Programs

Summer Camp in Illustration: Intensive Artistic Inspiration

July 11 - 14, 2022

This program is fully booked. Please click here to join the waitlist.

OVERVIEW:

Get away for four days at our Summer Camp in Illustration for inspiration, guidance, mentorship, community, fun, creativity, and growth.

At the Highlights Foundation, “summer camp” is different than s’mores by the fire and hiking in the woods. (Though we do that, too.)

Our summer camp is a time to find the kind of encouragement for your creativity that only a generous mentor can provide. To find inspiration and support. To be with a community that understands the long process of creating. To work 1:1 and fine-tune your ideas while you have some fun.

  • This is an in-person workshop at our Retreat Center with keynotes, breakout sessions/demos, mentorship, and ample time for creativity, meeting informally with fellow storytellers, and resting.
  • Lodging and meals are included.
  • Begins at with dinner 5:30pm Eastern on Monday, July 11
  • Ends with lunch at 1:00pm Eastern on Thursday, July 14
  • 24 participants max

FEEDBACK EXPECTED:

Guidance and mentorship will be offered through our faculty mentors and informally in peer and faculty meetings. Our feedback sessions with faculty offer you support, as well as answer questions you might have in order to help you problem-solve, brainstorm new ideas, and work through challenges.

  • You may submit a cover letter plus one full picture book dummy, or up to 10 pages from a graphic novel, or a one page document with story ideas and 3-5 sample images for faculty critique.
  • In addition to submitting one of the above to your faculty mentor, please share a link to a digital portfolio, if you have one.
  • You will receive comprehensive submission details closer to the start of Summer Camp.  Submissions are due June 20, 2022 to allow ample time for faculty to take in your work.

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

This four day, in-person summer camp in illustration is centered on mentorship, inspiration, and community with:

  • opportunities for learning, feedback, and interaction
  • plenty of play with words and materials to inspire your work
  • ample self-paced time to make progress on a project

Mornings will be structured around lectures and hands-on demonstrations of illustration techniques. Afternoons will be independent time for creating, as well as meetings with fellow creatives (including your faculty mentor).

You will:

  • Participate in guided illustration demonstrations to explore possibilities and stretch creatively.
  • Hear inspirational stories about the many journeys an illustrator or author/illustrator can take to publication. These will refresh your passion for the craft illustrating for children, and motivate you to keep going.
  • Work one-to-one with faculty on a project of your choice. Faculty mentor/attendee pairings will be made thoughtfully according to your work, style, and your goals.
  • Learn more about the exciting opportunities in illustrating for children and teens. Faculty and guests will explore the many possibilities for your art.

THIS WORKSHOP IS A GREAT FIT IF:

  • You’re new to children’s book illustration. You’ll get a 1:1 critique that will help you look at your work-in-progress in a new way, and you’ll learn about what art directors expect when you are ready to submit.
  • You’re an experienced children’s illustrator. Play with new illustration techniques, and advance ideas through collaboration, doodling, demos, and more.
  • 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.
  • You have an in-progress or finished project and would like feedback. Your faculty mentor will give you feedback, answer questions, and support you in setting goals.
  • You need a jolt of creativity or a reminder of purpose. Summer Camp can be about getting work done if you want it to be, but it can also be about renewing your spark and purpose in creating stories for children.

DETAILED AGENDA:

Pre-Workshop:

  • You will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to fellow creatives, engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards), and view submission details related to this course.
  • You can also attend an informal Zoom session prior to camp to ask all of your questions, and get some important information and guidelines for participating in critique sessions. This informal Zoom session will be recorded for those who cannot attend live.
  • Submission deadline: June 20, 2022. You may submit a cover letter plus one full picture book dummy, or up to 10 pages from a graphic novel, or a one page document with story ideas and 3-5 sample images for faculty critique. In addition to submitting one of the above to your faculty mentor, please share a link to a digital portfolio, if you have one. Comprehensive details about your submissions will come to you approximately one week before the June 20th submission deadline.

