Summer Camp in Illustration: Intensive Artistic Inspiration

In-Person | Illustration
Get away for four days at our Summer Camp in Illustration for inspiration, guidance, support, community, fun, creativity, and growth.

Overview

In-person 4-Day/3-Night Workshop and Retreat

Get away for four days at our Summer Camp in Illustration for inspiration, guidance, support, 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 hands-on sessions, mentorship, and ample time for independent art, meeting informally with fellow creatives, and resting.
  • Lodging and meals are included.
  • Begins at with dinner 5:30pm Eastern on Wednesday, July 12
  • Ends with lunch at 12:00pm-1:00pm Eastern on Saturday, July 15
  • Pre-retreat Zoom to answer questions about submissions and discuss our summer camp community will be held on Tuesday, June 13 at 5:30pm Eastern (this will be recorded for those who cannot attend live)
  • 24 participants max

Why This Workshop?

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

  • opportunities for learning and interaction
  • plenty of play with art 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.
  • Take in stories about the many journeys an illustrator or author/illustrator can take to publication. These will refresh your passion for art and 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.
Debbie's photos

“Disney has nothing on Highlights – it’s the real magical place on earth! It’s an investment in your writing/illustrating career and definitely worth every penny. Even my suitcase was sad to leave.” (Debbie Meyer)

See more testimonials and stories from past attendees about their Summer Camp experiences.

Feedback Expected

  • Guidance and support 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 will receive comprehensive submission details closer to the start of Summer Camp.
    • You may submit 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.
    • We also ask that you include a cover letter addressed to your faculty mentor with details about your style, background/interests in art & illustration, where you are in the project you submitted, and any questions you have for your 1:1 meeting.
    • Submissions are due in advance of the workshop to allow ample time for faculty to take in your work.

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.
  • You’d appreciate some retreat time. This course has plenty of built-in time to write, draw, hike, or rest–whatever you need.

Detailed Agenda

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.

Retreat Schedule Overview

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).

Mentorship and Feedback

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.

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.
  • On Tuesday, June 13 at 5:30pm Eastern: Pre-retreat Zoom to answer questions about submissions and discuss our summer camp community. (This session will be recorded for those who cannot attend live.)
  • Submission deadline: before the workshop, preferably by June 16, 2023.
    • You may submit 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.
    • We also ask that you include a cover letter addressed to your faculty mentor with details about your style, background/interests in art & illustration, where you are in the project you submitted, and any questions you have for your 1:1 meeting.
Day 1: Wednesday, July 12
  • 3pm – 5pm Eastern:   Arrival and check in.
  • 5:30pm:                      Appetizers & Dinner
  • Following dinner:       Opening & Welcome from Emily Rosenthal
    • Followed by meeting with your faculty mentor for introductions and to discuss meeting locations for 1:1s and small groups.
Day 2: Thursday, July 13

Morning:

  • Breakfast
  • Faculty Illustration Journey and Demo: IMPROVISING & ART (and music!) with Daria Peoples
    • 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.
    • Recycled materials will be used during this session. If you have contributions, please bring them along!

Afternoon:

  • Lunch
  • Free creative time (optional art prompt with Sara Woolley)
  • 1:1 Meetings with Faculty Mentor

Evening:

  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • Informal portfolio sharing over appetizers (lay out travel portfolio or digital for casual sharing)
  • After Dinner: Working with an Art Director with S’mores (weather pending)
Day 3: Friday, July 14

Morning:

  • Breakfast
  • Faculty Illustration Journey and Demo: Pen & Ink with Steve Light
    • 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.
    • Pen and ink will be provided, but feel free to bring favorite pens if this is a passion!

Afternoon:

  • Lunch
  • Group Photo
  • Faculty Illustration Journey and Demo with Kathryn Otoshi
    • 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.
  • Experimentation with techniques and Creative Time (optional prompt with Christine Cincotta

Evening:

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

 

Day 4: Saturday, July 15

Morning

  • Breakfast
  • Faculty Illustration Journey and Demo: Stencil Art with Merrill Rainey
    • 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.
    • We’ll use brayers, water soluble block printing ink, and colored pencils. 
  • Closing Q & A panel

Afternoon

  • Lunch and farewells
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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.

How It 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.

Testimonials 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.”

Special Guests

DETAILS

July 12 - July 15

$1549

Highlights Foundation Campus

362 Boyds Mills Road
Milanville, PA 18443

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.

LOCATION

All in-person Highlights Foundation workshops and retreats (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.

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks. Shuttle service is included from the local airport and bus stations, or you can park on site. You’ll receive more information about logistics after you register.

Workshops for Writers & Illustrators

> Online
> In-Person
> On-Demand (Self-Paced Online)

New to the Highlights Foundation? Try these:

About Children's Publishing | The Whole Novel Workshop | Summer Camp

Questions?

Need help deciding on a workshop?  Ask an ambassador!

Visiting Our Campus

Our campus (The Barn at Boyds Mills) is tucked away in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  It's a few hours from both New York City and Philadelphia, but worlds away from everyday life.

Line drawing of the Barn at Boyds Mills

Our Mission in Action

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The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.

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