Part II - SCBWI & West Coast Travels: Seattle

And for the second half of my adventure...

After the conference, Brooke (a new Mentee!!! as well as friend and critique partner) and I flew up the coast to visit the amazingly talented Jessixa Bagley (the third member of our critique group), for a little illustrator fun time. We stayed with Jessixa and her husband, Aaron, also an incredible illustrator. (While we were there, we got a sneak peak of Jessixa's forthcoming picture book AND Aaron's graphic novel. It was pretty magical.)

The Bagleys have a dreamy apartment with a breathtaking view of downtown Seattle, the space needle, AND Mount Rainier. (I don't know about the rest of you, but I am definitely not used to seeing a city surrounded by mountains... and we're talking serious mountains - Rainier, the Olympic Range, and the Cascade Range! WHAT?! Crazytown.)

We had illustrator fun times hanging at the table and working on our projects.

Brooke, Jessixa, and I spent the better part of the time bouncing between cafes, drinking tea, eating pastry, and drawing.

Jessixa played tour-guide and took us to some breathtaking spots in her neighborhood and around the city.

We did some picnicking.

And had a whole bunch of fun.

(photo of Seattle shenanigans courtesy of Brooke Boynton Hughes)

And finally after four glorious days, my fiancé, Ezra, arrived, and the two of us had a lovely long weekend of hanging out and exploring.

There was roller derby,

Sidewalk poetry,

And even a giant sandwich.

Seattle is a magical, wondrous place.


Part I - SCBWI & West Coast Travels: LA

Hey there blog readers,

It occurred to me today that August is nearly over. WHAT?! That's preposterous. I don't understand where the time goes. I had hoped to get this post up earlier, but between life, work, and wedding, things have been busy.

In any case, I spent two weeks on the west coast - one in LA for the annual SCBWI conference and one in Seattle, spent partially with my critique group and partially with my fiancé. The conference itself was a sleepless few days of information, inspiration, seeing old friends, and making new friends.

The main conference room
(photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi)

The weekend began with the inimitable Laurie Halse-Anderson, who said one of my favorite things of the whole weekend: "Books are proof that humans can do magic." YES!

From there, the four days passed in a whirlwind of words and pictures and creative inspiration. There were so many great moments, but here are just a handful of highlights.

I met Bruce Degen, who wrote one of the foundation picture books of my childhood. I don't know how many times my mother read it when my sister and I were little. Honestly, I can probably still recite most of it by heart.

Bruce Degen showing original art from Jamberry!!!

Mac Barnett talked about a whale; David Weisner talked about process and finding your stories with a sneak peak of his new picture book, Mr. Wuffles; my amazing agent, Joanna Volpe had brilliant things to say on the agent's panel; the fantastic Carson Ellis talked about her work; and Jarrett Krosoczka gave a light-the-fire-under-your-pants ending keynote. (I actually had the privilege of working at Jarrett's table during the autograph party. His work is super great, and you should absolutely check it out... he has a graphic novel series about a secret agent lunch lady!)

I got to spend some quality time with fellow Mentees--my tribe, and an unending source of support and inspiration--

Cozy Mentees around the fire.
(photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi)

Lunch time with the new Mentees! Congrats new Mentees!
(The new Mentees are amazing. You should definitely check out their work - Brooke Boynton Hughes, Andy Musser, Corinna Luyken, Linda Dorn, and Rodolfo Montalvo.)
(photo courtesy of my lovely mentor, Pat Cummings)

The Gala - pictured with Mentor, David Diaz; AD, Laurent Linn; and loads of fab Mentees 
(photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi)

And with my oldest SCBWI conference buddy, the inimitable Kathy Ellen Davis and Singe Singe.

(photo courtesy of Debbie Ohi)

It was an amazing bunch of days, and I'll end the post with words that I've held on to since coming back to NY. I seriously want to carve them into a wall in my studio... this is really at the heart of what I do. Jarrett Krosoczka concluded the final keynote of the weekend with these four words: Make magic. Preserve wonder.