Jun 7

SCBWI Tokyo Illustration Day with John Shelley

SCBWI-Tokyo Publicity Assistant Suzanne Kamata (Tokushima 1988-90) shares the following:

Sunday August 19, 2012

SCBWI Tokyo Illustration Day with John Shelley:

Breathing Life Into Your Pictures

Power up your pictures! Give your illustrations vitality and zest! This SCBWI Tokyo Illustration Day featuring illustrator John Shelley will focus on techniques that children’s illustrators use to create resonance in their work and will explore how visual psychology works to convey mood, emotion, and movement. The Action and Emotion Illustration Assignment to be completed in advance of the workshop provides an opportunity for illustrators to develop their craft through open critiques at the event.

Time:  Sunday, August 19, 2012, 9:00 am-5:00 pm

Place:  Tokyo Women’s Plaza, Audiovisual Room, A & B
5-53-67 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (by the Children’s Castle and United Nations University). For a map see www.scbwi.jp/map.htm


Full program: (includes all sessions plus sketch review and open critique of the Action and Emotion Assignment): SCBWI Members 5,000 yen; Non-Members 8,000 yen. Advance registration and advance payment required; email contact (at) scbwi.jp. Advance payment is due by July 1, 2012.

Audit/At the door: (includes all sessions but does not include sketch review or critique of Action and Emotion Assignment) Members 4,000 yen; Non-members 7,000 yen. Reservations required: email contact (at) scbwi.jp.


This event will be in English. Japanese interpretation is available with advance request.

This Illustration Day is made possible in part through an Illustration Grant from SCBWI.




9:00-9:20 Registration


9:20-9:30 Opening Words


9:30-10:30 Drama in Pictures
Using examples from children’s books past and present, this talk will focus on how composition can improve depth and energy, how illustrators use color, texture, space, and lighting to affect mood and create tension and atmosphere in their work.


10:45-11:45 Character Dynamics
Movement of characters is crucial to narrative in children’s books. This session will focus on the use of posture and detail to emphasize character. Using example illustrations, we will consider how gesture, motion and composition can improve narrative flow and energy.


11:45-1:15 Lunch–bring a bento or enjoy lunch at a nearby cafe


1:15-3:00 Action and Emotion Illustration Assignment—Discussion and Open Critiques of Artwork

The Action and Emotion Illustration Assignment will be completed prior to the event—illustrators will illustrate either 1. a book jacket for a middle-grade (readers age 8-12) or early reader book; OR 2. a picture book double-page spread. Sketches will be reviewed in advance by John Shelley via email before illustrators complete the final artwork. Sketches and final artwork will be on display at the event for these open critiques and discussion. To receive the assignment details, please see above about registration and fees, and email contact (at) scbwi.jp before July 1, 2012.


3:15-4:15 Panel Presentation on Promotion and Opportunities for Illustrators featuring illustrators John Shelley, Naomi Kojima and Yoko Yoshizawa

How does evolving technology open up opportunities for artists? How do illustrators survive in a changing market? In a world swamped by digital media how does an illustrator stand out from the crowd? These questions will be discussed by a panel of illustrators including John Shelley, Naomi Kojima and Yoko Yoshizawa.


4:15-4:45 Q&A and Wrap-Up Discussion

Participants and panelists will share final reflections, offer advice, ask questions, and share future goals in illustration.




John Shelley John Shelley studied at Bournville School of Art and Manchester Polytechnic under children’s illustrator Tony Ross before debuting as a freelance illustrator in London. Fascinated by Japanese art, in 1987 he moved to Tokyo in search of the missing link between samurai and Sony, making it his home for the following 21 years. In Japan his award-winning illustrations have been used in everything from animated TV ads, poster and newspaper campaigns to character merchandising and editorial illustration. With a unique insight into the Japanese creative market he has stood as a committee member of JAGDA (Japan Graphic Designer Association) and presented at colleges across the country. Shelley’s work for children’s publishing follows a more elaborate vein of pen and watercolor. His first major picture book The Secret in the Matchbox achieved awards in both the U.K. and U.S., and Shelley now has 50 books to his credit. New picture books for 2012 include Halloween Forest, with text by Marion Dane Bauer (Holiday House) and his own retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk Jack to mame no ki (Fukuinkan Shoten). Based in the UK since 2008, Shelley still maintains close associations with Japan. Visit his website www.jshelley.com.


Naomi Kojima is an author and illustrator of children’s books. Born in Japan, Kojima spent her childhood years in the U.S. and studied fine arts at Rhodes College. Her books have been published in the U.S. and Japan, and have been translated in France, Sweden, and Indonesia. She is the author and illustrator of the picture books The Alphabet Picture Book and Utau shijimi (The Singing Clams) published by Kaisei-sha, and the illustrator of Bakuyumehime no Gogakuyu, a middle-grade fantasy by Sachiko Kashiwaba, which will be published by Kaisei-sha in July 2012. Kojima recently served as a judge for the Scholastic Asian Book Award 2012.


Yoko Yoshizawa serves as the SCBWI Tokyo Illustrator Coordinator and is a writer, translator, illustrator and printmaker. Her publications include Oogui hyotan (The Magic Pumpkin, 1999, 2004, 2005) and Samlee mame wo torikaesu (Samlee Took Back the Beans, 2007) both from Fukuinkan, and Google English Writing (2009) from Kodansha International. She loves animals and has collected more than 2,000 animal idioms and sayings from the world. She contributed a regular column on them to the Asahi Weekly twice a month for two years from April 2010. Oogui hyotan is going to be published in China in 2012. Yoshizawa’s picture book retelling Matata murefu (Who is in Rabbit’s House) is to be published by Fukuinkan in 2012. 


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