Don’t bother questioning if this is for you. If you are an illustrator, it most certainly is.
I couldn’t recommend The Illustration Department more! They’re superb! Current clients have benefited so much from them!—Danielle Smith • Literary Agent, Owner Lupine Grove Creative, LLC
Highly recommend! My clients have hugely benefitted from Illustration Department consultations and classes.—Jennifer March Soloway • Associate Agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency
The Picture Book Dummy workshop was the most thorough critique I've ever received. We combed through the manuscript spread by spread in each of the three sessions. Giuseppe addressed text, flow, point of view, and composition. His suggestions took the book in a direction I wouldn't have ventured on my own, and the process was exhilarating.
The workshop pushed me out of my comfort zone in a safe critique space and improved the work. I will definitely be refining future projects at the Illustration Department.—EH
Thank you so very much for your tremendous help. You have in me a client for life.
I cannot recommend the Illustration Department highly enough. Having taken several classes with them in the past I recently signed up for another portfolio consultation in preparation for a conference I will attend soon.
I believe that any illustrator, who is preparing for an industry portfolio review or showcase, should without a doubt, spend an hour with Giuseppe reviewing their portfolio. His insight and wealth of knowledge, together with his in-depth analysis, constructive on point suggestions for improvement and genuine encouragement provided me with a clear road map of what to fix in order polish my portfolio to a sparkly sheen!
Thank you so very much for your tremendous help. You have in me a client for life. Thank you!!!—TB
The workshop pushed me out of my comfort zone in a safe critique space and improved the work.
The Picture Book Dummy Workshop was a great experience. The time and attention Giuseppe gave to my work was extraordinary. His critiques were candid and professional. I learned a great deal from him and highly recommend the workshop to anyone serious about working in illustration.—KB
I have been to many conferences and workshops and I can honestly say I have gotten the most out of The Illustration Department. I took a one on one book dummy class. If you have a story you want to turn into a book dummy, I HIGHLY recommend this class. G helped me with my story as well as layout choices and flow. It looked and sounded so much more professional after the class.
He is so down to earth and seems to have genuine care about his students and wants to help you to succeed! I never felt as though he was rushing through the class or talking down to me. He was always encouraging, always kind, and boosted my confidence with my work and helped me figure out the direction my work should be heading. I will definitely be taking more classes as time allows. It is WELL worth it!—SD
I met Giuseppe at the Austin SCBWI Conference in 2017 and I knew that part of my next steps would be to have a portfolio review with him. What I hoped to get out of our time together was a hopeful outlook and more confidence to move forward in my illustration.
Giuseppe was professional, encouraging, specific and thorough in his critique. I wrote down 4 pages of notes and felt very confident in moving forward as I'd hoped. I am very thankful to have a solid guideline so I can continue my illustration journey. I really appreciated how we talked about short term and long term goals; these are goals that are achievable and attainable. I look forward to taking the 3 week Illustration class in the future.—A.S.
My 1-hour consultation with Giuseppe was extremely productive and helpful. His feedback was detailed and helped me think of some new ways to improve illustrations in my upcoming picture book. Giuseppe’s guidance is invaluable to anyone seeking professional advice for their illustration portfolio or a new book project. I highly recommend Giuseppe and his workshops!—AB
It was like a lightbulb went off and I could finally SEE what I literally couldn’t see before.
I am a design director for a very different kind of field. In my specific field I can look at something and I can see it with the perception that only experience can give you. I can tell you what’s wrong with it and give you ideas of how to fix it. I can see what less experienced people can’t.
When I began illustrating I was in a whole new world and completely lost. I knew I needed an art director. I needed someone who could look at my drawings and not just see it was off and give me amorphous platitudes. I needed someone to see exactly what was going on and what direction I needed to go in.
Giuseppe did precisely that. He saw what I couldn't and when he showed me, it was like a lightbulb went off and I could finally SEE what I literally couldn’t see before that.
