Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Meet Our Judges:
Chad W. Beckerman, Creative Director
A graduate of the illustration program at RISD, he spent his first summer after graduation looking for work as an illustrator, his former teacher, Judy Sue Goodwin-Sturges gave him a lead at Scholastic based on some comp novel jackets in his portfolio. And after two interviews he went to work with art director, Elizabeth Parisi as a design assistant at Scholastic. He followed that with a move to the HarperCollins imprint, Greenwillow Books, where he started as a designer, later to be promoted to senior designer and in 2006 he moved to Abrams starting as an art director, eventually gaining the title Creative Director. While at Abrams he oversaw the imprints Amulet Books, Abrams Books for Young Readers and ComicArts. All total he has been involved with over forty New York Times bestsellers, received a gold medal and three silver medals from the Society of Illustrators and walked away with Caldecott, Newbery and Corretta Scott King awards.
Previous to his current judging duties he's helped judged the Society of Illustrators Annual—twice, Communication Arts Illustration Annual—twice, American Illustration, SCBWI, The New York Book Show and the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show. He’s a regular speaker at the SCBWI and offers portfolio reviews to aspiring children’s book illustrators.
Asked where his passion for art comes from, he answered, “I got a copy of Adventures with Superman and Dick Tracy and couldn’t put them down. I can’t remember what prompted me to pick up a pencil and try to replicate the bold lines and tones, but it was enough to make me fall in love with the medium of comics.”
When asked if he always knew he’d end up as a creative director he says, “Absolutely not. I knew I loved narrative, I knew I loved to draw. I knew that I wanted to do something that involved both of those but I never considered children’s books." He credits his training at RISD in helping him solve visual problems and credits his time as a TA (Teaching Assistant) in preparing him to interact with illustrators and bringing out the best in people’s work. “...the whole reason I went into the art field is that I knew I like to make things to be part of something physical. At the end of a project you get to hold onto something you helped make, that is so rewarding.” And as a true designer, the first thing he does when he gets a copy fresh off the press, is to smell the pages. The smell of ink is intoxicating.
The hardest part of the job is doing something everyone is going to like but doing what he likes first and then making everyone else like it. “You want to be happy with what you make at the end of the day, no matter how small.”
One of his great joys is working with illustrators and he's enjoyed working with many of the who’s-who in illustration. And looks forward to continuing that journey.
3x3 International Illustration Awards Show No. 16
Deadline: March 22, 2019 (late deadline is March 29)
Show Chair: Melinda Beck