Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 13, 2019

Illustrator Critique of Pat Achilles by Mira Reisberg

Hullo kidlit mates, I am so delighted to be doing my second video illustration critique here on Kathy Temean’s blog. Here’s the link to last week’s critique 

Last week and this week, we have some pretty high skill-level illustrators, but as I mentioned last week, there’s always room for improvement. I also give a disclaimer in all my critiques to take what you like and leave the rest and that as many people as look at your work, that’s how many opinions you’ll receive.

I’m pretty much 99.99% sure that Pat Achilles’ illustrations are made with watercolor, but with the phenomenal breakthroughs in Procreate and Photoshop technology, it can be hard to tell these days. I also want to give a shout out to Pat, that if it’s not too corny for her, with a name like Achilles, she should include some Greek mythology figures in black and white in her portfolio along with her existing B&W art to get more chapter book, middle grade, and graphic novel work, which is in hot demand.

So without further ado, here’s my critique to take what you like and leave the rest. I imagine that Pat already knows Photoshop but for those who don’t, I included a bunch of Photoshop tips and tricks as well. Also, I went on Pat’s website: and saw that these illustrations were from an already published book so am a little confused why she would want a critique so I hope there’s no screw up here.


If you can’t see the video in newsletter, you can click the picture to go directly to Writing and Illustrating to view Mira’s video watch on YouTube with this link: Actually, I think it is bigger on YouTube.


Pat Achilles is an award-winning illustrator with over 20 years of experience in corporate, advertising, book and editorial illustration. Her styles range from highly realistic to humorous cartoons to children’s literature, and she has had cartoons accepted and published in The New Yorker. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, where she was taught by the delightful Beth and Joe Krush and Bob Byrd. Pat is a co-founder of the Bucks County Illustrators Society and gives presentations on ‘What Authors Should Know about Book Illustration,’ geared especially for children’s book writers, and ‘Marketing for Illustrators.’ She is an adjunct professor in the illustration department at Moore. You can email her by clicking on the Contact page on the menu.

Pat is a former Art Director of Curriculum for Westminster Press, as well as the illustrator of the children’s books The Upside-Down Gardener, Once Upon a Poodle and The Adventures of the Poodle Posse series by Chrysa Smith, Let’s Visit New Hope by Gayle Goodman and Roy Ziegler, The Adventures of Charli by Franca Caserta, Green Andrew Green by Isabelle Holland, Mommy’s High Heel Shoes by Kristie Finnan, and The Lion, the Ostrich and the Squirrel for the Maasai Cultural Exchange Project.

Pat’s blog, Pencilled In, is frequently updated with gag cartoons, sketches and news about the illustration field. For information on ordering cards, books, prints and calendars illustrated by Pat, click


Dr. Mira Reisberg has a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies with a focus on children’s literature. She is an acquiring Editor and Art Director at Clearfork/Spork and is also the Director of the Children’s Book Academy. Her students have published over 370 books and won ever major North American award. Mira’s 8 published children’s books have won awards and sold over 600,000 copies.

Mira is available to do in person Skype or private webinar critiques as part of her upcoming Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books interactive e-course, which she is co-teaching with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Art Director, Andrea Miller and a group of editors, agents, and art directors. The course starts Jan 13 – Feb 24 2020 and will be spectacular. You can find out about it here: Mira is especially excited about the brand new FREE and half-priced start today bonuses that she just added to the course.

There is currently a $70 discount with this code here: 2020ArtLove

Mira lives in a 100 year-old house in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two cats.


Mira will critique one submission each Friday until mid-January.  She will discuss many things like how you can tweak to help you sell your work, plus much more. NEW DEADLINE: December 31st.

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.

Put ILLUSTRATOR PORTFOLIO in the subject area and send to kathy(dot)temean(at) and include a blurb about yourself I can use to introduce you to everyone.


Mira, another fabulous job. Just goes to show there are always something upi can tweak. See you next Friday.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Dr. Reisberg, I’m delighted with your suggestions! It’s so nice to see how an art director would view my work – these illustrations were from a book by a self-published author, and I was basically my own art director, but I firmly believe collaboration with an art director makes better work. it’s so hard to look objectively at your own drawings.
    I’m also amazed at what you can do with photoshop tools, I don’t mind at all seeing what they can accomplish on my work – truly amazing. I’m not proficient in the program so I really enjoyed seeing the tweaks, and i do feel they added finishing touches in each case to my images. Thanks sincerely for sharing your expertise!
    I laughed when you said I should have some Greek characters in my portfolio because of my last name – you’re absolutely right, and I will do that! — Pat


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