Summer Camp Intensive in Illustration 2020

July 19 - 22, 2020

Join Us To:

Immerse yourself in illustration techniques. Gain tools for storytelling. Explore the children’s book market with authors, illustrators, and art directors currently in the field. Enjoy the camaraderie of fellow artists. Get your portfolio and/or dummy reviewed by a faculty mentor.

What You’ll Learn:

You’ll create:

  • Learn new illustration techniques.
  • Find and advance ideas through play, doodling, book dummies, character development, and more.
  • Hands-on activities will challenge you to sharpen your illustration skills.
  • Learn about dummy preparation, storyboarding, and continuity.

You’ll be mentored:

  • Practice new techniques with support and guidance from faculty.
  • Receive personal attention through one-to-one critiques from your mentors.
  • Participate in group critiques and portfolio reviews with peers and publishing professionals.
  • Get feedback from special industry guests at our portfolio showcase.

You’ll learn about publishing:

  • Faculty demonstrations and lectures to demystify the publishing process.
  • Study art directors’ portfolio expectations.
  • Explore how to find a market for your work.
  • Making a living as an illustrator.
  • Discover ways to promote yourself and your art.

Attend If:

  • You’re new to children’s book illustration. You’ll get a one-to-one critique that will help you get ready to start submitting, and you’ll learn about what art directors expect when you do.
  • You’re an experienced artist who is curious about how to get started in children’s publishing. You will find out about the children’s market, learn about preparing a dummy for submission and get feedback from special industry guests at our portfolio showcase.
  • You’re a published children’s illustrator. Come to learn new illustration techniques! Find and advance ideas through play, doodling, book dummies, character development, and more.
  • You’re in need of some artistic inspiration. Join us for four unique demos, discussions on character, creativity, and more! Get messy with art supplies you’ve always wanted to try. (Don’t worry, we’ll clean up after you!)

If you have taken one of these other workshops with us, you may find this course of special interest: Picture Book Illustration: From Conception to Birth; Illustration Intensive; Crafting a Picture Book Dummy; Color, Light, Line & Texture; Getting to Know Your Picture Book; Carving Out Your Picture Book for Submission; Creating Picture Books; Super Children’s Book Boot Camp.


Day 1
Arrival and check in

Appetizers and dinner
After dinner: Faculty introductions and mentor assignments
Opening keynote

Day 2
Faculty art demo
One-to-one critique sessions

Remaining One-to-ones and revision time
Art director Q&A
(Optional) Portfolio Showcase set up

Appetizers and Portfolio Showcase
After dinner: Informal patio night and optional art in the Barn

Day 3
Faculty art demo
Mentor roundtable groups

Faculty art demo
One-to-ones with art director

Appetizers and dinner
After dinner: FUN art project

Day 4
Faculty art demo
Final remarks

Lunch and departures

A Note About Highlights Workshop Agendas


True Confessions of a Picture Book Illustrator
In two blog posts, Elizabeth Rose Stanton comes to some peace with her issues, including her “colored pencil problem” and her realization that “my supply of watercolors will probably outlive me.” Read Part 1, and then read Part 2. Be ready to laugh!

Steve Light: Creative Spaces
In this video from All the Wonders, you will get an insight into Steve’s illustration process, learn about the tools he used as a child, and hear wonderful advice for any aspiring artist. Watch the video.

Author-Illustrator Spotlight: Kathryn Otoshi
Great interview on Kidlit411 with Kathryn Otoshi about process and publication. Read it here.

Illustrator Spotlight: Kelly Light
Another great Kidlit411 interview, this time with Kelly Light about her journey to publication, her advice to others and what her favorite books are. Read it here.

Crafting Your Picture Book Dummy
Lisa Cinelli gives you step-by-step instructions for how to create a picture book dummy, ready for submission. Find out how!

Let the Book Come to You
Robert Blake shares his best practices for using journals and sketchbooks. Can you believe he has 25,000 pages in his personal sketchbook library? Read about them here.

Graphic Novelists Need to Write in Pictures
Matt Phelan shares his particular method for creating comics. Find out what it is

Get It Right With Research
Don Tate shares the process he went through to get the details right for his nonfictionpicture book biography about the creator of the Super Soaker water gun. Glimpse his process here.

Making Readers Say “I Love This Book!”
Lindsay Barrett George wants you to make a connection with a reader that makes them say “I LOVE this book.” Plus, she can make readers turn the page. Watch the video.


“The experience I had at the Illustrators Intensive was absolutely invaluable! The highlight (ha) for me was meeting my mentor (Mike Curato). He provided really focused feedback on my dummy and helped me push it to be so much better. Seeing his demos were magical, as was getting to hang out with him as a fellow artist and human. I appreciate how supportive and kind he was, in spite of being a kidlit world rock star. Thank you for providing a place where you foster these creative connections, and helping us inch closer to making our dreams come true!”–Saki Tanaka

“I highly recommend the Highlights Illustration Intensive to anyone who is just beginning or wants to hone their skills as an illustrator. I found the program to be very well organized and the days moved smoothly from mentorships to delicious meals to workshops and free time. The faculty was a well-rounded group of talent that were extremely welcoming and shared much guidance in the field of children’s books. I enjoyed the variety of techniques that were taught and the opportunity to play with mediums and methods I don’t often use. The grounds and environment provided seclusion in nature or in your cabin if you preferred to work in solitude, and the barn hosted a more social atmosphere. I will never forget my time there and the new friendships formed that have been continuing to inspire and motivate. Thank you Highlights Foundation for all that you do to nurture those who want to create books for children!”–Gael Abary

Scholarships Available

Scholarships are available for this workshop from the Angela Dominguez Artist in Residence Scholarship and the General Scholarship Fund.
The application deadline is Feb 29, 2020 for Angela’s Scholarship, and it will be announced April 15, 2020. The General Scholarship deadline is March 15, 2020, and scholarship announced April 15, 2020.
Click here to apply!
For more information about scholarships, click here.


Kathryn Otoshi

Kathryn Otoshi is an acclaimed author/illustrator and speaker best known for her character-building book series, Zero, One, and Two. She…
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Steve Light

Steve Light grew up in an enchanted place known as New Jersey. He went on to study Illustration at Pratt…
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Juana Martinez-Neal

Juana Martinez-Neal is the recipient of the 2019 Caldecott Honor for Alma and How She Got Her Name (Candlewick 2018), her author-illustrator debut, and…
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Joe Cepeda

Preferring grace over style, message over technique, and story over extravagance, Joe seeks to create work with integrity and authenticity…
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Merrill Rainey

Teaching Assistant Merrill Rainey is the creator and owner of LittleRainey Illustration & Design, which is a children’s illustration and…
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Kiara Valdez

Special Guest Kiara Valdez is an assistant editor at First Second Books. She was born and raised in New York…
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Jen Keenan

Special Guest Jen Keenan is the Art Director of Roaring Brook Press and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, imprints of Macmillan…
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All-Inclusive Event Cost: $1,349.00

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Free shuttle service is available from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AVP) International Airport. Airport pick-up at Newark Airport is also available for $75 round-trip.

We offer payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

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workshop information

Begins with dinner on Sunday, July 19; ends on Wednesday, July 22, with lunch.