Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2-Part Illustration Workshop with Art Director Joe Merkel

Date(s) - 10/17/2020
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


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2-Part Online Workshop with HarperCollins Art Director Joe Merkel

Illustration Essentials: Pro Tips to Make Your Art Director Happy

Part 1: October 17, 2020  ♦  2:00 – 4:00 pm

Part 2: November 21, 2020  ♦  2:00 – 5:00 pm


Get those art supplies ready! Central & Southern Ohio SCBWI is pleased to welcome Joe Merkel from HarperCollins for a special 2-part workshop: “Illustration Essentials: Pro Tips to Make Your Art Director Happy.”

Joe Merkel is an Associate Art Director at HarperCollins Children’s Books. In his almost 20 years in children’s books he’s worked on pretty much every format from board books, pop ups and picture books to middle grade and graphic novels. Most recently he worked on storyboarding and illustrating the new Harold and the Purple Crayon book, Harold and the Treasure Hunt (2019). When he’s not designing or drawing, he enjoys spending time with his family and two dogs.

Part 1 will consist of a Zoom session where Joe will discuss a variety of essential topics every art director wants you to know including how to properly set up illustrations with bleed, gutter, etc.; design and storytelling elements to consider when planning your illustration; as well as tips on how to make your work and portfolio stand out to an art director, along with time for questions.

Joe will then give everyone an assignment to complete in the weeks between Part 1 and Part 2, which will consist of three spreads (one finished minimum; the second and third can be sketches) to show what everyone has learned in terms of layout, composition, and storytelling.

Part 2 will take place on November 21 via Zoom, which will consist of group critiques of everyone’s work by Joe (submitted one week ahead of time–see due dates below). There is also a non-critique option for a lower price.

This unique event is for illustrators of all experience levels.



•Part 1 will take place Saturday, October 17, 2020 from 2:00-4:00 pm ET

•Assignments will be due to on Saturday, November 14, by 11:59 pm ET. (Submitted illustrations will be sent to Joe so he can compile feedback for everyone in the week leading up to Part 2.)

•Part 2 will take place on Saturday, November 21, from 2:00-5:00 pm ET (or until critiques are finished)

•Each critique will be 5 minutes and given by Joe in the group setting. Only attendees who sign up for a workshop ticket with critique will receive a critique. There are 25 critique spots.

•Pricing for parts 1 & 2 of the workshop plus a critique of the assignment is $40 for SCBWI members and $60 for non-members CRITIQUES ARE SOLD OUT

•If you would like to attend both sessions but DO NOT want your work critiqued, you may purchase a reduced-price ticket at $20 for SCBWI members and $30 for non-members

•Please note: there will NOT be replays or recordings of either session, so you must plan to attend Parts 1 and 2 live

•Zoom links to attend the live sessions will be emailed to all attendees closer to each event date



If you need to cancel, you must email by Wednesday, October 14, in order to receive a full refund. No refunds will be given after that date.


If you have any questions, please email Becky Gehrisch or Kathryn Powers at We hope you’ll join us for this exciting opportunity!



This event was made possible by a grant from National SCBWI.

Thank you for your generous support!