Susan Szecsi

Susan Szecsi - Designer

Berkeley, CA, USA

Award-winning Illustrator-Designer, former clients: Scholastic, Chicago Review Press, Stanford University Press, Hunter House Pub. UCSF...

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Overview

I am professional illustrator/designer, recently focusing on book illustrations and covers.
I am classically trained in atelier style private schools and learned, art anatomy, perspective, color theory, composition and design. I hold an MA in English Literature. While I never stopped making art, I spent more than 15 years teaching, then about five years ago became a full time freelance designer and illustrator.


MY WORKFLOW
I firmly believe that the key part of the successful collaboration is regular and clear communication between the Client and the Designer. Before I give you a final offer, I love to understand every aspect of the project. In my experience the best is to talk/email and based on our discussion put together a written brief., that contains all the specifications.

What if you are not sure about what you want. Do not worry, I am happy to help you to clarify your needs. I have worked together with seasoned professionals, and first-publishing indies. Feel free to ask any questions, with my guidance we will find the best way to make your book other project stand out.

THE STEPPING STONE METHOD
Depending on the work's complexity here is a simplified one step at a time guideline how I work.
1, Based on our communication we finalize the brief, agree on specifications and conditions.
2. I give you a quota for the job.
3. You accept it, and send the deposit to reedsy.
1. After understanding your needs I will create some sketches that I will send you to review.
2. If you ask for changes, I will implement the changes and send the sketches again to you to review.
3. If the sketches are accepted we proceed to the next step, color version, sample layout, etc.
4. It goes with a lot of back and forth communication and reviews until we finish.
5. You get the final files.

In case of book covers you will get 2-3 different sketches to choose.
In case of 20-24 pages of book illustrations, I will create a story-board with thumbnails. (See example in my photo gallery.

THREE FREE REVISIONS
In general I offer three free revisions. Ideally two of them should happen at the early phase of the job to save time and money for both of us. It is quite normal to have a third/last revision when I am almost ready with the job. These last revisions are usually smaller changes.
What counts as a revision? I am only human, so if I made a mistake and I need to fix it that never counts as a revision.
Further revisions are possible based on my hourly rate.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE...?
Each job is different, but see some rough estimates below.
!! Please note, these are general numbers referring to the average time frame that I need from accepting the job to sending you the final files. These numbers do not refer to the actual hours/days I actively work on your project.
Freelancers almost always have a busy schedule, and work on 2-5 projects simultaneously, so you might need to wait until I am able to start, especially if it is a big job e.g.: a series of illustrations. Smaller jobs, a solo illustration a banner, a book cover are easier to squeeze into my schedule.

(Estimates including research, revisions and back and forth communication with you.)
- book cover design - minimum 2 weeks
- book cover design with illustration - 2 - 4 weeks
- 20-24 illustrations for a 32 page children's book - 3 - 6 months
- black and white illustrations for chapter book - 2- 6 months
- one single (simple) illustration - minimum 3 days
- book layout (max 5 pictures) until 100 pages - 1 week
- other smaller design projects like logo, banners, social media cover -1 - 2 weeks

As soon as I know exactly what you need I will be able to tell you a price and the estimated delivery date.


Have a question? Do you need something that is not in my portfolio? Send me a message.
Looking forward to working with you.
Languages
English
Fiction
Action & Adventure
Fantasy
Middle Grade
Picture Books
Young Adult
Non-Fiction
Business & Management
Health & Wellbeing
Medicine, Nursing, & Dentistry

Certifications

  • MA in English Literature
  • Five Years Private Studies at Atelier Style Art Studios

Awards

  • Eureka Silver Award (for non-fiction children's books by the California Reading Association)

Work experience

contracted freelance illustrator and designer

Chicago Review Press
July, 2018 – Present (almost 3 years)

Working on illustrating and designing Yes, I can Listen! picture book.

Contracted illustrator/designer

Scholastic Book Club
May, 2017 – December, 2017 (7 months)

Black and white illustrations and book interior design for chapter book "Toto's Story" Book was published and in 2018. See Scholastic Book Club's 2018 January catalogue.
The second version of the book published by the author Steve Metzger, award winning author of more than 70 children's book is available on Amazon.

Illustrator/designer

Self-employed
August, 2014 – Present (over 6 years)

Art Director/Designer

Self-employed
August, 2013 – Present (over 7 years)

Portfolio (11 selected works)

Happy Animals: Friends Not Food

Liora Raphael, Glenn Saks, Susan Szecsi, Susan Szecsi

Yes, I Can Listen!

