Saturday, February 12, 2022

Maria Elias (Rise): Art Directors Panel #scbwiWinter22

Maria Elias is an art director with Rise by Penguin Workshop which she co-founded in 2019.  Rise's mission is to engage, empower, and evolve the youngest readers (ages 0-5) with authentic, relevant, and elegant books. With that age group in mind Maria's recipe for a successful illustration portfolio involves KEEPING IT SIMPLE.

Don't overthink it, don't try to illustrate things you perceive are more marketable if they are wildly not in your style. Maria advocates for keeping your personal style even if you think it might be too 'old' for the 0 to 5 crowd. When Maria is looking at portfolios she's looking for work that fits a book's tone, and a biography with lived or learned experience as found in the manuscript that will help bring truth and reality to the final work.

She hires great artists, period. She's looking for illustrators with uniquely individual styles showcased in portfolios with a diverse cast of characters. 

Maria shares a number of illustrators portfolios and then compares and contrasts that work with their final work for the young audience of Rise. All of the styles are different, but all still manage to convey warm, relatable characters suited to that age range. 

Maria also asks illustrators to examine if their characters' diversity is only in skin color and not also diversity in hair styles, nose shapes, lips, body shape, etc.

She shares sketches of one of her favorite collaborators, Anne/Andy Passchier. Passchier's initial round of sketches for the book, BEING YOU. Maria wondered if they could make the designs even more personal and diverse. While still working in Pashier's style, the round 2 images contain more unique details making the character group mirror our more inclusive, realworld diversity.

No comments:

Post a Comment