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Tom Byrne – Editorial illustration, from the inside. Paris, December 2010

December is a very exciting time for illustration in Paris.
One of many events was hosted by SCBWI France:
www.scbwifrance.com

The “From Idea to Book” event was held in Parson School of Design, on December 4th. The guest speakers included editors, Patrick Collins and Noa Wheeler, from the Henry Holt publishing house, NY. Sandra Carey, an international artists coach at the TAI group. Stephanie Thwaites, an artists and writers agent. Doug Cushman, illustrator of 120 childrens books and a man of wry humor, like all the best illustrators…

There were many more speakers and I can’t list them all but they were all very interesting. It was attended by 60 people. Fifty four of whom were women writers and illustrators from various countries. Only four men. The entire presentation was in English and many nationalities were represented.

Notable subjects discussed included the future of publishing, digital books, statistics on the use of e-readers and advice on how to approach publishers. One of the many interesting things which came up, was that it seems universally agreed that American publishers are the most respectful and generous towards illustrators. An illustrator is offered a minimum of 6 months on a book project. Such luxury cannot be imagined for many people who work in editorial. At one point the illustrators and the writers separated to be coached on different topics. The event was structured over 2 days, beginning on a Friday evening, for a Portfolio Doctoring workshop.

There was also an illustration advance assignment for a workshop on Saturday. People had a few months to consider a story and illustrate a page from it. Patrick Collins was the person who oversaw and critiqued people on their work during this session.

It’s really hard to pick out one thing over another in this event. Everything was well thought out and very useful. The speakers really knew their topic and were good communicators and all the people who attended behaved very professionally despite the fact that some of them were just starting out. Many already knew one another as the world of writing and illustrating here in Paris is small but active.

Tom Byrne is an illustrator living and working in Paris, France. He works for a wide range of international clients in advertising and design while also running an art gallery on the Ile Saint Louis which exhibits both illustrators and fine artists. His work can be found here, www.tombyrne.com and here www.tjbyrne.com.