Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI-IL Illustrator Mentorship

Art by 2019 Mentee, Jason Slater


The competition is free and open to all SCBWI members who are Illinois residents.

  • You cannot be a PAL (Published and Listed) illustrator in picture books. The intent of this mentorship is to give a boost to those who are on the verge of publication.
  • You may be a PAL illustrator who is published in chapter books or graphic novels.
  • You may be a PAL author who is also an illustrator.

2020 Mentor, Terri Murphy

SCBWI-IL IM 2020 Mentor - Terri Murphy Terri Murphy has been an SCBWI member since the 1990s and served as Chicago-Area Illustrator Network Rep and Illustrator Coordinator for ten years. Her illustrated books include Dance Y’all Dance and One Day I Went Rambling, which both resulted from SCBWI connections. Terri is a regular contributor for Cricket Magazine Group and Illinois Library Association, and is a part-time Youth Services librarian. She looks forward to giving back to the organization that inspired her artistic journey and kept her on track.

Prize: The grand prize is a three-month mentorship with our inspiring and masterful illustrator, Terri Murphy.

Visit Terri Murphy’s website.

Follow Terri and her creative process:

Breakdown of Mentorship:

  • Mutually agreed upon schedule of 3 online sessions to be completed within 3 months from start (June 1 – August 31).
  • Online sessions with email follow-ups from mentor, as mentee works to improve from suggestions.
  • Mentor will have a working knowledge of the mentee by visiting their website, and/or other social media, and their artist statement from the application.
  • Mentor will engage in discussions with mentee of the strengths/weakness of their online portfolio samples to begin the mentorship.
  • Choice is given to mentee to improve an existing illustration, or to request an assignment tailored by mentor to address the illustrator’s strengths/weaknesses.
  • Bonus: Mentee will be approached to create the website graphic for the next Illustrator Mentorship.


  • One entry per person.
  • Each entry will consist of FOUR separate pieces of art that are suitable for picture book or chapter book illustrations or graphic novels.
  • Two of the illustrations should be a page-turn sequence from the same story.
  • Do not sign artwork or put any identifying marks on illustrations. If you have already signed a piece, please block the signature before scanning.
  • Art should be in full color or rendered in black & white, finished and ready for publication.
  • Art should be appropriate for and targeted to children or teens.
  • How to name your submission:  Think of a brief descriptive title for the first illustration in your series and use it as the title for your saved pdf file. (For example: Girl with a Pearl Earring.)
  • Do not mention your name in the title.

Submission Fee:

There is no fee.

Application Period:

The submission window opens at 9:00 am on May 1st.

The submission window closes at 11:59 pm on May 9th.

Click here for the Illustrator Mentorship Application.


The mentor will make the final, winning selection.

SCBWI-Illinois will announce the winner on May 15th.

Mentorship window is June 1 – August 31. Mentee must be available and an SCBWI member during the entire mentorship window. Please consider your availability and renew your membership through August before applying.


  • Why can’t I sign my artwork? Judging is anonymous. The judge (mentor) does not know who the contestants are.
  • Why do I need to submit my art as one multi-page pdf? It’s easier for the mentorship coordinator to keep track of unsigned artwork if the submissions are grouped into one file per applicant.
  • How do I make a pdf file? Acrobat Writer, Corel Draw, Illustrator, Photoshop and other programs save files as multi-page pdfs. FedEx, Office Max/Office Depot will scan four illustrations and save them as single pdf for $8.
  • Is it okay to Tweet or post submission images on ANY social media platform? Judging is anonymous. Promoting the contest on social media is great, but please do not mention that you have entered or post images of your entry. Doing so will result in your disqualification.
  • What if I receive a contract for my artwork during the contest?
    Please contact Mentorship Coordinator, Cedric Gliane, to receive congratulations and discuss the situation.

QUESTIONS?: Email Cedric Gliane