Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 2, 2021

Sheryl Bearman Illustrator Critique with Chantelle and Burgen


I own a small art gallery and participate in SCBWI seminars as well as 12×12 PB.  I am an artist at heart and transitioning from a fine artist to a picture book author/illustrator has been a huge, yet worthwhile challenge.  Recently I began a mentorship with SCBWI/Southern Breeze Chapter.

My husband, Gary and I, are proud of our choice to leave a small footprint and utilize solar power and rain catchment.

When I am not out diving, snorkeling or kayaking with my dogs, Margarita and Lili, you can usually find me in my studio, writing, painting or creating.

You can visit my website and illustration gallery at

Twitter @pbibooks


Hello Sheryl. Thank you so much for sharing your work with us and inviting us to help you make it even better! We hope you like our
suggested improvements. Let’s dive right into your first image:

We really like the sweet little ‘hello’ waves from your characters – what a great way to introduce them! We also like how you’ve shown us their house and the city they live in – some lovely details in those buildings. Leaving faded spaces in the building and tree for the text is a nice idea and we’ve tinkered with that a bit in our suggested revisions.

You’ll see we removed the building and left space for the text in the sky (top left) to simplify the image and keep the focus on the
characters and their house. The text space in the tree has moved up, closer to the other text for ease of reading. This also allowed us to put the characters together and make them bigger. Your characters are the most important part of the story, so let them take up a bit more space and be the focal point without dividing the reader’s attention by splitting them up on this page. To make them cuter, we’ve enlarged eyes, reduced noses, and added a few details to hair etc.

These clouds are really lovely and well observed. They make me feel a bit sad though – maybe it’s the blue colour and the heaviness of them. Are they meant to hint at the sadness of moving house? We didn’t have the text to refer to, so making a guess with what you wanted to show here. Your character looks quite happy though and that hint of sunlight on the face also shines with hope for a bright future wherever they’re headed. We really like this!

You’ll notice that our suggestions are similar to what we’ve done with your first image: zoomed in on the character and sweet expression; enlarged eyes and reduced nose (for cuteness) and added details to hair and mouth; ditched some of the bits of car that weren’t adding much to the story and gone in for a more true close up so that the reader can really connect with the character.

I hope you like what we’ve done? We’d love to hear more about this story and where your character is off to – will you be joining us for the upcoming Children’s Book Academy course staring 7th June? Hope to see you there!


Chantelle and Burgen Thorne are internationally published illustrators with over 20 years’ experience in educational publishing. Their focus is picture books for children with several more titles being released internationally this year, because the magic of children’s books is that they’re not just for kids. Avid bookworms themselves, they take great delight in the visual storytelling of picture books, art and text working together, every word and every image adding to the reader’s experience.

Chantelle and Burgen are excited to be co-teaching the June 7th Craft and Business of Illustrating (and Writing) Children’s Books interactive e-course, where they will be sharing their 25 years of experience and technique development. Find out more here or purchase the course with over 30 lessons, all the bonuses, the 16 submission opportunities here  or directly purchase the full course etc. plus a one-hour in-person critique with Chantelle and Burgen here.

Click to find out more.–Burgen


Chantelle and Burgen, thank you for taking the time to share your expertist with Sheryl and the rest of us. I am sure many illustrators will benefit from your review.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely improvements. I especially love this image in the car. Amazing what a simple close up can do! it’s interesting to see how much more character eyebrows add to the face as well.

    I’m not an illustrator but I love this series. I totally understand Mira on wanting to concentrate on her art and her own stories but it is a shame this is the last course on illustrating. If you are an illustrator I would jump on the chance to learn from Mira, Chantelle and Byrgen. This trio knows a lot about illustrating. You will be in great hands.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We absolutely agree with you, Anna – Mira is really a wonderful teacher and if there’s anyone out there who has yet to benefit from her great insights and kind guidance, now is the time to jump in and register for the CBA course. Here’s that link again:

    And thank you for your feedback -so good to hear you’re enjoying these make-overs!!


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