Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lucy Ruth Cummins, Art Director: What Makes Your Work Publishable

 One of the most amazing reasons to attend a conference has to be getting to meet someone like Lucy. You can't tell from our blog posts how enthusiastic a presenter is or how good their comic timing is. All I'm saying, guys, is you have to get your butts out here.

Simon & Schuster Art Director Lucy Cummins loves, loves, loves children's books.  She's a no-nonsense champion of picture books and their creators. Actually, she's full of nonsense, but you know what I mean. Besides a great session, Lucy provided a six-page handout with fantastic advice and hints. SIX PAGES.

Lucy says she's always looking for new illustrators—her office is a fire hazard from all the postcards and print outs she has out or up on walls.

What's new? What's next?

Lucy provided some insight on what non-trendy trends were trending in picture books these days, a few, but not all of the ones she mentioned are:

SHORT BOOKS, sooo short. Ten words, five words, no words, that kind of short.

THE QUIET BOOK by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska (are you guys paying attention? Every art director has mentioned this book, though it's not from any of their houses.) AND BOYS, by Jeff Newman, which tells the story in multiple panels of wordless sequences—still elegant without words, says Lucy.

NON-FICTION, picture book biographies are hot, hot, hot.

BARACK OBAMA by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Bryan Collier. Meghan McCarthy's POP.

Jaime's Favorite Part

Lucy had had her favorite unpublished illustrator's postcard on her wall for four years before she found the perfect first book match for him. That illustrator is Jon Klassen, a personal favorite! And he just won Canada's Governor General's Award for that first book, CATS NIGHT OUT.

She showed us Jon's An Eye for Annai  cartoon:


Lucy told the group about some of her favorite websites and blogs that she visits daily, or, for Illustration Mundo, she visits that site twice a day!

Her best advice for making your work publishable:

Your most important obligation as an illustrator is to practice.



    Cool, where can we meet?

  2. Lucy designed my latest pb Mr. Duck Means Business. I loooove her. :)

  3. Cool, Tammi! And here's a link to the MR. DUCK MEANS BUSINESS book trailer:

  4. I would love to work with Lucy!
    Her energy was intoxicating while I was listening to her speaks all I could think of is how much better my work would be if she was working on the project