Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2017 Mentorship & Contest

For Illustrators or Author/Illustrators


Six-month mentorship with Carmel O’Mara-Horwitz and free tuition to SCBWI-L.A. Writers & Illustrators Day 2018 (or equivalent). The mentorship includes six-months of interaction and critiques via phone, Skype, e-mail, and one-on-one meetings.


O’Mara-Horwitz will help the mentee to evaluate art pieces in their portfolio, and to create a couple of new pieces as necessary. Her focus will be helping the mentee to:

Understand the difference between making fine art or a single drawing versus storytelling with character development for a picture book – and how to convey this understanding in a portfolio
Discover and understand the audience for a successful picture book
Understand book construction, pacing, and layout and how to convey this in a portfolio
Explore the different platforms for storytelling such as pop-up book construction, apps and digital media
“My focus is on children’s book portfolios, picture book pages, covers and spot artwork.”

– Carmel O’Mara-Horwitz


Submissions: 1/3/17 – 2/14/17
Winner announced: April 14, 2017
Mentorship: May 1-October 31, 2017


1. You must be a member in good standing of the SCBWI-L.A. region.
2. Associate or Full members may apply. (No PAL members).*
3. Limited to one entry per person.

*SCBWI membership levels: PAL (published and listed), Full (published unlisted), Associate (unpublished)


1. DO NOT contact the mentor directly.
2. Applicants not in compliance with the rules or that do not adhere to the application instructions will be disqualified.
3. To ensure fairness to all, no questions will be answered.


Your submission will consist of two parts:

I. Written responses to the following:

1) Name three children’s book illustrators you admire and why.
2) List any picture books that have influenced you.
3) What is your dream project?
4) Educational background (dates not needed, just a little on how you’ve learned your craft)
5) Previous experiences (can be related to publishing, illustration or anything else you have done).

II. Digital images

Provide up to 10 images that you feel are ready to include in a children’s book portfolio. It would be helpful to include a couple of sketches.


1. Your submission must be emailed with the subject line MENTOR CONTEST to:

2. In the body of your email include:

– Your current SCBWI member name
– Address
– Phone numbers
– Email address

3. Provide your written answers to the questions in Roman numeral I (above) as a PDF attachment. Name your file: LAST NAME_ANSWERS. Example: Seuss_Answers.pdf

4. Your digital images should be 300 dpi, TIF or JPG files and no larger than 5 MB per image. Limit 10 images. Name your files with your last name and a short description: LAST NAME_SHORT IMAGE DESCRIPTION. Use numbers for multiple images with the same description. Example: Seuss_3D clay construction1.tif, Seuss_3D clay construction2.tif and Seuss_Ink sketch for graphic novel.jpg

5. Entries must be received by 11:59pm on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017.