Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Meet Our Judges: Irene Gallo, Creative Director

Welcome to the thirteenth annual 3x3 International Illustration Awards, over the next several weeks we will be introducing you to our international jury of art directors, designers, publishers and illustrators.

Irene Gallo is the Associate Publisher of and Creative Director of Tor Books. As a kid she never dreamed of being an art director, who does, but her interest has always been art. Entering Cooper Union—the only college she applied to—because it was considered an excellent art school, located in downtown Manhattan and free. But a chance course in typography set her on her path towards design. And it has helped her working with illustrators, “I have a much more intimate reaction to art knowing some of issues these guys struggle with. I think things are even more magical when I have a little insight into how they are made and knowing how difficult it is to make something seem effortless.”

Upon graduation she was lucky enough to get an entry level job as the assistant to the art director at Tor Books, but soon after, the art director quit. Luckily her boss, Tom Doherty, thought she could handle the job and so became the start of her dream job.

Irene’s job at Tor is to make sure all the book jackets get created which starts with a conversation with the editors to get a sense of the book. Once she has a handle on the tone of the book she’ll pick a few artists and then speak again with the editors to ensure she is headed in the right direction. Working in science fiction and fantasy means dealing with lots of different illustrators but it also means running interference between artists, editors, sales and marketing. It becomes a real management job but it's a fulfilling one since she is always working with creative people and ideas.

In addition to her day-job, she is involved with Spectrum where she’s been a judge and member of the advisory board as well as Art Out Loud and MicroVisions through the Society of Illustrators.

She sees her responsibility and challenge “to create an evocative image that will appeal to the kind of reader that will enjoy a particular book.” Asked about the predominance of dragons on book covers, she responds, “Dragons sell. I have no problem with dragons. Besides, in the hands of a good artist, they look cool.”

Irene will be judging our professional show.

What will Irene be looking for?

“It’s the same as I’m looking for in any illustrator I hire—something interesting to say and the technique to convey that idea.”

The 3x3 International Illustration Awards Show is open to all illustrators in all countries. There is a separate jury for each of our three shows: Professional, Student and Picture Book. For full details download our Call for Entries pdf, to enter go to our homepage.

Deadline: March 25, 2016


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