Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 2, 2016

Take A Look Sunday – Lena Shiffman



T2 Children’s Illustrators is a diverse group of dedicated, timely, and enthusiastic illustrators and writers from across the United States and several countries abroad. Our focus is on children’s picture book and juvenile educational publishing. But our expertise does not stop there. T2 Illustrators have collaborated on advertising campaigns, editorial features, toys, games, gifts, children’s apps, and e-books. We’re a well-versed group ready to meet your needs.

Nicole and Jeremy Tugeau are the agent/owners behind the T2 Team. They are ecstatic about their ever-growing agency, and they are committed to working hard for the network of illustrators who surround them. Nicole heads up the agency on a day-to-day basis.

What she enjoys most about being an Agent is the partnership-making, the relationships and of course the success stories. Jeremy is a long-time children’s illustrator, and he continues to work as an artist in this field while maintaining some involvement with T2 Illustrators as a creative resource and promotional guru.


Lena Shiffman has put forth three very rich, narrative illustrations for review. Overall, the pictures are wonderfully consistent in both character and color.  And the story premise is unique and interesting. I enjoy how Lena has emphasized the shape of the shell in every picture. And contrasted the young girl in the yellow dress so nicely so that she stands out in each picture telling us it’s ‘her’ story we’re moving through. So much is conveyed without any words, it’s a sure sign of a capable illustrator.


In the first picture it appears that the young girl has happened upon a section of beach inhabited by kids who live in shells. What a great reverie brought to life!  A nice touch is the girl holding her bunny, suggesting she’s come from ‘home’ or ‘sleep’ or someplace safe. The children’s greetings are happy and there sure is a lot of activity going on. There is a nice level of detail and that peek inside the nearest shell is the perfect touch. I’m not sure if the girl, with her hand to her mouth, is saying ‘oh my’ or ‘what in the world?’, gasping or exuberant. It’s a nice gesture, but the expression is rather plain. The spread before this picture might tell us more about the girl’s personality and what she’s looking for, enough to inform her mood here.  Something to think about!  And the same yellow dresses on the two girls is it coincidence…or not?


In the second spread the welcome wagon of children are gone and the young girl in the yellow dress sits alone inside one of the shells. The details in this piece are really the best part of the picture, the shell seating, the hanging dresses and baubles, the books, bucket and mouse. But I’m forced to wonder, again, what the young girl is thinking and how she’s reacting to all the stuff that surrounds her.  I long to see her face!  She’s picked up a new stuffed animal, a teddy bear, and I wonder where her bunny has gone. Again, the space appears warm and agreeable and full of all the things a young girl would love, but I’m not convinced the young girl is content. I’d know more if I could see her eyes and face!


In the third spread, visiting another shell interior, the girl is alone again, but things have certainly become more lively!  The ballerina spins, the girl plays horn, and the lion roars. It must be a dream. Or is it?  What confuses me here is how some of the objects from the second spread, like the penguin and the teddy bear and pail, repeat in the new space.  I spy the mouse, too!  So I have to believe that Lena is still developing the story and experimenting with the pictures. It’s exciting to see the young girl enjoying her surroundings and the toys coming to life, and I’m left only wanting to know more.

Lena, best of luck realizing this story. You’re off to a wonderful start!

Very best, Nicole T.


Thank you Nicole for sharing your thoughts and expertise with us. I look forward to next Sunday.

Here’s Lena’s bio:

Lena was born and raised in Sweden and attended Spectrum Institute of Commercial Art in NJ. She later studied at The Parsons School of Design and the Art Students League in New York City. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and a former council member of the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature (RUCCL).

Currently, she is an art instructor for Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, the Somerset Art Association in Bedminster, the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick, and for the Hunterdon Park and Recreation—in New Jersey.

Lena was featured on Illustrator Saturday in January 2011. You can also visit her site at:


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 or Three SEQUENTIAL illustrations (Two/three with the SAME “story/characters‎”) to:

Kathy.temean (at) Illustrations should be at least 500 pixels wide and your name should be in the .jpg title. 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 featured.

Talk tomorrow,


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