Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Wearing Two Hats 2019

Date(s) - 02/09/2019
9:30 am - 5:00 pm

TaborSpace, The Dining Room
5441 SE Belmont Street - Portland, OR 97215

logo by Cortney Benvenuto

If you’re a writer/illustrator, a writer who wants to illustrate, or an illustrator who wants to write, please join us for this very special event in Portland. We’ll explore the dual life of author/illustrators at this one-day workshop, featuring Mike Curato, Author/Illustrator of The Little Elliot series, and April Ward, Art Director at Random House.


9:30-9:45 Check in

9:45-10:00 Introduction, welcome

10:00-11:15 Speaker #1:  Mike Curato, Author/Illustrator, TOPIC: Advanced Bookmaking for Nerds

11:15-11:30 Break, Book Sales

11:30-12:30 First Glance Critique session

12:30-1:45 Lunch, Book Sales

1:45-3:00 Speaker #2: April Ward, TOPIC: Cover Collaboration

3:00-3:15 Break, Book Sales

3:15-4:15 First Glance Critique Session Round 2 with April Ward and Mike Curato

4:15-4:45 PANEL: Working Dynamics between Art Director and Author/Illustrator 

4:45-5:00 Questions, wrap up, goodbye


ADVANCED BOOKMAKING FOR NERDS: Mike Curato will expound about his illustrating and writing process from start to finish. He’ll share how he does his research and creates a reference comp, as well as his digital color techniques. Mike will also talk a little bit about how he makes books: through vulnerability and dessert. Nerds only.

COVER COLLABORATION: While an author and illustrator wears two hats there are also many other heads involved in a book’s cover process…including your editor, art director, production manager, sales department, marketing and publicity, and sometimes even booksellers. April Ward will talk about the collaborative cover decision making process and show some examples of how ideas can evolve from early sketch to printed boo

FIRST GLANCE CRITIQUES: We will have two First Glance sessions with April and Mike doing on-the-spot critiques. There will be up to 10 participants in each session and everyone will bring 4 portfolio prints or the first 4 pages of a dummy to project via Elmo camera. You must sign up for this event when you register, first come, first served. There is no extra fee for this opportunity.


Mike Curato is the author-illustrator of everyone’s favorite polka-dotted elephant, Little Elliot. Mike’s debut title in the series, Little Elliot, Big City has won numerous awards and has been translated into over ten languages. There are now four additional books in the series. He is the illustrator of Worm loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle, and What If…by Samantha Berger. He is also working on his debut young adult graphic novel, Flamer.

Mike was born and raised outside of New York City, and earned a BFA in illustration from Syracuse University. After College, he worked as a graphic designer for the better part of ten years until his dream of making picture books became a reality. He currently lives in North Hampton, MA.


April Ward is the middle grade Art Director Random House Children’s Books, specializing in fiction and nonfiction books for readers ages 8-12. Originally from Oregon, April studied art and design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She has been a children’s book designer for many prestigious publishing companies including HarperCollins, North South Books, Flashkids Books, Harcourt Trade Publishers, and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, before recently joining Penguin Random House. While working as an Art Director for MCPG, April had the honor of collaborating with Mike Curato and designing his Little Elliot series, along with his stunning picture book All The Way to Havana.




This event is limited to 50 attendees. Registration opens November 10th and closes January 15th. Early Bird Registration Fees: Members: $80, Non-members: $110. Early Bird rate ends December 1st. After December 1st, fees will be Members: $90, Non-members: $120. No refunds after January 10th. REGISTRATION EXTENDED TO TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5TH!

Lunch is included in your registration fee. Plans are for a salad and sandwich bar so everyone’s special diet needs should be accommodated. Dessert will be cake, including a gluten free option. Questions about this or anything else, please contact Robyn Waters, Illustrator Coordinator, at

Two Scholarships are available for this event. Deadline to apply is November 9th, at 4 pm. See full details and get an application form here.


A limited number of Written Book Dummy or Written Portfolio Consultations* (sent in advance of the event) and On-the-Spot Portfolio Consultations** (to be done at the event) will be offered. You may only sign-up for one critique OR a consultation. You must pre-register; first-come, first-served. Written dummy or written portfolio consultations are $60 each; on-the-spot portfolio consultations are $50 each.

There will also be limited opportunities for on-the-spot First Glance Critiques. There is no extra cost for First Glance Critiques but you must pre-register.

Please read complete instructions, taking note of deadlines, by following the link in the tan box in the upper right corner of this page.

In addition, we will be selling Mike’s books (see schedule above). We can accept cash, checks, and debit/credit cards.

*These written critiques by April Ward, AD, will be given to the attendees at the end of the event.

**Portfolio consultations will take place during the 10 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. presentations. (See schedule above.)