Words can't begin to describe the feelings I've had over the past few years since making my first video tutorial: "How To Illustrate Children's Books". I've recieved hundreds of letters, emails, Facebook messages, etc thanking me for making that video and the subsequent videos I made afterwards. I get to chat with people everyday about their enthusiasim and renewed energy for working on their art projects.
With permission from James Horvath I'm sharing his letter because it really touched me yesterday - I'm glad I was home alone so my kids didn't see me get all mushy. My emotions come from the leftover feelings I have growing up in the shadow of academic achievers in my family and thinking that I would never be able to do anything important with my life. There really isn't anything better in life than knowing you make a difference - so I thank all of you for the kind words you've sent me in the past few years!
It's been a while since I downloaded and watched your video series, "How to Illustrate Children's Books". I just wanted to write to you and let you know how well your course has worked for me.
I've been a freelance children's illustrator for many years. I worked primarily in the education market doing work for Scholastic, Pearson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and a few others. And while I've enjoyed some modest success, I always wanted to write and illustrate my own children's picture books.
About a year and a half ago I decided to get off my butt and actually do it, instead of just dreaming about it. I found your video course online and decided to spring for the $29.99.
I developed my story, worked on some sketches and sample art, basically, followed your process and submitted my dummy (an email with a PDF) to one publisher. A test run so to speak. I braced myself for the almost inevitable rejection that I was sure would soon follow.
Instead, within 24 hours, I received a response with a very enthusiastic reply. That was on a Tuesday. By the end of the week I had a 3-book deal with HarperCollins Publishers. My first book comes out on April 30th. And is up for pre-orders at practically all major on-line retailers.
I just wanted to send you this note and say, "Thanks". I really do credit you and your course with outlining a path for my success. I would, and often do, highly recommend your video series to anyone looking to break into the children's book market.
Congratulations James - I can't wait to buy your books when they come out and to brag that I might have played a tiny part in their creation. It's been a crazy ride with our Folio Academy project. We've now sold our videos in about 40 countries and counting. Never in my wildest dream did I think this would happen when we uploaded our first video a few years ago!