Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Illustrator Mentors

2020/2021 Illustrator Mentors

Use this list to determine which mentor will be the best fit for you, but also check out each illustrator’s website to learn more about them and view their portfolios!

Dow Phumiruk

Dow is an author and illustrator of several children’s books, with an emphasis on the illustration side. She joined SCBWI in 2011 and credits all of her success in the industry to this organization. She is a self taught artist. Her work is mostly created digitally. 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 lives in Lone Tree, Colorado, and is represented by East West Literary Agency. Publishing clients include HarperCollins, Henry Holt/Macmillan, Hachette Book Group, Abrams, Viking, Sleeping Bear Press, and Zonderkidz. Picture books only.

Karen “Kaz” Windness
Kaz is a PAL (Published and Listed) writer and illustrator creating sweet and subversive stories with unique characters for kids of all ages. Kaz studied children’s book illustration at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) where she was a valedictorian graduate in 2002. A proud SCBWI member for over seventeen years, Kaz gives back as the Rocky Mountain Chapter Illustrator Coordinator (2009-present). She is passionate about helping others succeed and believes education is key. She teaches illustration at RMCAD and is an RMC-SCBWI illustrator mentor. Kaz is obsessed with waffles and all things spooky. She loves working in acrylic, collage, pencil, and Photoshop. There’s not much she won’t turn into an art supply. Kaz is represented by Tim Travaglini at Transatlantic Agency Her most recent book, “Mother Goth Rhymes” (Hermes Press) released in August 2019. IF UR STABBY is set to release in July of 2021, and SWIM, JIM! comes out from Simon & Schuster Summer 2022.

Who should apply to me? Everyone! I’m adept at working with both new and experienced illustrators. I’m a writer and can assist kidlit creatives who do both. I’m also a professional intuitive coach and counselor and am happy to offer those skills upon request.

Process: We’ll schedule a meeting, look over your portfolio and/or book dummies as well as your web/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, middle, and end of our mentorship, and have weekly email check-ins, usually on Friday.

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

– 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


Stan Yan

Stan is a Denver-based writer/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, and has been providing mentorships through his Patreon page since 2017. 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). Stan is represented by Peter Ryan from Stimola Literary Studio

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).

Process: After an initial review of your portfolio and/or work-in-progress and reviewing your personal career and mentor ship 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.