SCBWI Summer Conference 2017

In July, I traveled to LA for the SCBWI Summer Conference, a weekend of children's book lectures and workshops. A few of my favorite highlights include: Vanessa Brantley Newton's advice on adding ethnic diversity to character designs, Sean Qualls's keynote about his path to becoming a children's book illustrator, and Marvin Terban's entertaining yet moving presentation about the importance of writing humor for children.

The portfolio showcase was another highlight, featuring artwork from hundreds of illustrators attending the conference, I walked away with a bag full of lovely promo cards and a brain abuzz with inspiration. As an added bonus, my artwork received a honor award in the portfolio showcase. 


At the beginning of October, I attend an illustrator's retreat held by the SCBWI Oregon and Washington chapters in Silver Falls State Park. The weekend was full of sessions taught by the faculty, Leuyen Pham and Eric Rohmann, and art making and camaraderie with my fellow illustrator attendees.

Leuyen and Eric covered a variety of topics, including: storytelling, design, technique, and they both talked about their careers and shared tips they learned along the way. My favorite quote came from Leuyen while she was critiquing one of my illustrations, it featured a boy and several cats:

Use your cats as directional lines!
— Leuyen Pham

Which seems like useful advice for any occasion. Thanks for taking a look! 

SCBWI Summer Conference

At the beginning of this month, I attended the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. I've been a few times in the past and found it very useful and inspiring, this year was no different. Lots of fantastic speakers, powerful stories, and helpful advice. Here's a slideshow of a few highlights:

Adventures in 2015

2015 has turned out to be quite the busy year, whew! Here's a quick update of some of my artwork and travels.

In February, I went to NYC for the Annual SCBWI Winter Conference.

Three days of inspiring and thought provoking lectures from many of my kidlit heroes. I especially enjoyed hearing Pat Cummings interview David Ezra Stein about his process, I'm excited to read his new book "Tad and Dad." Another highlight was hearing Kwame Alexander talk about his journey to winning the Newbery, his stories and poetry brought both laughter and tears, that man knows how to give a speech! 

It was a delight to spend time with the the many other writers and illustrators who attended, and a bonus to leave with these lovely promo cards.

After NYC, I headed to Boston for some business and to spend time with friends.

Every morning I ate breakfast with Thomas the cat, who would casually attempt to steal my bacon.

One afternoon, I had a sketch session at the Boston Aquarium.

My visit was bookended by snow storms, which provided some impressive icicles.

Not long after I returned, I flew to California for a family event.

The trip was quick, but I was able to squeeze in some time to sketch the coastline.

At PDX I was greeted by this beautiful behemoth. Maybe a clock? Maybe the gateway to Narnia? We may never know...

Back in Washington, I've been doing research for a picture book idea.

In April, I attended my hometown SCBWI conference, held by the Western Washington chapter. Another fantastic conference full of inspiring kidlit pros and attendees alike. I especially enjoyed hearing David Wiesner talk about books and his process, as well as hearing Carter Hasegawa and Kristen Nobles give a behind-the-scenes look at Candlewick

Here's a character I designed in David Wiesner's character design intensive. A Koala mailman with a punctuality problem. 

Thanks for visiting! 

SCBWI Illustrator Retreat

Last weekend, I attended an illustration retreat at the Dumas Bay Centre in Federal Way, Washington. Organized by the SCBWI chapters from Western Washington and Oregon, the retreat was a weekend filled with delightfully challenging workshops led by Kelly Murphy and Sergio Ruzzier.

In addition to the great faculty, it was energizing and inspiring to be surrounded by the sixty or so other illustrators who attended. It was an incredible weekend and I feel honored to have had the chance to go. The fun of the retreat is over, but I'm excited to return to my troll hole and continue drawing and experimenting.

Here are a few paintings from one Kelly Murphy's workshops, which involved experimenting with color palettes.

Here are a few drawings from Sergio Ruzzier's workshops, which involved lots of inking and thinking.

Thanks for visiting!

SCBWI Summer Conference 2014

Happy autumn! I hope you've had a terrific summer, jam packed with all the people and places you enjoy! My summer was a busy one and it's taken me a little while to get around to blogging, but I'm excited to give you a quick update. 

At the beginning of August, I went to the SCBWI summer conference in LA, where I had the opportunity to meet many kind people and attend many helpful workshops. Here are a few highlights (in no particular order):

-It was encouraging to hear many successful authors and illustrators talk about persevering and working hard, I especially enjoyed hearing Stephen ChboskyTomie dePaola, and Meg Rosoff's thoughts on the subject. I also love this quote by Meg Rosoff: "Treasure your faults."

-This year, instead of attending the illustrator intensives, I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to the writer intensives, and I'm glad i did! At the two workshops I attended, by Andrea Welch and the another by Bruce Coville, I learned many useful techniques and ideas that I'm excited to apply to my writing.

-During Aaron Becker's workshop about developing his book Journey, he shared many insightful stories and sketches. At his keynote presentation, he taught the audience the vocals to the song "Don't Stop Believing" (by the band Journey) and we all sang together. 

-Here I am waiting in line with some great folks: Rodolfo Montalvo, Corinna Luyken, and Pat Cummings (I'm in the plaid shirt on the right). I wish I had photos of all the wonderful people I got to spend time with.

-Linda Sue Park shared many useful techniques for writing and editing.

-Peter Brown won a Golden Kite Award for his beautiful book, "Mr. Tiger Goes Wild." 

-And last, but not least, I walked a way with a stack of incredible business card art and postcard art, hooray!

Thanks for visiting!