Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 31, 2016

Take A Look Sunday – Suzy Engelman

Ronnie started the Herman Agency in 1999 and represents many of the leading illustrators and author/illustrators in today’s children’s book market. As a former Art Director at Random House and Art Director, Associate Publisher and V.P. at Penguin Books’ Grosset & Dunlap, Ronnie art directed thousands of children’s books during her more than 20 years in working for major publishing hosues. Ronnie is also the author of 12 children’s books and one of her books has been on the NY Times best-seller list. Ronnie and the Agency are affiliated with the following organizations: SCBWI, Authors’ Guild, Graphic Artists’ Guild, U.S. Association of Accredited Business.


Here is Ronnie:

Suzy Engelman Block is the illustrator for this week. Suzy works with acrylic because, in her words, “…they are so forgiving and inspire (me) to experiment.” I will take this moment to diverge from the critique of Suzy work.

It is always important to realize that an art director or editor may ask you for changes to your final artwork. I ALWAYS recommend that an artist submit one final piece for approval before moving forward with the rest of the art to avoid unnecessary corrections at the end. But you should know how you would make a change to a final piece of art. This is where Photoshop is a gift from the gods. If, however, you aren’t proficient with Photoshop, then acrylics are great. Acrylics make make changes possible because they are “forgiving,” unlike watercolors. I also always recommend that you show your editor and art director one final piece after you have been given a go-ahead on your final sketches. With their approval of your one color piece, then you can move forward confidently and avoid unnecessary changes to the final art.

blogSEBlock MannyMoeMac village walk100

Suzy has a story here about a boy who is not happy walking  two dogs who are giving him some trouble and boring and bewildering him. We clearly see this from the excellent expressions and body language of the three characters. I do find the size relation between the characters and the buildings behind them a bit disconcerting. I would suggest there be fewer buildings and that they be  taller and wider. While I like the designs and colors on the buildings, I find them detracting from our focus on the three characters. Make them less busy with fewer patterns and softer colors. If they are as dark as the sidewalk, which, perhaps, could be a little softer in color, the whole piece will become too dark and heavy.

blogSEBlock MannyMoeMacRedChair100

In this piece, our boy and dogs have returned home exhausted from their walk. I just love how the dog is lying on the boy and the position of the boy. Once again, great body language and expressions. Not having read the book, I am not sure what the dog under the chair is doing here but he/she should be lighter in color so that it doesn’t blend into the chair. I wonder what the boy s holding onto with his left hand? Is this fabric from the chair? Unusual for a chair like this to have fabric hanging down. I think the fabric should be eliminated and the right leg of the chair should match the left leg, as it is now too wide. The background isn’t pure white. Do you want the background color to print this pale, pale blue or do you want it to be white. Just let your designer know if you want it to be dropped out. The printer can easily do this.

I do hope these comments are worthwhile. Here’s to a wonderful new week – Ronnie.


If you do not have an agent and would like to be featured and hear what is working or how it could be tweaked to help you sell your work, then please send Two SEQUENTIAL illustrations (Two with the SAME “story/characters‎”) to:

Kathy.temean (at) Illustrations should be at least 500 pixels wide. Please put ILLUSTRATOR PORTFOLIO in the subject area and include a blurb about yourself that I can use to introduce you to everyone.

Each Sunday one illustrator will be chosen.

CALL FOR ILLUSTRATORS: Remember I’m always looking for illustrations I can use with articles I post. Send to: Kathy.temean (at) Put ILLUSTRATION FOR BLOG in the subject area. Remember all illustration need to be 500 pixels wide. Include a blurb about yourself, too.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Shared on twitter.


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