If I have ever have the chance, I’ll definitely work with him again and I would recommend him to anyone who’s looking to improve their skills. He’s talented, experienced, kind to the artist soul and most importantly, honest!—LP
I have worked with Giuseppe in group settings in the past, and I recently took his three week one-on-one workshop. With a wealth of experience and knowledge about illustration and the industry, Giuseppe gave me great advice about how to improve my illustrations and portfolio as well as helpful guidance on my career in general. Giuseppe was particularly good at pointing out specific ways to improve my art, with concrete tips that I could apply to all my work. He is always supportive and encouraging, no matter what stage of development an artist is in.—SL
I was fortunate enough to have a one hour critique with Giuseppe and it was one of the most productive hours of my life. Before this critique I was simply frustrated. I felt stuck, and uncertain of what exactly was holding my art back. I've felt this frustration for a few years now. In one hour Giuseppe was able to finally get me to see what I was never able to on my own, and I will be forever grateful for that. I now have a clear idea of what I need to do next to eventually achieve my goals, and for the first time in a long time, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.—BG
This was the first critique that I have had where I didn’t feel rushed, or cheated out of productive criticism.
I signed up for a one hour portfolio consultation because I needed to get useful feedback about the work I was presenting. This was the first critique that I have had where I didn’t feel rushed, or cheated out of productive criticism. Giuseppe was able to find the strengths in my voice, and help me refocus on a more coherent body of work. I feel that my hour critique has brought me leaps and bounds closer to my goal of marrying my fine art with my illustrations, soon to be called my work.—SH
The Illustration Department has given me valuable information as well as peer and industry connections to help navigate the art of children’s book publishing. The classes are intimate allowing for lots of questions, one on one critiques and advice.
Giuseppe creates a inspirational online environment, he is generous with his time and knowledge using his expertise to help illustrators find their true voice and create their best work. Taking their course has given me the insight and encouragement to take the next step in my creative journey.—KW
I can not recommend the Illustration Department highly enough! Giuseppe Castellano is enthusiastic, personable, and not afraid to share the good and the bad about what he sees right down to the details. A great critique helps you gain perspective on your work (the strengths and the flaws) and inspires you to reach for the height of what makes your work unique. That kind of generous constructive honesty can be hard to find. Giuseppe’s experience and thoughtful communication make him a great collaborator when it comes to strategizing your move to the next level. My one on one review left me excited and inspired to hit the drawing board.—JE
Working with Giuseppe was a real joy. He was thoughtful, encouraging, and highly knowledgeable about both the field and craft of creating picture books.
Even at the start of our first conversation, it was clear that I was working with someone who was motivated to help me succeed in my goals. I came out of his Picture Book Dummy workshop with refined manuscripts and an action plan to move them forward, but more importantly a renewed confidence in my process and my own work.
I would highly recommend his workshops for anyone who’s looking for that extra motivation and focus and to connect with a really genuine cheerleader/ally for your work.—SS
I came to The Illustration Department because I wanted to find my voice as an illustrator. I had tried so many different “styles” in the past six months that I was just as confused about who I was as an artist as my portfolio looked. I signed up for the 3-week illustration workshop.
I was hoping for good things, but was truly amazed by what I was able to achieve. Giuseppe helped me get out of my head. He challenged me (really challenged me). As a result, I walked way with a clear understanding of who I wanted to be as an illustrator AND my best work yet. It was a truly invaluable experience. Don’t walk, RUN to The Illustration Department. You won’t be disappointed.—KG
I’ve felt frustrated for a few years now. In one hour Giuseppe was able to get me to finally see what I was never able to on my own.
These classes are an amazing resource that I discovered at a perfect time. I’ve been struggling to figure out what my next steps are as someone pursuing an illustration career; there is endless information online but it’s all fairly general. It’s incredibly rare to find what these workshops offer: not only personalized advice from someone with a wealth of insider knowledge, but the ability to work with you regardless of your schedule or location (which is a miracle for me because I live in the middle of nowhere). I learned things from this workshop that are not only hugely valuable, but specific to my work and where I’m at in my career and in life.—NT
Once in a while, you meet a person who has the potential to change your life. Giuseppe has that rare ability to see into your heart and pull out the most important, useful gems of pure illustrative gold. After signing up for my first meeting, I was greeted by Sarah, who was kind, professional and shined with grace. Yes, working with Giuseppe and his team at The Illustration Department is like discovering a hidden treasure. It's pure magic. I will definitely sign up with him again. And again! I am so inspired, and so lifted now after connecting with Giuseppe; I feel like I am finally ready to meet my dreams in the sky! If you are lucky enough to set up a meeting with him, roll up your sleeves, take a deep breath and get ready to fly!—FD
Okay. There you have it. I honestly wanted to say, 'Oh my fucking God --this guy is so fucking cool! Honest and sincere, go to him and you won't regret it!' ... Buuut, I restrained my inner cuss-word-loving-teenager-self, and decided to write like a grownup! --Still me. Very dreamy and sincere, while keeping true to how I really felt about the meeting. I do hope that you like it, and that it can help to add another positive flavor to your site!
The Illustration Department’s Portfolio Review was the most immediately applicable and authentically insightful critique I’ve ever experienced. Giuseppe took the time not only to look at my work and give me specific advice on several individual pieces, he showed me HOW to do what I need to do in order to move forward in the right direction.
Without a doubt, it was one of the best critiques I’ve ever had.
I had been struggling over the past few months: unable to finish projects, unable to go from sketches to full-illustration, struggling with learning the Photoshop tools, etc. Well, thanks to The Illustration Department, I honestly feel as though I have been able to find my footing again.
I made huge strides on a piece that was floundering. Also, my sketches have been a lot more fluid and expressive. I am applying Giuseppe’s advice to all of this work and I can see it evolving and growing in ways that are better than my initial vision.
A huge thanks to the Illustration Department.
Giuseppe gave the most thoughtful and useful critique I've ever received. I came away with a crystal clear sense of what was working for me and what wasn't, how to move forward to create work that is true to my voice and point of view, and where I can go from here. —SF
I had already been in a couple of SCBWI workshops with Giuseppe so I knew his teaching ability was stellar. But the one-on-one time provided by the 3 week Illustration Workshop was incredibly beneficial. Giuseppe dissected my portfolio and gave me a strategy for maximizing my strengths and overcoming my "challenges." During the assignment portion of the workshop, Giuseppe was available for email questions and took time to give feedback on an early version of my assignment piece before our last session. Our Skype sessions were not "boilerplate information" but rather he asked about my career concerns and tailored our conversation to that. I would recommend his Illustration Workshop to beginners and experienced illustrators alike. I definitely plan to make his workshops part of my career.
I was feeling stuck and looking for a way to push my style in a more expressive direction. Giuseppe helped me figure out how to get there with his clear, eloquent critique of my portfolio.
Giuseppe’s critique helped me pinpoint areas I succeed in; and it gave clear direction for where to improve.
I took Giuseppe’s first ever 5-week summer session and enjoyed the group and our Google hangouts once a week very much. Giuseppe put everyone at ease quickly and it was a great experience to get to know everyone through their sample artwork. Teaching and feedback was alternated and I enjoyed witnessing Giuseppe stretching each one of us in a very respectful, encouraging and individualized way. If you take illustrating seriously, do yourself a favour and take one of the classes offered at the Illustration Department. You won’t regret it.—AM
Giuseppe’s critique helped me pinpoint areas I succeed in; and it gave clear direction for where to improve. I truly appreciate and value his opinion, and left the session with a knowledge of how to further proceed.—AH
His critiques were honest and professional and specific to my work and the steps I need to take for my professional growth. I know exactly what I need to do next.—LR
I highly recommend Giuseppe’s courses! You get more than you pay for and he does a great job at encouraging you to develop in a direction that comes naturally to you. After a few meetings with him, I feel much more prepared as I develop my portfolio. Also, he gets bonus points for using geek references during his consultation! :)
Giuseppe’s portfolio consultation was priceless! His critique was honest and thoughtful, never mean. I truly felt he just wanted the best artwork I was capable of doing.
