We are delighted to announce that 20 new illustrators have joined the ASA Style File, following the 2022 round of submissions.
Applications for illustrators wishing to be featured on the ASA Style File opened for submissions in August 2022 and closed late September 2022. This round of ASA Style File submissions have been assessed and curated by our expert assessors Aśka and Simon Howe, who were impressed by the broad range of styles, content and techniques displayed in the submissions.
The new illustrators (in alphabetical order) are:
Renkai, Paridhi P Apte, Danni B, Ella Brissenden, Ramona Davey, Sue deGenarro, Andrew Fyfe, Dean Gorissen, Dan Heck, Mie Huntley, Minerva Lamorgese, Max Landrak, Amanda Letcher, Dan Marshall, Mali Merttens, Helen Nieuwendijk, Keisha Rachel, Kate Talbot, Rowan Tallant and Edi Udo.
It is exciting to see the new crop of Style File Folios. A rich mix of children’s and adult content, digital and traditional styles, as well as storytelling, cover art and design. There was also a strong representation of cartooning work, which is nice to see.
The majority of the entries were very engaging, and I’d strongly encourage the unsuccessful illustrators to keep making work and apply again next year. The most professional folios consisted of work with a variety of topics, in a variety of poses and from a range of viewpoints. But at the same time, they were focussed in their particular style, so that a customer can gauge what to expect when commissioning the artist. This is only achieved through a solid volume of work – so keep at it!
If aiming towards children’s illustration (which is where a lot of work in publishing can be found), developing confidence in human form, facial expressions and most importantly: movement, is essential.
Finally, please keep in mind that in today’s industry, traditional medium artists are still required to have a minimum level of digital skills, to photograph or scan, and then digitally ‘clean up’ their work, before it can be displayed onscreen at a professional standard.
I extend my best wishes to all of the applicants, and I know the future will bring many exciting job opportunities for this year’s successful illustrators!
The techniques and styles on display in the contemporary illustration market are wonderfully, and increasingly, eclectic. No approach to picture-making is off the table, and it’s exciting to see such diversity on show in the portfolios of this year’s applicants.
The most eye-catching images are the ones with clear shapes and values, strong lines, consistent textures, harmonious colours, and emotive characters. They balance technical competence with storytelling and show connections, interactions and mood.
My note to those who were not selected this time – keep working on your picture-making fundamentals, your storytelling, and further consider what kind of work you want to do and who needs to see it. If you want the attention of publishers and commissioning editors of picture books, your folio needs to demonstrate strong characters (animals, children, adults), compelling environments, character interactions, varying emotions and a good colour sense. For comics, depending on style, art directors may be looking for strong anatomy, gesture and perspective, or laugh-out-loud humour. For editorial work, you need to be able to communicate not just ideas, but entertaining connections between different ideas. Don’t be vague with your portfolio. Choose a selection of images that speak directly and decisively to your intended employer.
A broader note to digital artists – a pattern I often see is a tendency to overuse or become inconsistent with texture overlays and texture brushes. It’s easy to do! Texture brushes are excellent and fun to use. But picture-making fundamentals need to come first, and no texture overlay will ever mask structural issues in a picture.
Good luck to all the applicants. Keep making and keep putting your work out there. Publishers of illustration have never been more open and experimental with graphic styles. So be bold, practice your craft, tell stories and hone your voice. We look forward to seeing what you have to say.
- Simon Howe
About the Assessors
Aśka is a visual storyteller, a comics maker, a children’s illustrator and an ex-quantum physicist. A hugely engaging and popular presenter, Aśka is passionate about visual literacy, and has published more than ten books, comics and graphic novels. Most recent title is the CBCA Notable, ALIA Notable and Comic Arts Awards Australia Shortlisted YA graphic novel STARS IN THEIR EYES, with Jessica Walton, which was bought by Scholastic US in 2022. Aśka has been a judge for the CBCA’s Make Your Own Storybook Competition five years running, is an organising committee member for the Perth Comic Arts Festival, regularly contributes to The School Magazine and spent four years as an Illustrator Co-ordinator in the WA branch of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. When not telling stories with pictures, Aśka is travelling across Western Australia as a roving science communicator.
Simon Howe is an illustrator and author with a broad appetite for children’s literature, animation, storytelling and design. He has worked with a number of major publishers including Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Allen & Unwin and Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing. In 2022, his works were nominated for several awards, including at the Australian Book Industry Awards, Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards, and the Australian Book Design Awards. He has also collaborated extensively with ARIA award-winning children’s music group, Teeny Tiny Stevies, designing and animating many of their music videos. His first authored picture book, Shoosh!, was published in 2020 by the State Library of Queensland.