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!