Russ Cox-Smiling Otis Studio | Pittsfield, Maine |207.951.5009 | russ@smilingotis.com |© 2008-2019 Russ Cox. Do not use images without written permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

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How do I get into children's books?
Start by joining the SCBWI and then read, read, read, and then read some more children's books. I cannot stress this enough. Attending conferences will help you improve, plus you get to meet people in the industry. Check out Harold Underdown's The Purple Crayon, another wonderful resource. Following agents, editors, and art directors on social media, especially Twitter. They post what they are looking for and if they are looking for something specific.

Will you illustrate my book?
Only if the project interest me and if Teresa approves. She has the final say in all book related projects.

How do I get an agent?
Lots of begging and crying are involved. Seriously, submit your best work. Do lots of research on agents to see who would be a good fit, and follow the submission requirements to the letter. Querytracker.net is a wonderful resource.

Will you show my manuscript or dummy to your agent?
Probably not, unless I know you personally and have seen your work. This is something that you need to do on your own. Even though it can be a nerve racking experience, researching and querying, it is a necessary part of the process that you need to go through. It will toughen you up, that is for sure.

Will you look at my manuscript or dummy?
I no longer read manuscripts and offer feedback. I urge you to get into a critique group or find a few people who will give you honest feedback. It is also a good idea to hire an editor to go over your story. They can help you fine tune it and have it ready for submission. Hearing "It's GREAT" will not help you move forward, unless it is from J.K. Rowling. 

Do you work on commission art?
Yes. Email me your thoughts and scope of the piece or pieces. A blank check is also nice.

What medium do you use to create your illustrations?
I have gone back to traditional painting using pencil, pen & ink, gouache, and colored pencil. Sometimes I use a slightly textured bristol board, but if the art does not have to be drum scanned, I really love Canon's Illustration Board.

Do you have any questions for me?
Nope.