SCBWI Summer Conference 2013

(A sketch I drew at the airport on my way to LA)

At the beginning of August, I had the great pleasure of attending the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' 42nd annual Summer Conference in LA. It was four days jam packed with amazing keynotes, intensives, portfolio reviews, and celebrations. I met many new friends and I had some great experiences, it was truly a delightful time.

(A handful of the business cards and postcards I picked up)

One of the main highlights was winning a Mentorship Award in the Portfolio Showcase. Myself, along with four other mentees, had the opportunity to have our portfolios critiqued by each of the Board Illustration Committee Mentors. I feel very grateful to have had a chance to share my work with them, their critiques were very insightful and inspirational. 

Furthermore, my fellow mentees are a talented and friendly crew, and I'm really proud to know them. But you don't have to take my word for it, check out their sweet portfolios: Linda DornBrooke Boynton HughesCorinna Luyken, and Rodolfo Montalvo

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of all of us together, but here's our business cards. Also, here's a photo that Dana Sullivan took of Corinna and I. Dana, Corinna, and I are all from the Western Washington chapter of SCBWI, hooray for Washington! 

(Photo by Dana Sullivan)

The mentees from past years are also an amazing bunch, they keep a great blog with children's book illustration tips and resources that I highly recommend:

The keynotes and breakout sessions were chock full of impressive industry professionals giving the lowdown on their work and the world of children's books. Here's a random sampling of some my personal conference highlights.

(Jolie Stekly at the New Attendee Orientation)

Carson Ellis talked about her process illustrating the Wildwood series and her approach for illustration in general. 

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Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett performed a rousing reading of their new book Battle Bunny. The book cleverly appears to be a copy of a book originally titled Birthday Bunny, that was defaced to make a story about an evil bunny that goes on a rampage.

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Bruce Degen, the original illustrator of The Magic School Bus series, gave a break out session about illustrating other people's manuscripts. He brought a vast assortment of original artwork and sketches from several different projects, including The Magic School Bus and Jamberry, which blew my mind several times over.

(A sketch of Bruce Degen during his keynote presentation)

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The extremely prolific Dan Santat gave an insightful talk about his process and career. I'm really looking forward to his upcoming book Carnivores. Check out the clever book trailer for Carnivores, you'll be glad you did.

Now that I'm back from LA, I'm excited to get back to my drawing table with renewed inspiration. Thanks for visiting!

SCBWI Western Washington Conference - 2013

This past weekend I attended the Society of Children's Book Writer and Illustrator's Western Washington Conference. They had a great line up of authors, illustrators, agents, art directors, and editors who spoke on a variety of topics. Here are a few of my personal highlights from the conference.

Mac Barnett (who wrote Extra Yarn and Guess Again) told some great stories during his keynote and offered some "Very Practical Lessons from Very Good Picture Books" during a break out session. He also revealed that there's an ad behind the dust cover of Billy Twitter's and His Blue Whale Problem that allows you to order your very own real-life blue whale to be delivered to your house. Don't believe me? Go check out the book!

Author/Illustrator Sophie Blackall (who wrote Missed Connections, amongst other fun projects), gave an inspiring keynote that also happened to feature awesomely random pictures of sloths and kittens. I attended her breakout sessions on "Art Work" and "Art Play," and had a fun time drawing and making up stories with other illustrators.

Patti Ann Harris (the art director at Little, Brown) talked about "The Process of Picture Book Art" and gave "A Look at Novelty Books" during two breakout sessions I attended. She showed a sneak peak of Peter Brown's new book Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, which is jammed packed with whimsy and fancy jungle animals.

Now that the conference is over, I feel reinvigorated to hop back to the old drawing board and get cracking on my next picture book. Thanks for reading!