, that proved to be rather time consuming and would have had to be periodically kept up to date at a later point in time.
So instead, I will write about how to make Lists to help you create your own groups of people you’d like to collectively keep an eye on.
“A list is a curated group of Twitter users and a great way to organise your interests.”
To create a list:
1. Click on your profile picture on the top-most ribbon and then click on “Lists”.
2. On the page that opens up next there’s a button for creating a list.
These lists can be set to either public or private. (This means that you can see other people’s public lists and you can subscribe to them, which can potentially save you a lot of time but is possibly not fully meeting your children’s book illustration interests.)
Here you will also see the lists you have
– subscribed to and
– been added to by others.
Ideas for Lists:
• Art Directors
• SCBWI / PB / MG / YA /… authors
• SCBWI / PB / MG / YA / digital / traditional/… illustrators
• Europolitan attendees
• Frankfurt Book Fair stuff
• Bologna Book Fair people I need to make sure to say Hello to
To add peple to existing lists:
1. Go to their main twitter page.
2. To the left of the “Follow” button, click on the “settings” symbol and then on “Add or remove from lists…”
3. These people will get a notification that you have added them to your list.
4. You can now see the extra ribbon item “Lists” on your own Twitter page.
Click on any list and you’ll see only the tweets by people who are on it.
Hashtags and how to save them
Some of the main (children’s book) illustration hashtags that you might want to check out are:
There are so many more hashtags that have to do with sketching and doodling, but for the purpose of this blog post, we’ll stay with the children’s book hashtags.
To save one of these hashtag searches, click on:
1. “More options” on the search result page,
2. and then on “Save this search”.
The hashtag search will then appear in an auto-complete-like drop-down that appears when you click into the empty twitter search box.
It is possible to search for (and save) all tweets containing a specific hashtag by a specific account with: “#hashtag from:username”.
For example, to see all tweets from Susann Spann, a publishing attourney, about publishing law, you would type in the search box: PubLaw from:SusannSpann
Let’s continue though with the relevant and specific children’s book illustration things to be found on twitter.
This is the fun part!
The KidLitArt Chat
There is one chat that illustrators of children’s books should probably follow – if they are awake:
The KidLitArt Chat on Thursdays at 9pm Eastern Time (which is 2 am for Britain and 3 am for most of mainland Europe).
To participate, make sure your tweets and replies contain “#kidlitart”.
Topics are announced on @kidlitart and kidlitart.blogspot.com, and by the moderators: @DiandraMae, @rubinpingk and @blythe_russo.
Art Tips, online illustration schools …
Guiseppe Castellano @pinocastellano, Executive Art Director at Penguin Random House, regularly posts art tips on his twitter account.
They are extremely helpful to go through for when you are not sure about your promotional postcard, your artistic voice, things to avoid, interesting kidlitart podcasts to listen to, portfolio tips, website advice and external links to even more art tips. To view all of his art tips, copy and paste the following into the twitter search box: #arttips from:pinocastellano.
Do check out Susann Spann @SusannSpann, publishing attourney. Her #PubLaw tweets are helpful for both writers and illustrators for dealing with contracts, agents, editors, copyright, licensing and much more: #PubLaw from:SusannSpann.
The following illustrator resources should also be included because they are active on twitter and announce upcoming classes, podcasts and other happenings regularly. The majority of their kidlitart-helpful content is outside of twitter though:
The School of Visual Storytelling @SVSLearn
“Specializing in illustration education in fields of visual storytelling.” Some their instructors are: @willterry333, @mrjakeparker, @sillybeast_ltd, @paintFACT, @yangmeister, @deniszilber, @ZacDRetz, @annwhitfordpaul, @tycarterart, @jimmadsen.
The Oatley Academy of Visual Storytelling @OatleyAcademy by @ChrisOatley
“The most personal art education you can find online.” Chris Oatley teaches you how to paint digitally, illustrate stories and design characters.
… and more
• The Children’s Writer’s Guild @CWGORG The Children’s Writer’s Guild is an online magazine and community for children’s writers, illustrators, educators–and anyone interested in children’s media!
• SCBWI Illustrators @SCBWI_illustrat Illustrator members of the British Isles Region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).
• CBC Book @CBCBook The best in children’s and young adult literature and literacy news!
• Children’s Bookshelf @PWKidsBookshelf A free e-newsletter from Publishers Weekly that reports on children’s and YA books.
• KIDLIT411 @KIDLIT411 Everything kid lit- in one place! Your one stop info. Shop!
Other fun illustration hashtags and challenges
#scbwidrawthis by @scbwi
#colour_collective by @Clr_Collective
#IllustrationFriday by @ifri
#sketchdailies by @SketchDaily
#monthoflove by @MonthofLove
#Inktober, @Inktober by @mrjakeparker
#draw100somethings by @mrjakeparker
Twitter for children’s book illustrators – never mind illustrators in general! – is far bigger than what I have posted here, but I hope I have given a good starting point from where to build your network, lists and hashtag searches.
Tweet us @SCBWISwiss or email us if you have further helpful kidlitart-twitter-info to add!