Writers & Illustrators of the Future Workshop Week 2024 Day 4

Writers & Illustrators of the Future Workshop Week
2024 – Day 4

Writers’ Workshop—Time’s Up!

Contributed by Martin Shoemaker

On the third day in the workshop, Jody Lynn Nye and Robert J. Sawyer welcomed the winners back at 2:00 p.m. to celebrate their successful 24-hour stories. The writers were all surprised and pleased by how much they wrote once they had a goal and a deadline. What had seemed a daunting challenge became almost easy. (Almost)

Then Rob spoke on awards and eligibility, and the value of awards to your career. Jody and Rob spoke on the editing process, including macro editing vs. micro editing and the value of continuity.

After a break, Jody and Rob selected two stories for workshopping by use of the traditional method: throwing the stories down the stairs and seeing which flew farthest. Meanwhile, Contest judge Tim Powers spoke on suspension of disbelief and how to encourage it, while covering many other topics during a wide-ranging two hours. Tim spoke of why he still feels that traditional publishing is the best career path.

After another break, however, Contest judge Todd McCaffrey discussed the power of independent publishing, along with your added responsibilities in production and publishing. This demonstrated the important point that there are many paths in modern publishing, and you need to learn and find your own.

Next Contest judge Katherine Kurtz spoke to writers and illustrators about her work and her career, encouraging the winners to take advantage of opportunities that go beyond the business of their art.

The day wrapped up with one of the most popular features of workshop week: the art reveal. Illustrators, judges, and staff gathered in a room with the finished artwork; and then the writers were admitted so that each could find the illustration for their story. Eyes lit up, jaws dropped, and a few tears were shed as the writers saw their stories beautifully illustrated for the first time. Then the illustrators met their writers and described how they created the art. After some great conversations, everyone gathered for group photos to wrap up the day.

Illustrators’ Workshop—A Full Day and the Big Reveal!

Contributed by Leah Ning

This morning, Illustrator Contest judge Lazarus Chernik came in to speak about working with creative directors and art directors. The winners heard about working as a team, keeping your style as you work in a team and under a director. Lazarus also spoke about how audience, especially cultural influence, matters in terms of composition and design. He says that composition sends very specific messages, even if we aren’t consciously aware of it.

Next, illustrator judge Dan dos Santos spoke to the illustrators about this year’s anthology cover. He described his process of creating a cover illustration, from beginning to end. He explained and emphasized the importance of lighting and in using photo reference.

The line of judges continued with Larry Elmore, who presented some of the illustrations he did for Dungeons & Dragons and Dragonlance and how they came to be. He also spoke about recognizing visual patterns in nature. He fielded questions from the illustrators about career longevity and media and spoke to the value of original, handmade pieces. We also got a sneak peek at one of his works in progress!

Following their lunch break, the illustrators participated in a live figure drawing salon with models dressed in science fiction costumes. Then they created thumbnails as part of their assignment of illustrating To the Stars by L. Ron Hubbard. Lazarus spoke about illustrating a story in your own style while they worked on thumbnails, which he then reviewed and provided feedback and guidance. This allowed the illustrators to hone their sketches.

The evening finished out with the big art reveal! Illustrators, judges, and Contest staff alike lined the room in anticipation of the authors’ entrance, and when they came in, there were grins, gasps, wide eyes, and exclamations of “that one is mine!” Authors and illustrators hugged each other as they connected over the art, and tears were shed as authors recognized their visions in the beautiful work the illustrators had done. It’s easy to see why this event is one of the most highly anticipated of the week even for those who aren’t among the winners.

With the reveal finished and group portraits taken, the winners were once again released for the night to eat dinner and socialize. Tomorrow, we anticipate more learning as well as the winners’ BBQ with the judges. Tune in tomorrow night for more on this event!



1 reply
  1. Dustin Adams
    Dustin Adams says:

    The art reveal was one of my favorite parts of the whole workshop week. Like James Davies said in his speech, the art was better than I imagined.


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