Saturday, February 12, 2022

Erica De Chavez (HarperCollins): Art Directors' Panel #SCBWIWinter22

Erica De Chavez

Erica De Chavez is a Filipino-American children's book designer at HarperCollins Publishers during the day. By night, she is a freelance illustrator, designer, and storyteller. Born and raised in Kissimmee, FL she now calls Brooklyn, NY her home. 

Erica participated in the panel, "Recipe For Success in 2022 From An Art Director's Point Of View," which was moderated by Laurent Linn. Be sure to check out the takeaways on the Conference blog of the other art directors, including Maria Elias (Penguin Random House), Kristen Nobles (Charlesbridge), Lesley Worrell (Tor/Forge Books) and Cecilia Yung (Penguin Books For Young Readers).

Some of the books Erica has worked on as a book designer:

Some of the books that Erica De Chavez has worked on

Erica is also a children's book illustrator. Her illustrations appear in Mighty May Won't Cry Today, written by Kendra and Claire-Voe Ocampo, illustrated by Erica, published by Bunny Patch Press.

Erica's talk was packed with a ton of practical advice about how book creators, especially illustrators, can pursue success in 2022. Just a few takeaways:

- Figure out your personal book interests as readers and creators, and then research imprints/publishers that publish those books.

- Focus on improving your "soft" and your "hard" skills. Examples of soft skills: communication, organization, setting up creative work routines, being active in your book community. Examples of hard skills: learning new techniques, learning as much as you can about how the publishing industry works.

- Create a reasonable schedule of goals. Be granular and add measurable metrics to your goals. e.g. One new character design every month, etc. Erica showed us samples from her own notebook with 2022 art goals, 2022 art goals broken into monthly To Do lists, then her weekly/hourly breakdown.

Erica also talked about ways that illustrators can show their work, including tips on social media, advice on how to find your people and build your community.

She encouraged creators to set an intention and find meaning. "There isn't enough time in our lives to make art and write stories that do NOT excite us or mean a lot to us personally."

You can find out more about Erica De Chavez here:


Twitter: @PandaErica

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