Steve Metzger

Listening is an essential life skill that helps children achieve success at school, follow safety rules and show others that they care about them. In a world filled with distractions, being a “good listener” has become more difficult than ever. The playful rhymes of Yes, I Can Listen! encourage children to appreciate the rewards of attentive listening. With sweet characters, varied type faces,... read more

Listening is an essential life skill that helps children achieve success at school, follow safety rules and show others that they care about them. In a world filled with distractions, being a “good listener” has become more difficult than ever. The playful rhymes of Yes, I Can Listen! encourage children to appreciate the rewards of attentive listening. With sweet characters, varied type faces,... read more

Synchro Sisters Forever: Mermaid Dreams

Katie Reveno

Buy a book, empower a child! All proceeds benefit USA Synchro, the sport's governing body in the U.S. to help expose more young children to a lesser-known sport that builds their athleticism, confidence, social skills, and character to prepare them for success in life.Illustrated children's chapter book geared toward girls ages 5-8 introduces the Olympic sport of synchronized swimming and teac... read more

Buy a book, empower a child! All proceeds benefit USA Synchro, the sport's governing body in the U.S. to help expose more young children to a lesser-known sport that builds their athleticism, confidence, social skills, and character to prepare them for success in life.Illustrated children's chapter book geared toward girls ages 5-8 introduces the Olympic sport of synchronized swimming and teac... read more

On The Walk Trail: Japan

Jonny See

Aki loves spending time with his grandfather. They walk to downtown, visit the fish market and see many interesting things in the park. At the end of the day, they watch a baseball game and cheer for their favorite team.

Aki loves spending time with his grandfather. They walk to downtown, visit the fish market and see many interesting things in the park. At the end of the day, they watch a baseball game and cheer for their favorite team.

Toto's Story: My Amazing Adventures with Dorothy in Oz

Steve Metzger

In this new chapter book, Toto tells us what really happened when he and Dorothy made that magical journey to Oz. Based on L. Frank Baum's classic tale, "The Wizard of Oz," read all about the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, and the Wicked Witch of the West...through Toto's eyes! Find out: * Why Toto is annoyed by the Scarecrow! * How Toto helped Dorothy melt the Wicked Witch! * ... read more

In this new chapter book, Toto tells us what really happened when he and Dorothy made that magical journey to Oz. Based on L. Frank Baum's classic tale, "The Wizard of Oz," read all about the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, and the Wicked Witch of the West...through Toto's eyes! Find out: * Why Toto is annoyed by the Scarecrow! * How Toto helped Dorothy melt the Wicked Witch! * ... read more

GOPex Good Oral Posture Exercises

Dr. Sandra Kahn, Dr. Simon Wong

This book was designed to help you develop correct resting oral posture.With it, you will achieve balanced growth of your face and teeth. Additionally, these exercises will support you in quest to develop your mind and body in the best way, so that you can reach your potential!

This book was designed to help you develop correct resting oral posture.With it, you will achieve balanced growth of your face and teeth. Additionally, these exercises will support you in quest to develop your mind and body in the best way, so that you can reach your potential!

Knitting Comfortably: The Ergonomics of Handknitting

Carson Demers

Imagine being told you have to stop knitting because of discomfort in your hands, arms, neck, or back. Imagine the sense of frustration and the longing to get the needles back in your hands. Imagine the lingering doubt you might have when you can pick them up again: "What was I doing wrong after all these years of knitting?" "Will I get hurt again?" "Will I have to stop knitting forever to mak... read more

Imagine being told you have to stop knitting because of discomfort in your hands, arms, neck, or back. Imagine the sense of frustration and the longing to get the needles back in your hands. Imagine the lingering doubt you might have when you can pick them up again: "What was I doing wrong after all these years of knitting?" "Will I get hurt again?" "Will I have to stop knitting forever to mak... read more

Three Old Motorcycles: Reflections from a Thousand Mile Journey

Charles T Granata

In the summer of 2015, Steve, Scotty and I ride out of the San Francisco Bay Area on our 40-year-old motorcycles and ride into the Sierra and White Mountains along the California and Nevada borders. "Steve and Scotty are college rugby teamates in their thirties, reliable and good-heartedly heedless. I'm in my sixties, cautious and reserved, a loner at heart. However, Steve is a catalyst." We t... read more

