We are delighted to announce that 48 new illustrators are now featured on the ASA Style File, following our latest round of submissions!
The ASA Style File is a curated portfolio site for illustrators to showcase their work to the Australian publishing community. Originally established more than 10 years ago, it has become a respected source of high quality illustrators, and has launched the careers of many well-known Australian illustrators. In the last twelve months, approximately 80% of the illustrators featured on Style File have received professional job offers directly through the platform.
Applications for new illustrators wishing to be featured on the ASA Style File opened in September 2021, and we received a record 65 portfolio submissions from across the country. Our expert assessors Jess Racklyeft and Ben Wood were tasked with curating and assessing the submissions, and were impressed with the broad range of artistry demonstrated.
The strongest portfolios showed strong character in humans and animals, various full scenes, varied emotional states, and a powerful use of line and colour in work that would easily translate to children’s books immediately. While the style or theme might vary, the quality remained extremely high and the artist’s work was immediately recognisable as their own.
For all applicants: be sure that the standard is consistent. For example, (unless stylistically warranted) having scans of original work with paper textures and erased pencil marks can look unprofessional – ensure your background is cleaned up, colours are crisp and line quality is well represented in the final file. Most publishers work directly with digital files even if the work was created offscreen, so being familiar with programs like Photoshop or Affinity is very helpful to ensure the digital files match the quality of the original work.
Future work opportunities are limited if your work is particularly niche… ie only suited to one age group/market. If you can develop a style that could work across wider age groups / themes your opportunities are doubled. For artists aiming to illustrate books for middle grade/young adult titles the market is particularly competitive. Exploring the work of artists who are finding work in that market might be useful to further extend your own colour choices and medium. Most importantly for this application all illustrations should be children’s book appropriate. Make it as easy as possible for an art director to love your submission and find a home for your talent!
- Jess Racklyeft
The submissions were diverse and exciting, with a broad range of methods and techniques used. It was really great to see so many graphic novel and comic storytelling submissions. I found the strongest submissions were those with a clear individual style with strong technical delivery. The works that spoke to me most were those that conveyed a visual narrative in their individual style and ‘voice’. There are many striking images that will stay with me and I’m looking forward to seeing where the successful applicant’s work takes them.
- Ben Wood
The illustrators featured on the ASA Style File range from children’s picture book, general book and technical illustrators, to graphic novel artists, cartoonists and designers.
Jess Racklyeft has illustrated over twenty picture books and more recently begun writing them as well. Her books have received several accolades including the Golden Kite Award and two CBCA Notables. She often works in watercolour as well as combining digital illustration and collage. Prior to her work as an illustrator, Jess worked for almost a decade in publishing at Lonely Planet and children’s book publisher The Five Mile Press. Along with working on children’s books, Jess has a busy studio where she paints big canvases, sells prints and greeting cards, as well as working for several Australian and international clients and is the SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator for Victoria
Ben Wood is the illustrator of the bestselling Real Pigeons series, sold in over twenty countries. Ben is drawn to books with both humour and heart, and has been shortlisted for the Australian Readings Children’s Book Prize and the Australian Book Industry Awards. His latest book Real Pigeons Spy High will be released November 17th. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.