SCBWI Bulletin (Sept/Oct 2012) Cover Piece



I was invited by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) to do cover artwork for their magazine’s 2012 Sept/Oct issue. This is a huge honor, as it only comes out 4 times a year and the illustrators they usually ask to contribute are total rock-stars!

The theme always involves a kite in some way (the society’s logo), and I had so many fun image ideas; funny, scary, sweet – but the one I chose was what I hope is the most magical concept.

Left: rough thumbnail, Right: tight thumbnail

This was the first time I’ve ever worked in 3-point perspective, the view of the city being from above. It was a really cool challenge, and I used some photos from a trip to Europe that my husband and I took back in 2010 as inspiration. I decided to make the city a merge of London, Paris, and Quedlinburg (Germany).

Photos from our trip to Quedlinburg, Germany

I blew up the thumbnail sketch to full size and sketched on tracing paper over that.

Perspective drawing on tracing paper

Final pencil outline

sketch detail – the boat

I scanned this light pencil outline and then printed it onto my watercolor paper (Arches Coldpress 140lb) with my printer (Epson 2880 wide format, pigment ink). This is how I transferred the sketch onto my final paper, but sometimes I use a lightbox to re-sketch the image for the final image instead of doing it this way; it just depends on which is easier for that particular piece.

Here’s the final image:

Inked with dip pens and India ink, colored with watercolors

And look what I received in the mail last week; printed copies, a thank you note from Steve Mooser (president of SCBWI), and a beautiful framed cover image with engraving. Wow – thank you SCBWI!!

Printed copies, note from Steve Mooser, and a framed gift from SCBWI



  1. You are a rockstar illustrator, Eliza! Again, so so proud:)

  2. Wow, such a beautiful piece of work! I love it. Congrats on such a successful illustration.

  3. Woot! What a great post! Its wonderful to see your process. And what a beautiful cover! I can’t wait to get my copy in the mail. Your work is always so lovely and inspiring. :)

  4. Definitely a magical image Eliza! Congratulations, and I am looking forward to what everything else you have coming up. You make the best posts!

  5. Julie (Gabel) Weber

    Wow, Eliza, you do some great work! How great to be honored and recognized for what you love to do!

  6. I LOVE this! The perspective is awesome, of course, but I especially adore the emotion on the kids’ faces and their exuberant body language.


  7. What a beautiful cover, Eliza. I love the soft and subtle palette and the mood you’ve created. Congratulations!

  8. Eliza – I was just reading my SCBWI Bulletin this morning, so I’m so happy to read in your Bulletin interview as well as here about how you devleoped this image. Your Bulletin cover is a real show-stopper! Congratulations!

  9. What a beautiful illustration! I just love it. I love the mood you created, the soft quite of the houses to the pure joy of the kids. Congratulations!

  10. Simply wonderful! I could get lost in that world!

  11. A cover that transports you right out of your mind into an ocean of dreams and adventures!

  12. Congratulations! And thanks also for showing your process – inspiring and beautiful. You make it look easy . . .

  13. Congratulations Eliza!!! You are officially a rock star and deserve this honor! Your work is truly amazing!

  14. What a fabulous illustration and post..thank you for sharing your process! What a rock-star you are!! : )

  15. Hi Eliza, I just received my copy of SCBWI newsletter in the mail and I thought, I know that illustrator! I have been following your blog for the last few months, and I just love your very personal posts about your art process, getting an agent and journey to New York. (A trip I want to make very soon too!) thanks for sharing everything, its very inspiring :) keep it up!


  16. A huge thank you to everyone for commenting here – it’s so great to share and get such uplifting words in return. Thanks for taking the time!

  17. A lovely image, so rumbly magical, and the breakdown of your process insightful.

  18. Hi Eliza,
    Your art work is beautiful! It reminded me of Peter Pan’s adventures and childhood dreams. As a SCBWI member to another I wanted to share how much I enjoyed your cover art, so much so that I had to see what else you’re up to. Wow! Also, really appreciate that you shared the artistic process here, so interesting to understand the color choices and composition.
    So, leaving you with best-best wishes for your up coming book, and the many more to come.

    Thank you,

  19. Just beautiful! and you ARE a rock star!! Now tutor me in 3-point perspective : )

  20. I’m an SCBWI member and just wanted to say that I love, love LOVE the September/October 2012 cover! It’s imaginative and fun, and well-executed. The kites as sails really worked for me. These kids are going places! Congratulations.

  21. Just rediscovered this – still magical! Happy New Year and continued success with the process.

  22. Elizabeth Peitzman

    What was the size of your final image? Is that usually the size you work with?

    Thanks. I love your work.

  23. Pingback: Working up the storyboard: how rough is too rough? | The Big Bad Book

Leave a Reply to Eliza Wheeler Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *