Thursday, August 22, 2013

The SCBWI Summer Conference (and other things)...

On August 1st I flew to Los Angeles to attend the 42nd Annual SCBWI Summer Conference.  As usual, this year's conference was a whirlwind of information, inspiration, old friends, new friends, too much coffee and not enough sleep.  And as usual, I didn't take nearly as many photos as I meant to.  But, I did manage to get a photo of Bruce Degen (creator of Jamberry and illustrator of The Magic School Bus books) and Mac Barnett (author of one of my very favorite books, Extra Yarn).  

Bruce Degen
Mac Barnett

And here are some conference highlights...

-Laurie Halse Anderson's keynote speech.  One of my favorite things that she said was "Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes". 

-Steven Malk's workshop, "How to Take Control of Your Career and Chart a Plan".  Steven talked about slowing down and making thoughtful, proactive career decisions.  He gave me a lot of think about. 

-David Wiesner's workshop on writing for illustrators left me feeling encouraged to keep chasing a story idea that I haven't quite been able to nail down.

-Dan Santat's presentation at the illustrator's intensive.  Dan talked about the importance of design in illustration, which I thought was really interesting and helpful.

-Paul Zelinsky's thoughtful critique of my book dummy.  Now I have some new ideas on how to improve my story. 

-Carson Ellis!  I really love Carson Ellis' work and it was great to hear about her process.   Also, her really cute baby was there.

-Seeing friends!  (Check out my friend, Tina Kugler's, awesome illustrations!)

Tina and I at the Black and White Ball

-And finally, one of the biggest highlights for me this year was being the recipient of a mentorship award, as well as an honor award.

The portfolio critiques that I received from the five mentors were extremely helpful and I came away with some really concrete advice on how to improve my work.  I feel very honored to be in the company of the other mentorship winners and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better!  Please take some time to check out their wonderful work...   Andy Musser, Corinna Luyken, Linda Dorn, and Roldolfo Montalvo

I also had the privilege of meeting Lisa Woods, the other honor award winner, and Maral Sassouni, the Grand Prize winner.

After the conference there was lots of hanging out with friends, which included some delicious Udon noodles with illustrators Maple Lam and Jen Betton, and a trip to Seattle with my friend and critique partner, Lisa Anchin, to visit the third member of our critique group, Jessixa Bagley (and Jessixa's very talented artist husband, Aaron Bagley).

A typical Seattle afternoon with Jessixa and Lisa

After a few days with Jessixa and Lisa, my husband met me in Seattle and we headed to the Olympic Peninsula where we did some camping, visited the Hoh rainforest (which is AMAZING!), went to beautiful Ruby Beach, and had a great time (and some great food) in Port Townsend.  (Side note... while enjoying some really good sea food in Port Townsend, we spotted Cloris Leachman a few tables away!)

It always takes a little while to settle back in after a trip, but deadlines are quickly approaching, story ideas are eager to be written down, and my studio is in serious need of a sorting out.  So now I'm off to ink and paint (the sorting out will have to wait for another day).  I hope these last days of summer are treating you well!  If you went to the conference, too, I'd love to hear about your experience!   

Ruby Beach

Friday, August 16, 2013

Back home...

After a whirlwind of a conference in L.A. and a lovely tour around Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula, I finally arrived home late last night.  Next week I'll tell you more about the conference and my trip, but for now here's a picture of my updated inspiration board and a few photos of beautiful Washington.  Now there are bags to unpack, plants to water, emails to write, and naps to take.  I hope you've been enjoying August!