Retreat Schedule:
Mornings will be structured around lectures and hands-on demonstrations of illustration techniques. Afternoons will be independent time for creating, as well as meetings with fellow creatives (including your faculty mentor). Demos will be recorded and you can view them for up to 30 days following your visit to Summer Camp.

Your faculty mentor will meet with you at the start of the workshop. During the session, you should feel free to ask questions and help guide the conversation.

  • You will receive written feedback on your submission and you’ll discuss this feedback during your 1:1 meeting.
  • Your faculty mentor will also support your goals for the workshop.

During the workshop, there will also be informal moments to meet and discuss your work with attendees and faculty apart from your faculty mentor. You will have the opportunity to share your work during demos and during independent time. We encourage you to engage in these opportunities.

(All times Eastern Standard Time)

Monday, July 11

  • 3pm – 5pm Eastern:   Arrival and check in.
  • 5:30pm:                        Appetizers & Dinner
  • Following dinner:      Opening & Welcomes from Emily Rosenthal and Merrill Rainey
      • Followed by meeting with your faculty mentor for introductions and to discuss meeting locations for 1:1s and small groups

Tuesday, July 12
Morning:

  • Breakfast
  • Presentation #1 with Steve Light, “My Illustration Journey and Pen Demo”
    • Materials will be provided for you to engage in this technique and a supplemental list will be provided in the virtual classroom prior to the workshop should you want to bring your own materials.

Afternoon:

  • Lunch
  • Free creative time (optional prompt with Emily Rosenthal)
  • 1:1 Meetings with Faculty Mentor

Evening:

  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • After Dinner: Working with an Art Director: In-Conversation with Mallory Grigg and Merrill Rainey … with S’mores (weather pending)

 

Wednesday, July 13
Morning:

  • Breakfast
  • Presentation#2 with Isabel Roxas, “Illustration Journey + Technique”
    • Materials will be provided for you to engage in this technique and a supplemental list will be provided in the virtual classroom prior to the workshop should you want to bring your own materials.

Afternoon:

  • Lunch
  • Free creative time (optional portfolio sharing and discussion with Merrill Rainey)
  • Presentation #3 with Joe Cepeda, “Illustration Journey + Technique”
    • Materials will be provided for you to engage in this technique and a supplemental list will be provided in the virtual classroom prior to the workshop should you want to bring your own materials.

Evening:

  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • After Dinner: Small Group “check-ins” facilitated by your faculty mentor
    • Bring your revisions to share in your small group!

 

Thursday, July 14
Morning

  • Breakfast
  • Presentation #4 with Daria Peoples, “My Illustration Journey and Messages from Children: One Page Picture”
    • Materials will be provided for you to engage in this technique and a supplemental list will be provided in the virtual classroom prior to the workshop should you want to bring your own materials.
  • Closing Q & A panel facilitated by Merrill Rainey

Afternoon

  • Lunch and farewells

Note: Demonstrations are still being developed by faculty. Past Summer Camp in Illustration session topics have included:

  • From Traditional Technique to Digital Drawing
  • Sketchbooks: The Most Valuable Tool for Illustrators
  • Creating a Color Chart for Each Project
  • Printmaking: History and Exploration
  • Watercolor: An Entryway into Ideas
  • Story Ideas: Finding Stories That Matter
  • Post-it Note Dummies: 30-minutes to Sketch a Story
  • Creating Expressive Characters

A note about workshop agendas and how they change and evolve. 

ABOUT OUR RETREAT CENTER:

All in-person Highlights Foundation workshops (including this one) are held at our Retreat Center: The Barn at Boyds Mills.  This site was the home of the original founders of Highlights for Children Garry and Caroline Myers, and is located in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania on the traditional and contemporary lands of the Lenape Nation.

