Monday, April 19, 2010

Looking Back on CWIM: The 1993 Edition
An Interview with Ladybug/Cricket Art Director Ron McCutchan...


I was not yet working on CWIM when the 1993 edition was produced. It was about 350 pages long (at $18.95) with the addition of Audiovisual and Audiotape markets and included a piece by Jean Karl called "The Picture Book Troika" and, for the first time, a "First Books" feature.

Today I'm excerpting something for illustrators from a Close-up with Ron McCutchan, then art director for Ladybug and Cricket magazines. (The piece was written by my cousin Jennifer Hogan Redmond who was responsible for getting me my first job at F+W as editorial assistant for The Artist's Magazine and Decorative Artist's Workbook. Thanks Jen!). Here's McCutchan's advice to illustrators in a world before online portfolios:

Ron McCutchan's final word of advice to illustrators is simple: although the recent boon in children's literature provides a market rich with opportunity, remember that budgets are forever shrinking. To make yourself and your work as attractive as possible, be sure that your query package is professional, but don't get too fancy, he warns. "If you go overboard, I might ask 'Can I afford you?' Let your work stand on its own." In your initial mailing, include only 8 1/2 x 11-inch sample or slides of your artwork that can easily fit in a file drawer. And be sure to send a SASE if you want your work returned.
Be smart and leave an art director not only with a sense of your personality and ability, but with something memorable to keep. A clear, modest photocopy (clearly labeled with your name, address and telephone number) can tell as much about you as a slick, oversized promotional brochure, McCutchan stresses. The difference is, the latter item is less intimidating to an art director with a budget, easy to store and easy to find. In a market deluged with capable illustrators, these seemingly small details can make a huge difference.

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