Friday, August 4, 2023

Art Directors Panel: Miranda Paul

Art Directors Panel: The Changing Landscape in Children's Book Publishing for Illustrators

 Moderated: TeMika Grooms

Miranda Paul
Agent, Author

Miranda Paul is an award-winning author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books for children. She has received starred reviews and Junior Library Guild distinction for several titles. Miranda also works as a literary agent for Erin Murphy Literary Agency, repping everything from board books to young adult. She is a frequent presenter at schools around the world, and has presented at the Library of Congress Young Readers Center with environmental activist Isatou Ceesay. She is a co-founding member of We Need Diverse Books. More at and

Q: How do you approach searching for illustrators?

As an agent, she searches through her queries for illustrators. She also finds artists at conferences like SCBWI, online pitches, and teaching opportunities where she connects with students who then query her. 

She is also known to scroll through social media and may reach out if she spots beautiful art that speaks to her. Instagram is great because she enjoys seeing a lot of art and sometimes a portfolio is limited to a set number of pieces.

Q: What type of format would you like to see illustrators submit work?

Many illustrators submit through Query Manager. Miranda loves seeing dummies in her inbox. The dummy doesn't have to be finished but she appreciates looking through a dummy. It lets her know that the artist knows how to plan a layout, spots, and spreads (with the gutter in mind). Having an understanding of the physical format of a picture book is a plus.

Also, the inclusion of links to a portfolio is key. Having access to higher-resolution pictures is important. Miranda appreciates a fine art look where backgrounds are completely painted; high-res allows her to see textures, and details in a spread with space for the words in mind. 

Q: Submission process: Open to submissions, limited submission? What is the best time of year to submit?

Always actively looking for illustrators, especially authors/illustrators. There is no particular time of year that is better than the next but she would only be closed if she is behind in reading queries. 
She asks people to be patient and let her know if they get other offers so she can bump up their query. She appreciates being updated just in case she is in the middle of reviewing your work and has spent a lot of time on it.

Things Miranda likes to see: 
  • Tell a story with your character. 
  • Add nuances like jewelry, clothing, hairstyles, etc.
  • Diversity of people and children
  • Interesting point of view. Think cinematically, not just front-facing work
  • Don't forget the emotional layer of your art! It makes a huge impact!

If you want to view this session to hear the full content, along with the rest of the conference, register at Replays of the conferences will be available until September 10, 2023.

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