Brooke Boynton Hughes was the recipient of the SCBWI Mentorship Award at the 2013 Summer Conference. Kidlit Artists would like to officially welcome Brooke to the blog, and ask her a few questions about the Mentorship experience and about what she is up to these days.
Kidlit Artists: Getting such specific and direct feedback on your work, did you find the experience enlightening? Affirming? Confusing? Conflicting? Why?
Brooke: I found the feedback I received to be both enlightening and affirming. All of the mentors zeroed in on two main weaknesses in my work, which made it very clear what I need to focus on moving forward.
I also came away from the critiques knowing that I need to do more life drawing. In grad school I spent two years drawing the figure from life, but somehow, once I was finished with school I fell out of the habit of life drawing. I'm excited to start drawing from observation again.
Brooke: Right now I'm working on my first two books, a middle grade book for Disney/Hyperion, called "Cupcake Cousins", written by Kate Hannigan and a picture book for Beach Lane Books, called "Baby Love", which is written by Angela DiTerlizzi. Working on my first books has been really exciting! Next year I'll be doing a picture book for Random House, written by Linda Ashman, called "MORE!". The manuscript for this story is really lively and fun and I can't wait to get started.
Kidlit Artists: Is there one really helpful piece of advice that you've gotten since pursuing illustration? Any one piece of horrible advice?
Brooke: Several years ago at the SCBWI L.A. Summer Conference I received a portfolio critique from Marla Frazee. This was the first time that I had my portfolio reviewed by a professional illustrator and Marla's advice was extraordinarily helpful. The main thing that stuck with me was that she told my to keep going. She said that I was on the right track and that I just needed to keep pushing ahead. That piece of advice came at a time when I really needed to hear it and I feel so grateful to have had such a thoughtful and encouraging critique of my work.
Kidlit Artists: Last, please tell us where we can find you online.
Brooke: You can find me online at www.BrookeBoyntonHughes.com, where there is a link to my blog. You can also find me on twitter, @BrookeBHughes.
Kidlit Artists: Thank you Brooke!