Your workshop tuition includes lodging, farm-fresh meals with snacks, and shuttle service from our local airport or bus/train stations if you need it.  For more information about attending a workshop or retreat here, visit the Barn at Boyds Mills website.

HOW THIS WORKSHOP IMPACTS KIDS:

Picture books and graphic novels celebrate both story and art. Learn to use your art to collaborate or create inspiring books for kids. Get support, motivation, reassurance, and sense of community from fellow creators who share your passion.

Why do we mention this? Learn about the Highlights Foundation mission. 

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

As an in-person event at our Retreat Center, you’ll have a chance to step away from everyday life to experience the workshop. We build in breaks and independent time so you have space for your personal needs. While we encourage participation in all group events, we know that as an adult learner you can decide if you need more time to yourself. Please let someone from our staff or faculty know if you plan to step away from group activities.

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.

Another commitment that will help you get the most from this workshop is submission deadlines for mentorship. The submission deadline is June 20 in order to allow faculty ample time to familiarize themselves with your work in advance of your meetings.  If this is an issue, please let us know.

Read some ideas about planning for the right level of commitment. 

RELATED RESOURCES

True Confessions of a Picture Book Illustrator: Part 1, and then read Part 2
Steve Light: Creative Spaces
Author-Illustrator Spotlight: Kathryn Otoshi
Crafting Your Picture Book Dummy
Let the Book Come to You
Graphic Novelists Need to Write in Pictures
Get It Right With Research

Nervous about critiques? See how the Highlights Foundation approaches the process here.

FROM OUR COMMUNITY:

“Great mentors, professionals and people! They were all open and forthcoming about their art, their careers, their process, etc., and very responsive to questions. They seem to genuinely enjoy their work and are supportive of those still developing their skills and portfolio. It was also great that they took the time to participate in each others’ sessions to see others’ perspective and build camaraderie among them–it further allowed the workshop to feel like a community versus instructors and students.”

“It was an inspiring experience, that gives me a new outlook for advancing the illustration work I do. I came in not know much about the illustration industry and practice, and left with direction.”

“I needed this boost of inspiration. I realized the story I sent in needed to really be cut, I worked on 2 separate characters, shared my dummy book at open mic, and played in different techniques this week. Definitely wouldn’t have done all that work on my own.”

“Each faculty member was so generous with their time, information, helpful hints and amazing demonstrations. Add to that humor and sensitivity and authenticity.”

“I am so pleased that I participated and realize I am ready to get over the fear factor and start submitting to agents and publishers.”

“I am more confident and better equipped for my next step. I will continue creating and keep allowing the good to happen. I loved the encouragement I received from other attendees.”

The Highlights Foundation offers a number of scholarships to our programs. Find out more about scholarships here.

Faculty

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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Joe Cepeda

Preferring grace over style, insight and message over technique, and story over extravagance, Joe seeks to create work with integrity…
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Daria Peoples

Daria Peoples’ first job was at nine years old in the children’s section of her hometown library in Paso Robles,…
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Mallory Grigg

Mallory is the Senior Art Director at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group where she’s had the pleasure of working on Mike Curato’s…
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Merrill Rainey

Growing up, Merrill Rainey spent most of his Saturday afternoons watching monster movies, drawing superheroes, and going on imaginary adventures…
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Isabel Roxas

Isabel Roxas is the author and illustrator of The Adventures of Team Pom: Squid Happens. The first book in a…
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Emily Rosenthal

Special Guest Emily Rosenthal (she/her) is an illustrator and writer. Originally from New York, she currently calls Baltimore her home.…
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$1,099.00

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks.

Free shuttle service is available from the local airport, train, and bus station, or you can park on site. Get more logistics information here.

Pay in full or secure your spot with a deposit of $200 and payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

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workshop information

Our all-inclusive price means we provide transportation to and from the airport, lodging, all meals, unlimited snacks, and wireless Internet access.

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