In the summer of 2015, Steve, Scotty and I ride out of the San Francisco Bay Area on our 40-year-old motorcycles and ride into the Sierra and White Mountains along the California and Nevada borders. "Steve and Scotty are college rugby teamates in their thirties, reliable and good-heartedly heedless. I'm in my sixties, cautious and reserved, a loner at heart. However, Steve is a catalyst." We t... read more

Dr. Lani's No-Nonsense Bone Health Guide: The Truth About Density Testing, Osteoporosis Drugs, and Building Bone Quality at Any Age

Lani Simpson

Part whistle-blower book, part bone health bible, Dr. Lani's No-Nonsense Bone Health Guide exposes the shocking difficulty involved in getting an accurate bone density reading and the serious risks of long term use of the most recent osteoporosis medications.Author Dr. Lani Simpson, both a Doctor of Chiropractic and a Certified Clinical Densitometrist cuts through the confusion and inaccuracie... read more

Part whistle-blower book, part bone health bible, Dr. Lani's No-Nonsense Bone Health Guide exposes the shocking difficulty involved in getting an accurate bone density reading and the serious risks of long term use of the most recent osteoporosis medications.Author Dr. Lani Simpson, both a Doctor of Chiropractic and a Certified Clinical Densitometrist cuts through the confusion and inaccuracie... read more

Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic

Sandra Kahn, Paul R. Ehrlich

There's a silent epidemic in western civilization, and it is right under our noses. Our jaws are getting smaller and our teeth crooked and crowded, creating not only aesthetic challenges but also difficulties with breathing. Modern orthodontics has persuaded us that braces and oral devices can correct these problems. While teeth can certainly be straightened, what about the underlying causes o... read more

There's a silent epidemic in western civilization, and it is right under our noses. Our jaws are getting smaller and our teeth crooked and crowded, creating not only aesthetic challenges but also difficulties with breathing. Modern orthodontics has persuaded us that braces and oral devices can correct these problems. While teeth can certainly be straightened, what about the underlying causes o... read more

Susan has 6 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Chris Behrens
It was a pleasure beginning this project with Susan. She was eager and enthusiastic to work on the illustrations. She had great ideas and put a lot of thought into the work. The illustrations were fantastic!

Chris Behrens, April 2021

Susan Szecsi
I was a pleasure to work with you Chris. Fingers crossed and best of luck with your wonderful book.

Reply from Susan Szecsi


Veronika Chodkiewiczne Paizs
Susan is absolutely wonderful and very professional, it was a joy to work with. She is very responsive and helpful. We worked close together, as this being my first self-published book, there was a lot I didn't know. I couldn't be happier with the results. Susan is creative, friendly, funny and patient. She brought my book to life. Thank you Susan, I am looking forward to working with you in t...
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Veronika Chodkiewiczne Paizs, April 2021

Susan Szecsi
Thank you Veronika, it was a joyful journey working with you too. I hope you continue to create many more colorful and fun books.

Reply from Susan Szecsi


Patricia Cozzi
Susan is the best. She is very professional and an expert. However, she is very warm and cares about my book. I would feel comfortable giving Susan an A+ and gladly would recommend her to anyone.

Patricia Cozzi, March 2021

Susan Szecsi
Thank you Patricia, it was a joy working with you.

Reply from Susan Szecsi


Diane DiRoberto
A terrific illustrator, Susan brought my characters to life as I saw them and added her own magic to make them memorable. In designing my book, she wowed me. The cover alone may very well sell this book. I couldn't be more pleased and look forward to future collaborations.

Diane DiRoberto, November 2020

Susan Szecsi
Diane was an absolute joy to work with. Her humor sense, creativity and impeccable communications skills always made my day. Looking forward to working on the next Tae Kwon Dog book.

Reply from Susan Szecsi


Natasha Morgan
Susan was great! She set up a call to go over the initial idea and get a feel of what I wanted. She was easy to work with and quick with the initial sketches. All the designs were great, and I picked a combination of two. The final cover is awesome, and I love how it turned out! I was thinking about doing a Kickstarter, and she was accommodating and gave me some great resources; I would definit...
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Natasha Morgan, November 2020

Susan Szecsi
Thank you. It was fun to work with you Natasha. Your story is sweet and kind, and I hope soon we'll have an opportunity to create the whole book.

Reply from Susan Szecsi

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