Friday, August 31, 2012


This year was my third year attending SBWI's Summer Conference in LA. The more of these conferences I go to, the more comfortable I get with myself and where I am in my career path. This  year when I made the decision to go to LA, I made it much easier on myself by forgetting about "getting discovered."I'm in a huge creative flux right now. There are all kinds of ideas and techniques I want to try and putting my work out there when there could be a shake-up down the road didn't seem right.

I decided I was going to focus on the lessons of the speakers, interacting with fellow creatives and making connections. I didn't even show my portfolio in the Showcase this year. (I know, several people were all, "Are you CRAZY?!")  It was the best decision I've made in a long time. Preparing for the conference was so easy-and relaxing! (Next year could be a very different story, however-ha!)

A few takeaways from keynotes & break-out sessions:
Arthur Levine speaks to illustrators
1. Editor Arthur Levine. “When a story is able to catch a moment of emotion between reader and story, it's timeless.” and “Great writers use anticipation more often than surprise. Anticipation expands the viewer’s understanding of the wider world and what is happening.” (I have to say Arthur also spoke at the Illustrator's Intensive on Monday, and he had (hands down) one of the best presentations of the day including a quote by author-illustrator Uri Shulevitz: "What you say is of primary importance, not how you say it.")

2. Illustrator-Author Tony DiTerlizzi. “Imagination is my mission.” Tony spoke about what pleased him as a child and how that influenced what he does now. He always keeps that kid in mind when creating.

Tony DiTerlizzi & Maurice Sendak

Bryan Collier tells his story
3. Illustrator-Author Bryan Collier: “They didn’t know what they did when Harold hung the moon.” I felt like many illustrators connected with Bryan and his amazing journey during that talk: “The dream is so big, it’s frightening. The world conspires against it.”

Bryan Collier's amazing collage work
4. Illustrator-Author Jon Klassen: "Storytelling is teaching." and "Some stories don't exist outside of how they are told."

Melissa Sweet shares her process
5. Illustrator-Author Melissa Sweet: "I have been afraid to try something new because of the weight of making a marketable book. Now, I can hardly wait to make a mistake." "Write your heart out." (Not surprising, considering how much I adore her work, I found Melissa to be especially inspiring. And what a great instructor. Wow!)
Antoinette Portis tells is why picture books rock

6. Illustrator-Author Antoinette Portis: "Let the pictures do their thing." (Antoinette was another speaker that had light-bulbs going off.)

My picture book haul. I owned three already, but now they're signed!

What I took away from the conference is this: I need to keep in touch with my inner child. I need to talk to her and find out what she loves and why she loves it so. Then I need to figure out how to connect that with what I am trying to do now. Find out what it is I want to say, why I feel the need to say it, and why it is important to me. I have a lot of thinking to do!

And remember: "Everything is sweetened by risk." Alexander Smith (quote courtesy of Melissa Sweet)

And now, for some pictures with friends!
Pucker up, baby!
Three of the five of the Polka Dottie Posse!
Hippie Hop in full swing
Two of the grooviest chicks out there, maaaaan. (Melinda and Leeza)
Three of the Sketchables! Priscilla, Kelly and me. And look, we're in black and white, just like our art!
Melinda and I on the bus to the faculty dinner
Four awesome Illustrator Coordinators
Three ICs: Melinda, me and Bonnie

1 comment:

  1. You always have a good overview of SCBWI conferences. Everyone is so stinkin cute!!


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