Hey there, folks!

It was a crazy, exciting, whirlwind of a weekend. It was SCBWI's (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) annual winter conference in NY, and I decided to check it out this year.

Read on for photos from the weekend, conference-inspired doodles, and more!

The weekend started out incredible and continued to astound me day after day, panel after panel. Friday was the illustrator intensive, featuring workshops all about digital media and the possibilities and potential new media holds for illustrators interested in children's publishing. It was an amazing series of panels organized by one of my favorite people in the universe, Pat Cummings (far right in the photo below... Pat is not only a widely published children's writer and illustrator, she's also my advisor) and by Cecilia Yung, a veritable force of nature in the publishing industry. Cecilia (far left in the photo below) is not only a board member at SCBWI, but also an Art Director and Vice President of G.P. Putnam & Sons and Philomel, imprints at Penguin.

Saturday was similarly action-packed. We started off with a keynote address by Lois Lowry. Lois Lowry!!

If you haven't read The Giver or Number the Stars or Anastasia Krupnik, you should head to the nearest book store or log onto Amazon RIGHT NOW. Your twelve-year-old-self will thank you. Not only was her address inspiring and interesting, but it was really funny. She shared a number of letters that kids have sent her over the years. A couple favorites:

After Lois Lowry, the day continued with a star-studded faculty list. The following panel, about creating and recreating the picture book, featured Jane Yolen, Mark Teague, and Patricia Lee Gauch. Again, if you have never of these folks, do fix that. Jane Yolen, a former Smithie, is a prolific children's writer; Mark Teague, a kids' book illustrator with a great sense of humor; and Patricia Lee Gauch, another force of nature in the publishing industry who has perspective from both sides of the editor's desk.

During the day there were a number of break-out workshop sessions with individual art directors, editors, and agents. Later, however, we heard from two more of the greats, R.L. Stein...

and Jules Feiffer.

Sunday was a shorter day, but still action packed, with a really thoughtful and honest keynote by Sara Zarr, a newer author of children's fiction.

"They say, write the book you want to read. I'm going to give the speech that I need to hear," she began. "The time between when you're no longer a beginner but have yet to break into the business is probably the hardest in your career. Your greatest creation is your creatie life. It's all in your hands. Rejection can't take it away; reviews can't take it away. The life you create for yourself as an artist may be the only thing that's really yours. Create a life you can center yourself in calmly as you wait for your work to grow." (vaguely paraphrased)

After a panel on humor with Mo Willems, Lenore Look, and Marvin Terban, Linda Sue Park was our final speaker for the day. She is also another new-ish author who I am not as familiar with, but after hearing her speak, I will definitely be checking out her books.

I came away from the weekend with pages of notes,

some really excellent advice from a talented group of people, a small head cold, a whole bunch of silly doodles (including but not limited to the following...),

and a whole bunch of inspiration.

And on that note, of to the studio I go!

New work!

Happy snow day readers!

New York is under another foot of snow, and I'm off from school for the day. That being said, it's still a work day. I'm busy prepping for a conference this weekend. The Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators hosts an annual conference in New York, and I decided that I ought to check it out.

At the conference, I'll be participating in the illustrator showcase and showing a new piece of work - a painting from one of my books for thesis. (Yes, "one of"... I may actually end up doing a series of picture books for the thesis project...) But I digress. Since I'm showing this painting publicly tomorrow, I figured that it's high time I shared it with you.

The Family Anchin

Halloo dear blog-readers.

I haven't ever posted anything about my family, but I come from a home of absurd and absurdly talented folks. I've always said that before dropping everything and going to art school, I never really thought about making art and illustration a career. That being said, when looking at the sorts of things my parents make, I can't help but feeling rather dense (in a how-could-I-not-consider-making-art sort of way). My folks are both teachers, and though they don't currently do art professionally, they are both exceptionally talented. One of these days, I'll post some actual samples of their work, not to mention my sister's work. Dina is talented, on a level that exceeds jaw-dropping.

For the moment however...

Yesterday my folks came into the city for an impromptu early dinner. We had fun with the brown paper on the table. And so I shall leave you with a few of our table doodles:

Landscape by Papa Anchin

Froggy by Mama Anchin
(My mom has been drawing this one for as long as I can remember... I have
postcards and notes dating back to the 80s with this little frog drawn on them.)

A Boy and His Chicken by Mama Anchin

A Girl and her Fish by Yours Truly
(In response to A Boy and His Chicken)


Just because...

This is just a quick character sketch... I've been letting some ideas percolate for the past few weeks, and this particular character may show up in an upcoming book dummy.


Happy New Year dear blog readers!

It was a busy end to 2010 and a busy start to 2011. This bodes well for a productive final semester. After so many years of schooling, it's crazy to think that this is my last - LAST! - semester of school. It's both incredibly exciting and entirely terrifying.

That being said, perhaps in anticipation of an ever-nearing commencement date, I've been burning the candle at both ends, working both in the studio and at home on my thesis. For the thesis, I decided to work on not one, but three (soon to be four) picture books. I spent first semester writing, designing characters, sketching, thumbnailing, revising sketches, redrawing, rewriting, editing, and putting together three solid book dummies. All of the dummies are in pretty good shape, but even so, the revisions never end; after a four hour meeting with my advisor yesterday, I have major work to do on all of them.

Dummies are great, and I love having an excuse to do tons of sketches and the opportunity to really get to know my characters... however, it came to my attention that it is nearly the end of January, leaving me with only a couple of months to pull together all of the final art. The last three or four weeks have passed in a flurry of painting and experimenting with color.

I still haven't decided which book I'm going to work on yet, but I've really been enjoying playing with this particular character in paint. A couple of sneak peaks: