Erin O'Shea was a recipient of the SCBWI Mentorship Award at the 2009 Summer Conference. The 2010 founders of Kidlit Artists would like to officially welcome Erin to the blog, and ask her a few questions about the Mentorship experience and about what she is up to these days.
Kidlit Artists: Did the feedback you receive during the mentorship critiques either change or confirm the direction of your illustration? Are there any specific examples you can share?
Erin: I was very honored to be selected for the mentorship award and thrilled to hear the feedback that the mentors had for my work. The most influential feedback that I received was that I was using similar perspectives and limited expression in most of my imagery. Often times as illustrators we think we know what our areas of weakness are and sometimes critiques confirm that, but then it’s great to get critiques that surprise you! I knew the full body of my work but I wasn’t REALLY aware that it wasn’t being reflected in my portfolio. I hadn’t realized that the work I was most proud of was all in a similar perspective! So I really focused on creating imagery that I was proud of, that had a range of perspectives and expressions.
Kidlit Artists: Have you seen a shift in your work since you were mentored?
Erin: Yes, I’ve become much more aware of what is needed in my portfolio to reflect my abilities. That doesn’t mean I’ve necessarily been able to DO it! It’s fascinating how I know consciously what needs to be done, yet there’s the intuitive/creative part me that wants to have a say as well! But that’s what I love about the challenge of illustration! The only solution is to keep drawing!
Kidlit Artists: What kinds of projects are you working on now?
Erin: I’m working on multiple personal projects that I’m writing and illustrating. One is a heavily illustrated YA memoir/novel and the other is a picture book. I’m working on a picture book for a small publishing company and submitted a cover for a YA novel.
Kidlit Artists: Is there anything, looking ahead, that you’re excited to be working on?
Erin: I really enjoy doing book covers and hope to do more in the future. I also am very interested in the emerging ebook and app markets so I’m working digitally on a few projects to see how my work translates.
Kidlit Artists: Is there any type of illustration (or other work) that you’re hoping for in the near future?
Erin: I’m looking into the scrapbooking market for extra illustration work and am open to doing more educational work as well. My main goal is to get an agent and have some representation out there beyond my marketing efforts. I also teach part time and have applied for full time positions at local colleges and hope to be having steady income through that as well!
Kidlit Artists: Last, please tell us where we can find you online.
Thanks for joining Erin!