Friday, October 14, 2011

SCBWI conference inspiration

So a few weeks back I went to my first SCBWI-Carolinas conference. Wow, what an eye opening experience!  It was a whirlwind of information and meeting great and talented people! It's taken me weeks to absorb all that I learned, really I'm still processing it all. I won't be able to capture it all here on my blog.

Friday morning of the conference, I attended David Diaz' Illustration Intensive. That was so fun, like being in art school again.  He had emailed each of us a line or two of text from a manuscript and we were to show up with our sketches for our assigned text. It was so nerve wracking to show my sketch to the group, but did it any way. It was so interesting to see everyone's interpretation of the text they were given.  David then went on to teach us his incredible technique using layers of charcoal and paint on masonite. His technique resulted in such a beautiful piece, rich with depth and texture. It was so inspiring to try a new technique. Especially after working digitally for so long. I was rusty with the paintbrush and paint, but I'll give myself a pass since it's been so long. I'm thinking my next class will be a painting class to oil up those painting muscles again. It was FUN. Just soo much fun, I tell you!

Here is my 2nd sketch after some critiquing from David. (It's Mama Nature sleeping...don't wake her!) 

Later that day, I had a portfolio review with Lucy Ruth Cummins, an art director from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Paula Wiseman Books. Man, was she ever so delightful! I loved her quick and funny way of getting to the point about my work. She told me where I could pare down my portfolio to the strongest pieces, and told me which of my work was the best and some hints to make it more marketable, and who I should market to. She said some really nice things about my work, which made me feel so great! On a side note about Lucy, her style and energy are just so adorable, I can picture her animated in a cartoon with her  big glasses and little doggie sidekick wearing her kicky summer dresses. CUTE AS A BUTTON! I also really enjoyed her workshop on "Making your Work Marketable and Getting the Word Out".

Here are some highlights from her workshop:
  • Make sure your work is deftly done
  • Do topical and trend-setting work with emotional resonance
  • Do character studies from every angle
  • Make dynamic work
  • Don't ignore the boy market
The agent panel was also filled with juicy tidbits of inspiration. Basically, I learned that my work needs to come from an "organic place" that stands out and peaks their interest. Easy, right? Not so much. I've been struggling since then to figure out my "organic place". I know it takes time, and I'm rushing it a bunch.

I have a lot of exciting work ahead of me. The more you learn, the more you realize how much you have to learn. I met so many talented people, and as a crazy great bonus, I got to meet the wonderful Jennifer Bower in person! I'm so grateful that I was able to attend such a fantastic event. For pictures of the conference, take a look at my Flickr.


  1. I just realized that I stole the underground hibernation idea from my "Mama Nature" sketch. I need to pay more attention!

  2. Ha! You rock! What a great overview. I am with ya. Still reeling from the conference and finding it hard to get wheels back down to ground. That 'organic' place is so hard to find, post conference. I thought I knew. If we keep digging, though, fresh fields will grow fertile. Girl, the highlight of my conference was meeting you too. I LOVE our sister-friendship. Great Pics and know I can find you on Flickr. :)

  3. Well YOU ROCK too, my new sisterfriend! Thanks for the support and the comments!