Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Midsouth Illustrator Lounge

Welcome to the Midsouth Illustrator Lounge: A place for artists to stop by and get informed on all the illustrator-centric happenings in the Midsouth region. Scroll down for opportunities and events.


Midsouth Illustrators Showcase

(For a printable PDF of this illustrator information, click here.)

To register, illustrators can click here.


Fido, a local Nashville coffee house with quite a loyal clientele has offered to hang a selection of Midsouth illustrators’ work. They request that we create a piece around a theme of summer. In keeping with flexing our illustrator muscles we will be illustrating a spread from Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day (text below.) I encourage you to page out the spreads over a 32 or 40 page book dummy and then choose a spread from that pagination. 

Illustrators will have the option to get feedback from Lauren Rille, art director at Simon and Schuster/Beach Lane. She will fill out a written critique on one piece from each illustrator. She will not see sketches in advance, so there is no sketch deadline.

Lauren Rille is an Art Director at Simon & Schuster, where she works with the Beach Lane, Atheneum, and McElderry imprints. Before joining S&S, Lauren was a designer at Sterling and Harcourt Children’s Books. Some books she’s designed include the most recent edition of Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, cover illustration by Debbie Ohi; The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater, illustrated by the Fan Brothers; Life by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel; Scraps by Lois Ehlert; Best In Snow by April Pulley Sayre; and the New York Times best-selling Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman. Lauren’s debut picture book, I Feel Teal, illustrated by Aimee Sicuro, published in 2018 by Beach Lane Books. Lauren loves the collaborative process of working with editors and illustrators, and she’s always on the lookout for new talent. For more about Lauren, check out this SCBWI interview:  


The show will be on display April 29-June 28. Pieces may be submitted in any of 3 ways, and you MUST choose your submission option at registration.

Option 1: Brought to Fido at 11pm on Sunday, April 28th. 1812 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212

Option 2: Mailed to Illustrator Coordinator Mary Uhles by Monday, April 22nd at 4725 Chepstow Drive, Nashville TN 37211

Option 3: Delivered to Mary Uhles at Southern Kentucky Bookfest (SOKY) in Bowling Green, KY on either Friday, April 26th or Saturday, April, 27th

How to display:

Trim size: your discretion! You can choose a spread size and layout that works for your piece – just be sure the final is no larger than 24 x 24″. 

Pieces do not have to be framed. They may be mounted on BLACK foam core that is no larger than 24 x 24″. Fido would like to showcase the process as well as the final, so you may display sketches and/or character sketches on a second 24 x 24″ sized piece of foam core. Be aware that the show will be up for 2 months in a busy space, so it will be important to prepare your mounting to last that long. If you choose to frame and mail the frame, SCBWI and Mary Uhles are not responsible for damage to frame in mailing process. 

If you choose to mount on foam core, each piece of foam core MUST have two D-rings taped or glued to sides of each piece. As a historic structure, Fido is not allowed to put holes in its walls so pieces are hung from the crown molding with wires connected to the rings on either side.

Illustrators must also provide:

• Artist bio mounted on a 5.5 x 8.5″ white foam core board. Type: 12 pt Times New Roman, single spaced, with one inch margin.

• Contact information should be included with bio.

Submitting to the Art Director:

Digital files of each illustration must be submitted to Mary Uhles at by Tuesday, April 30th. Art director feedback will be returned via email before the close of the show. Email subject line should read (all caps): SCBWI FIDO ILLUSTRATOR SHOWCASE

Artists may submit to the Art Director without displaying at Fido AFTER all display slots have been filled. The cost is $25.00.


Illustrators displaying WITH the art director critique – $25

Illustrators displaying WITHOUT the art director critique – no charge

Selling pieces from the Showcase:

Illustrators may list pieces for sale, either as prints or originals. Fido does not handle sales so all sales will be facilitated directly between the art buyer and the artist. The illustrators contact info will facilitate that sale. Illustrators will be responsible for getting the piece to the buyer at the end of the show.

Closing the show:

The show will be struck at 11pm on Friday, June 28th. Illustrators will be responsible for collecting any pieces they want returned that night. SCBWI or Mary Uhles cannot be responsible for return mailing. You may send someone to collect your piece on your behalf, just let Mary Uhles know.

Refund/Cancellation Policy:

Redunds of the Illustrator Showcase is available only if there is an existing waiting list or if the event is canceled. SCBWI Midsouth will withhold a $10 handling fee if the registrant cancels. No refunds of any amount will be available after April 30 unless the event is canceled.


We will be illustrating a spread from Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day:


The Summer Day

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

from New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA

Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Beacon Press from New and Selected Poems.
Copyright 1992 by Mary Oliver. For further permissions information, contact Beacon Press, 25 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108-2892.



3 Steps To A Better Portfolio

Setting up your portfolio for the first time? Check out our short video with tips about what to leave in and what to take out: Three Steps to Building your Portfolio


Midsouth Illustrators Network Facebook Group

The Midsouth Illustrator’s Network Facebook Group is a closed group for illustrator members.  It’s a nice, comfy place to:

  • • share work
  • • ask questions
  • • share good news
  • • get some encouragement 
  • • get inspired!

It’s a place where we can check in with each other for inspiration and accountability when we need it. It is the primary place of communication for info on Midsouth Illustrator events including events related to the Midsouth Fall Conference. Feel free to post your own local illustrator events including local meet-ups, gallery showings, book launches etc. Some illustrator events from the SCBWI National Office will also be posted here. Click Join the Facebook Group and request to join. We look forward to getting connected!


Midsouth Illustrator Gallery

To add your art to the SCBWI-Midsouth Illustrator Gallery, login to your SCBWI account and upload files from the Illustrations section of your Member Profile page.

If you have questions, contact Midsouth Illustrator Coordinator Mary Uhles.