Giuseppe took the time to show me what works well and where I need to grow in a very relaxed and thoughtful way. I felt guided, inspired and cared for.
Worth a million bucks and more! Giuseppe is inspiring.
Giuseppe Castellano's 3-Week Illustration Intensive was a vital step in my pursuit of a career in children’s literature (and general) illustration. The homework assignments pushed me to tackle subjects that used my strengths and, through Giuseppe’s guidance during our Google Hangout chats, to analyze and improve areas in which I'm weak. He answered all my questions about the techniques and business of the field and helped me set achievable goals for the coming year. I highly recommend this intensive for all illustrators regardless of their level of skills because I believe that everyone will come away learning something valuable to advance their career.
The best portfolio review I’ve received so far. The benefit of a one-on-one, hour-long analysis is that it allows a more holistic approach to critiques: he was able to get to know me and my goals better to advise on not only art but marketing ideas and outreach.
It was good to see what I was doing right, but more important to understand what I was doing wrong. With any criticism, he gave varied solutions on how I can correct them.
I am energized and hopeful with a definite understanding of how to proceed with my art career.—CS
Thanks to Giuseppe’s guidance, knowledge, and experience, I feel I now have a much stronger and more streamlined portfolio. He helped me realized what should stay and what should go. My favorite piece of advice I got from Giuseppe was that having a weak piece in a portfolio can hurt an artist, not because they can’t do anything better, but because it shows that they believe it’s strong enough to be in there.—SS
The value of his classes exceed the price by far and I highly recommend them to anyone.
I met Giuseppe in person at a conference, and took two of his Illustration Department online courses. I found him genuinely interested in his participants as a person and an artist. He’s respectful, friendly, patient, and amazingly encouraging and helpful.
No matter your artistic background or style, whether you are a traditional or digital artist, he has a wealth of knowledge and shares information and resources generously. When I signed up for his classes, I was greeted by his wife, Sarah, in a warm and welcoming email that made me feel appreciated and looking forward to the class.
Giuseppe understands to gear his instructions to everyone’s individual needs, find their strengths, and gives directions to confidently move forward. The value of his classes exceed the price by far and I highly recommend them to anyone.—AMO
It was amazing to get the chance to both receive practical tips and engage in critical conversations about how narrative acts as a framework for drawing.
A very informative session which not only covered a critique of portfolio material, but also gave advice on varied marketing practices and copyright for those starting out in illustration.
The Illustration Department is an accessible resource that demonstrates how committed Giuseppe is to helping artists who want to do better work. I’m encouraged and inspired after my 1 hour video chat, and that has everything to do with the insight and direction he provides. So glad to be a part of the creative community he’s gathered on this site!
I am so happy I signed up for the portfolio review. Giuseppe was very helpful in identifying the strengths as well the weaknesses of my work and took the time to explain what makes an art piece successful. I learned a lot and I have a more defined direction on how to improve my art.
I have learned so much.
I decided to get a picture book dummy review from Giuseppe. He really helped me push my ideas into more interesting directions. I now have two agents who are interested in representing me and my book! I know that I got to this place with Giuseppe’s help.
I had such a positive experience. Giuseppe provided suggestions to strengthen my website, and need-to-know information about the business of being an illustrator. He was also very approachable and answered all of my questions. My illustrations are stronger after having finished his workshop.
