2021/2022 Illustrator Mentors
Read more about each of our mentors to determine who might be the best fit for you. Check out each mentor’s website to learn more about them and view their portfolios!
Sandy Ferguson Fuller
Sandy is the author, illustrator, or author-illustrator of 10 different picture books, most recently The Poop Fairy (MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing, September 2021). She is a Colorado Book Award Finalist (2011) and a MoonBeam Silver Award winner (2011). She began her lifetime career as a picture book specialist with her mentor, Maurice Sendak, while an undergrad at Yale. She is also a literary and rights agent and a professional picture book editor/consultant (both directly via her company, Alp Arts Co. and on Reedsy.com). She lives in Vail where she enjoys just-about-anything-outdoorsy, and pals around with her dog, her grown children and two grandchildren.
Sandy is a previous mentor for SCBWI. She especially enjoys working with author-illustrators to develop the unique interplay of text and illustration which is unique to the picture book genre. The project begins with a complete line and content edit of the manuscript and evaluation for the current market. Please submit your most polished manuscript to begin. If you are also the illustrator, please submit two sample sketches for the text. Sandy is always open to questions, comments, opinions and different perspectives as the story evolves. Once the manuscript is close to final, she begins to focus more on the sketches and proper storyboarding. If self-publishing, Sandy will not require completion of final illustrations, as that is often a lengthy process. But, we will achieve complete sketches and at least one final illustration sample. Sandy will also advise on the merits of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing and provide general guidance on the submission process, if requested.
One initial phone meeting or Zoom meeting will begin the process. Email will comprise most monthly contacts, with a final Zoom meeting at the end of the consult, if desired.
Illustrators & Author-Illustrators (especially nonfiction or watercolor)
Jessica Lanan is the author and illustrator of The Fisherman and the Whale, a Colorado Book Award finalist and the winner of the 2020 Bull-Bransom award for wildlife illustration. She is also the illustrator of seven other books for young people, including The Lost Package which received four starred reviews and was selected as a Read Across America pick for 2021. Her next author-illustrator project, Jumper, will be out in 2023 from Roaring Brook Press.
Jessica enjoys working on both fiction and nonfiction but is especially passionate about projects that help young readers to discover the beauty and diversity of their world. Jessica has been a member of SCBWI since 2010 and is eager to share her knowledge with both new and experienced writers and artists. To learn more, visit Jessica’s website at jessicalanan.com.
Heather Brockman Lee
Illustrators & Author-Illustrators
Heather has a BA in Fine Art and is represented by East West Literary Agency. She is a grand prize winner of the Portfolio Showcase at the 2021 SCBWI National Summer Conference, and of the Letters and Lines 2020 Portfolio Showcase. Her work can be found in Ladybug and Babybug magazines, and in her first two picture books coming out in 2022 with Beaming Books and Innovation Press. Heather teaches illustration at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and is the Illustrator Coordinator for the RMC region. She works in both digital and traditional media. To learn more visit www.heatherbrockmanlee.com.
Who should apply to me? Any artist who is working toward developing and/or refining their portfolio with the goal of getting noticed and finding work in the vast field of Children’s illustration.
Process: Monthly Zoom calls and weekly email check-ins.
A little more about me: I love spending time with my family, my garden, my dog, and jogging or biking around the foothills near my house. I love talking about process, composition, palette and everything else to do with our creative field, and I look forward to working with you!
Illustrators & Author-Illustrators (non-rhyming text)
Dow is an author and illustrator of children’s books with over a dozen titles published or in progress. She joined SCBWI in 2011 and credits much of her success in the industry to this organization and is a former co-Regional Advisor. Dow’s work is created with pencil sketches and finished digitally with scanned traditional textures. Dow enjoys teaching and cheering aspiring picture book illustrators along on their journey. She is optimistic to a fault but will be honest with feedback for the end goal of improving your craft. When she is not creating or teaching medical students, she hikes to clear her mind and connect with nature for inspiration. Dow is represented by East West Literary Agency. Publishing clients include HarperCollins, Henry Holt/Macmillan, Hachette Book Group, Abrams, Viking Children’s, Sleeping Bear Press, Candlewick, and more. For more information, visit her website at artbydow.blogspot.com.
