Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Bringing Your Characters to Life with Laurent Linn, Art Director

Date(s) - 05/08/2021
9:00 am - 11:00 am


This event has been made possible by a generous grant from SCBWI so that we could make this affordable for attendees. Nevada Illustrator members are eligible to attend this session as a participant. If you are NOT a Nevada member or you are not an illustrator, you may purchase the opportunity to be a listener or purchase the recording.

Laurent Linn
Laurent Linn, Art Director at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, collaborates on picture books, middle grade, and teen novels with both celebrated and new illustrators such as Tomie dePaola, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Vashti Harrison, and Raúl Colón. He is also the author/illustrator of the critically acclaimed young adult novel, Draw the Line. Laurent is on the SCBWI Board of Advisors, as well as is the Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. Laurent began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop, creating characters for productions including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films, and eventually becoming the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award. 


Bringing Your Characters to Life

Whether in picture books or illustrated middle-grade novels, fiction or non-fiction, characters carry the story. The way your characters are designed and drawn make them unique, bring them to life, and invite the reader inside the story. In this virtual session for illustrators, we’ll go into detail about how to design successful characters that are unique and just right for the books they inhabit.



Choosing a character of your own creation (this character could be invented for this assignment or from a story you are currently creating), draw five distinctly different character design variations of this one character. Who is this character? What makes them unique? What other ways could they be designed? Experiment and have fun trying different ways to approach how they could look.
– The character can be human, animal, object, fantasy creature . . . up to you.
– Try different shapes, costume designs, hairstyles, color palettes, etc.—your artistic toolbox is unlimited.
– The character designs should be in color (unless being created for middle-grade, which is often printed in grayscale) and in the medium and style of how you would render the final art. They should not be preliminary sketches but should be rendered as final art.
– Place all five character designs in one image and email it as a JPEG or PDF to a Google Doc drive link that will be sent to you by email. Please upload by May 6, 2021.
– Please put “Laurent Linn” in the subject of the email.
During the session, Laurent Linn will give feedback and thoughts on all character designs submitted.
A maximum of 15 attendees will be allowed to submit the pre-assignment for this event. If you are in this group, you will get the recording for free.
An additional maximum of 15 attendees will be allowed to attend as listeners to the live event. If you are in this group, you will get the recording for free. These tickets will be sold after 4/26/21.
This session is recorded and will be available for two weeks for those who purchase the recorded session. These tickets will be sold after the event.