Having an extra pair of eyes to look at your illustrations is always helpful, but it is even more instructive to have someone like Giuseppe to help critique at a higher level. For my project, he helped me to decide which way to push stylistically and identified inconsistencies that I could address. I thank Giuseppe for his encouragement and confidence in my work. This experience will help me to continue pushing myself artistically for many future projects. —KA
[The portfolio consultation] was not the short one-sided critique, the kind you get at comic conventions. He wanted our time to be conversational, encouraging me to interrupt with questions and even to disagree with him if I felt the need.
It was fun talking about my art with someone who could professionally critique it. It was fun being able to ask questions about what I was trying to do versus what he saw. It was fun trying to find ways to present the pieces in my portfolio in a way that conveyed what each piece was intended to be. And it was fun learning another way to approach a finished piece of artwork to achieve a different result. —PG
My 3 week workshop with Giuseppe was beyond helpful! I was at a crossroads in terms of my style and direction. Giuseppe helped identify how I can improve with his informative portfolio review.
Our Google Hangout sessions were so enlightening. We discussed color, characters, techniques, artists to look at, contracts, promotion, and much more. The conversation was catered to my individual needs. It was valuable to ask an art director any questions I had about illustration, being a freelancer, and more.
The homework exercise pushed me to try new things and now I have a wonderful new portfolio piece.
After my workshop I have a much better direction on how to improve myself as an illustrator. I have learned so much and definitely recommend The Illustration Department! —CL
I’m excited about my art again.
My portfolio consultation with Giuseppe Castellano was a wonderful experience. He sets a very comfortable and open tone from the beginning, cultivating an actual conversation with the illustrator, instead of just talking at him or her. He gave a thorough visual critique of illustrations, including basic points such as composition and color, but carried it further and really helped me hone in on what the message of my art is, what I want to convey. I’ve come away from this experience with a better understanding of my strengths and areas for improvement, and a renewed energy to develop my illustrations and act on the opportunities he pointed out.
I would recommend having a portfolio consultation with Mr. Castellano to any illustrator who takes their work seriously and wants to better themselves. —MH
Anyone who has children knows that there will be a time when they will have to 'leave their burrow' and be exposed to the world. Usually this coincides with the time they need to be left ‘alone’ in their first school. You, as a mother or father, keep eating your nails, wondering how your child will be accepted by this ‘new world’: will he/she be loved? Will she/he suffer bullying? Luckily, good schools have teachers and/or mentors that tell you how your kid is behaving, his strengths and also where must/can be improvements.
Artists are, in the end, kind of 'parents' of their productions. And, at the same time that they want to see their works exposed, they feel butterflies in their stomach and an infinite concern about the world reaction to their beloved 'children'.
So, it's good to know that there are people with years of experience like Giuseppe, able to look at our 'offspring' and point out to us their strengths and also where must/can be improvements. And with the huge advantage of talking to you in a gentle, didactic and friendly way, like it was a chat between old friends.
I left our Portfolio Review with a lot of 'homework' to do. But, unlike my school days, this time I felt completely motivated to really do them and well done. —DP
Best investment I’ve made yet!
I’m very appreciative of the insightful and thorough portfolio review that Giuseppe provided. He created a dialogue about my work so it really felt like he was working with me to identify strengths as well as areas for improvement that were specific to my goals as an illustrator. His advice was thoughtful and direct and our discussion left me feeling more sure of myself and my goals for the coming year. —CK
Every once in a while, I come across a person who has not just knowledge, experience, and a genuine love for what they do, but also a deep desire to share all of that with other people. Giuseppe Castellano is one such person.
My guess is that Giuseppe is already flooded with talented illustrators. Fortunately, he also has a passion for nurturing new artists. As an author who hopes to eventually illustrate, too, I was not the typical participant in this course. But with Giuseppe’s guidance, I ended up meeting goals I’d been afraid to approach for longer than I’d care to admit.