Process: The schedule will include Zoom sessions monthly and contact by email as needed in between. Goals for mentorship will be set at the beginning of the program and can be geared towards one big accomplishment (such a completion of a dummy or portfolio) or multiple smaller goals (learning about different aspects of picture book creation and the industry).
Anden received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art where she focused on painting and an MA in Educational Psychology and Early Childhood Literacy from the University of Colorado. In 2019 she began focusing on children’s book illustration. She is now represented by Stephanie Fretwell-Hill at Red Fox Literary and is a professor of illustration at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. You can see her work at www.andenwilder.com or on Instagram @andenwilderillustration.
Who should apply to me? Anyone who is interested in developing their children’s book portfolio, submitting to agencies, and illustrating their first children’s book dummies. I would love to help someone get their website, portfolio, and social media presence ready for submissions to literary agents.
Process: Bi-weekly email check-ins as well as monthly Zoom meetings. To start, we will meet to look over your portfolio and set goals. I am also open to meeting in person if you are in the Denver metro area (and if the pandemic allows).
Illustrators & Author-Illustrators
Kaz is a writer and illustrator who loves to make her readers laugh. Kaz specializes in cute (and sometimes spooky!) characters with lots of heart for younger kids and lots of stabbiness for older kids and teens. She studied children’s book illustration at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) where she was a valedictorian graduate in 2002. Kaz volunteered as the SCBWI Rocky Mountain Chapter Illustrator Coordinator from 2009-2021 and continues to mentor and advocate for illustrators. She is passionate about helping artists succeed and believes education is key. She is a professor of illustration and curriculum author at RMCAD (2013-present). See Kaz’s full bio, resume, and published books here – www.windnessbooks.com/about.
Who should apply to me? Everyone! I’m adept at working with both new and experienced illustrators. I’m also a writer and can assist kidlit creatives who do both.
Process: We’ll schedule a meeting, look over your portfolio and/or book dummies as well as your web and social media presence, and discuss and prioritize your art and career goals and focus on one major project. You will be asked to commit to S.M.A.R.T. goals for the duration of the mentorship and I will help and push you to achieve these goals, as well as provide tools and encouragement for your future endeavors. We will meet in-person or via Zoom at the beginning and end of our mentorship, and have weekly email check-ins, typically on Friday. Plan on submitting progress by Thursday night.
Successes! My mentees have:
– Created their first kidlit portfolio
– Written, edited, designed, and illustrated a submission-worthy picture book dummy
– Designed branding for their illustration business
– Developed promotional materials and created a mail-out list and marketing plan
– Received portfolio recognition at the SCBWI national conference
– Created new illustration work that took first prize in the SCBWI Bologna Book Fair Gallery
– Experienced life and career breakthroughs
– Found a supportive community and a sense of creative wellness
Illustrators & Author-Illustrators (including graphic novelists)
Stan is a Denver-based author and illustrator, caricature artist, and instructor. Stan has spent most of his life creating comic strips, comic books, and graphic novels, although he only started to promote them at Comic-Con in 2001 and pursue his art career full time in 2005. He started teaching comic art in 2007 via kids’ summer camps, helped to develop and teach a graphic storytelling degree program at the Community College of Aurora in 2009, has been providing mentorships through his Patreon page since 2017, and has been teaching sequential art in the Illustration program at the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design (RMCAD) since 2020. His recent credits include comics for Denver Comix and the Westword, writing and art for Vincent Price Presents (BlueWater Productions / Storm Comics), and writing and art for There’s a Zombie in the Basement (Squid Works Kids).
Who should apply to me? Although my muse has been graphic novels and comics since I was old enough to hold a pencil, you don’t have to be a graphic novelist to benefit from my decades of illustration and storytelling experience. Any illustrator or author-illustrator, especially one trying to figure out process would be an ideal candidate for having me as a mentor (I’m a 10 time 24 hour comic day challenge veteran). I’m an especially strong mentor for humorous writers and can mentor rhyme if needed. Visit stanyan.me for more information about me.
Process: After an initial review of your portfolio and/or work-in-progress and reviewing your personal career and mentorship goals, I can convene monthly personal or video conference meetings (need not be in the Denver-metro area) to provide tips, recommendations, live demos, and evaluate mentee progress toward these goals. My typical SCBWI mentorship involves meeting with the mentee monthly (via video conferencing or phone), with periodic project or assignment assistance via email between meetings.