SCBWI Conference Doodles

Hey there folks,

As promised - conference doodles! 

Conference weekends are some of the most inspiring of the year. Hearing from illustration greats is a creative jolt, and I often come away with a sketchbook full of doodles and ideas. This year's winter conference was no exception, even leaving me with a spark of inspiration for a new manuscript.

Over the course of the weekend, this grumpy little girl showed up a couple of times.

And later with a friend.

I had actually come down with a cold just before the conference, so the weekend was a wee bit rough on my system. Not to mention, I was waking before 7am each morning and getting home after midnight each night. As you might imagine, by the third day of the conference, despite all of the creative energy buzzing around the room, I was ready for a nap or, at the very least, an early night. (Which didn't happen... I think we got home "early" on Sunday - around 10:30.) Most of my doodles from the day were "wishful thinking" drawings...


In fact, I could use a nap now...

SCBWI Winter Conference Recap: Mentee Monday

Apologies dear blog readers. This post has been a long time coming. It's been a busy few weeks of working and good things in the works. 

But let us travel back to the beginning of the month, to the Monday after the conference.

One of the bests parts of the whole weekend was reconnecting with my fellow Mentees, and on Monday--with our fearless leader, David Diaz, at the helm--we spent the entire day together.

We started out with brunch,
(Photo courtesy of David Diaz.)

stopped to make t-shirts
(Photo Courtesy of Maple Lam.)

and pick up some hot chocolate,
(Photo Courtesy of Maple Lam.)

and then headed up to Books of Wonder. Books of Wonder is the only bookstore that I know of that organizes its picture books alphabetically by illustrator. (If you've never been, you should go immediately.)

(Photos courtesy of David Diaz.)

After books, we marched east to meet with Chad Beckerman, Tamar Brazis, and Maria Middleton at Abrams Books. The team there talked to us about promotional materials and really showcased what makes Abrams special.
(Photo courtesy of David Diaz.)

(Photo courtesy of David Diaz.)

And finally hopped on a subway that whisked us downtown to Penguin
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Lanan.)

where we talked to an incredibly talented and generous group of art directors and left our portfolios out on a table for folks to look at. Art directors from six different children's imprints shared with us the similarities and differences in the materials they print and talked about what makes each imprint unique.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Lanan.)

It was a whirlwind non-stop sort of day, and an excellent end to an incredible weekend.

Heaps upon heaps of thanks to David Diaz for organizing an amazing day; to the folks at Abrams - Chad Beckerman, Tamar Brazis, and Maria Middleton - for talking to us about publishing and promos; to Cecilia Young for arranging an incredible program for our visit to Penguin; and to the art directors at Penguin who took the time to talk to us - Giuseppe Castellano, Lily Malcolm, Nancy Brennan, Semadar Megged, and Irene Vandervoort.

And until next time, I'll leave you with my favorite photo from the weekend and a clear winner for our next album cover:
(Photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi.)

SCBWI Winter Conference Recap

Hey there everyone,

It has been a crazy, whirlwind, head-spinning sort of week and weekend. The head-spinning may have resulted from the all too dangerous combination of conference-overload and cold medicine. Yep, I got sick just in time for conference weekend. No worries, though. I powered through and came home with a journal full of inspiration.

My illustrator friends are scattered across the country, so SCBWI conferences have become a lovely sort of reunion. Two of my dear illustrator friends even bunked at my tiny apartment in Brooklyn.
 Pictured here with fellow Mentee, Maple Lam. (Photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi.)

The first day of the conference was the Illustrator Intensive, and it started with an amazing presentation by Shaun Tan. He told us, "You know an idea is great when it starts to tell you what to do."

He showed some of his incredible drawings, 

and he even signed a book for me!

Floyd Cooper not only gave a talk but did a piece right in front of us!

David Ezra Stein talked about his inner artist and inner critic. (Inner artist pictured below.)

The Brothers Hilts talked about their recently published book, The Insomniacs. Check it out, it's amazing. I loved what they had to say about books as a whole: "The book as object is the art. That's what's going to be in 1,000 tiny hands and seen by 1,000 tiny eyeballs."

After and between all of the amazing talks there was time to hang with illustrator and Mentor, David Diaz and my fellow Mentees.
(Photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi.)

I also got to hang out with the amazing gals from my Critique Group, Brooke Boynton-Hughes and Jessixa Bagley

Finally, at the end of the day, we browsed the Portfolio Showcase. There were over 200 portfolios! 
(Photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi.)

The next two days of conference were chock-full and jam-packed with workshops and lectures, and Mo Willems took off his shoe.

A major highlight of the weekend was the Illustrator Social on Saturday night. Tomie dePaola came as a surprise guest to chat and hang out with us. 

Another amazing moment was the announcement of the Portfolio Showcase winners. Among them were two friends.

Jessixa won runner-up!
 (Photo courtesy of Maple Lam.)

And fellow Mentee Andrea Offerman won the grand prize!
(Photo courtesy of Maple Lam.)

The Mentees spent loads of time hanging out together...
 (Photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi.)

especially in the hotel lobby.
 (Photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi.)

And later in Debbie's hotel room,
 (Photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi.)

we checked out Debbie's potato
(Photo courtesy of Maple Lam.)

and napped.
 (Photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi.)

It was an inspiring and exhausting entirely excellent weekend. Many thanks to Lin Oliver, Stephen Mooser, and the amazing staff at SCBWI.

Stay tuned for two additional upcoming conference-related posts, Mentee Monday and journal doodles.