I believe Giuseppe genuinely wants me to produce the best art I possibly can, and to enjoy the process. In this course he generously shared insights, tools, and knowledge that will allow me to do exactly that. He helped me recognize what I’m doing that works well, and encouraged me to stretch and try new things to improve my work, too. He also helped me understand how my work fits in with the larger art world, from traditional painters to current illustrators.
Beyond the specifics of the assignment I worked on, Giuseppe left me with some very important words that will continue to guide me: Keep working. Draw from life. Do it again.
I absolutely loved the 3-Week Picture Book Dummy Workshop and highly recommend it. —LS
My Illustration Department Portfolio Consultation was in-depth, insightful, inspiring and so much more than a typical critique. Giuseppe knows his stuff, is passionate about what he does and is eager to share that knowledge and passion. He's also a really nice guy.
If you are serious about improving your art and furthering your career you need to spend an hour with Mr. Castellano.—LS
I would recommend this service to anyone who’s serious about entering the field of freelance illustration.—KO
Giuseppe's portfolio critique was the most valuable one I have received. He is so generous and inspiring in his comments. The review is concrete in content. He took the time to show me points he was making in photoshop. It was so helpful. I definitely have a lot of work to do, but I now have a better understanding of those areas that need work. He also suggested names of other illustrators to look at for reference and information. He is a wealth of knowledge and so accessible. He is someone you'd like to just sit down and have a conversation with. :) You can tell by speaking with him, he loves what he does. I highly recommend his workshops in the Illustration Department. Best investment I've made yet! —LK
I can not thank Giuseppe enough for offering his time and vast knowledge in helping other artists through his courses. I found it to be that step I needed to dig deep and discover ME and what it is I truly want to express with my art. Giuseppe is honest and tells you straight up but is also very kind. I had such a great time while also learning. If you want some amazing direction from an even more amazing teacher, Giuseppe’s courses will give you that—plus so much more!—SJ
I was very pleased with my portfolio consultation with Giuseppe. The conversation was relaxed and informal so that I felt encouraged to talk freely about my work and process. Giuseppe gave very constructive criticism and was able to point out areas of my work I hadn’t realized needed improving. I now feel I have a definite direction I can go to raise the quality of my work. He also recommended several artists I could study to continue improving on my own. Definitely worth it!—NB
Giuseppe’s portfolio consultation was the most thorough and informative critique that I have had.—MR
Giuseppe’s critique was well worth the investment. He was able to offer useful advice on how to streamline my marketing plan as well as give me some insight into what an art director looks for. Even more important, he helped me to identify the strengths of my work as an artist and inspired me to continue to work to bring it to its full potential. I would recommend his service to anyone who’s serious about entering the field of freelance illustration.—KO
I can easily recommend the picture book dummy critique with Giuseppe. His critique was honest and thorough, and provided individual direction specific to my project, as well as insightful instruction to help me become a better illustrator.
Giuseppe is a teacher. He genuinely wants to help you advance your skills. He takes his time, he listens, and he is full of knowledge and experience that will inspire you to think a little deeper, see a little broader, and experience your art in a new light.—JD
I can’t recommend you enough Giuseppe’s portfolio review. Because it’s not just about your work, it is about you, and where and what you want a be as a creative professional. You will receive advice based on your unique position in your life and career. Giuseppe will try to help you to find what are the next steps to reach your goals and look into your work in that light. Next, you will get “technical” review of your work in which you will find what are your strengths and what you need to work on or what is missing in your portfolio. And all that in friendly tone and casual conversation, all advice is given gently and with care. Thank you Giuseppe for the encouragement to continue hard work!—DK
Giuseppe’s portfolio consultation was the most thorough and informative critique that I have had. He took his time to give me specific information on areas of my work that need improvement as well as my strengths and what’s working in my portfolio. It was just what I needed to make my portfolio better and to move forward with my illustration career. I highly recommend a portfolio consultation with Giuseppe to any illustrator who is serious about their illustration work and wants to improve their portfolio.—MR