Over this past weekend I went to my first SCBWI conference here in Portland Oregon at the Shilo Inn and met a lot of great illustrators. It was a weekend full of ups and downs. Lots of great information with a few duds thrown in as well.
Friday started out promising enough, it was a bright and sunny day here in portland with a nice complimentary continental breakfast for the attendees. That was followed up by learning they had split up the illustrators and writers for the first day. It was a good feeling to know today was going to be all about us illustrators. Leading off the day was a keynote from Susan Sherman, Art Director of Charlesbridge Publishing. Susan talked about her process for making picture books and she spoke about how her career started and all the amazing artist she has worked with. If you ever get a chance to hear her speak I definitely would do it, lots of good info. But the real jewel of the talk for me was towards the end when she showed us how she dummies up a picture book. The mock up showed how she thought the type might flow on the page so the illustrator can rough out their sketches around the text. Very cool stuff, even though it was an aha moment and a duh moment at the same time.
After Susan was finished we heard from a wonderful illustrator animator here in portland named Ward Jenkins. Ward had a wonderful talk about his process for making his illustrations in Photoshop. A lot of things I already knew and a few I didn’t. It was great to see how another illustrator set up his files and his work space in PS hilariously named “wardspace” (You know, its a play on workspace but its wardspac… Nevermind). After such great talks from Susan and Ward, comes our first dud presenter of the day and that’s really sad for me to say because it was the thing that I was most excited about all weekend. Interactbooks gave us mostly a sales pitch for their company’s new product as opposed to the promise of being able to make simple interactive books quickly and easily. I did hear a little excitement from some older ladies but for me I felt with such a great idea the product was not yet there. More on this in my day two recap.
Part of what we want to do here as a group is expose the vast number of resources that are available to those wishing to break into the Children’s Market. There are a number of events and organizations that seek to do this and open up opportunities for not only exposure to the greater intricacies of the community but also great networking opportunities. One such group is the IRA (International Reading Association).
Since 1956, IRA has been a nonprofit, global network of individuals and institutions committed to worldwide literacy. More than 70,000 members strong, the Association supports literacy professionals through a wide range of resources, advocacy efforts, volunteerism, and professional development activities. Our members promote high levels of literacy for all by:
* Improving the quality of reading instruction
* Disseminating research and information about reading
* Encouraging the lifetime reading habit
They have annual conventions as well that feature multiple authors/illustrators from the Childrens Educational Market. Please go their site and consider membership and research what they have to offer to you as an author/illustrator within the Children’s Market. This year the International Reading Association 56th Annual Convention will be in Orlando, Fl. from May 8-11th. Publishers represented include but are not limited to; Scholastic, Mcgraw Hill, Pearson and Simon and Schuster.
Visit their site for more information about the IRA in general.
Visit this site for more information regarding the convention.
Aja Wells‘ first Book Review is up for her newly published title, That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore: A Zombie Tale by Matt Mogk. The title is reviewed by Rondal Scott III.
Here’s an excerpt, “From author Matt Mogk and illustrator Aja Wells, That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore is a fun read that pokes fun at the horror genre’s most recognizable movie monster; the zombie. Deadpan as they may be, Mogk’s rhythmic pacing sets up a sort of twisted Dr. Suess-like narrative that is further brought to (un)life by Wells’ deceptively innocent illustrations.”
For the rest follow the link and be sure to click on the book cover to hop over to Amazon and pick up your own copy.
Children’s Book Week is the national celebration of books and reading for youth.
Since 1919, Children’s Book Week has been celebrated countrywide with author & illustrator appearances, parties, storytelling, and other book-related events in schools, libraries, bookstores, clubs — anywhere where kids and books connect.
Children’s Book Week is a truly national celebration, with events happening from coast to coast throughout the week. Please visit the website for more information on how you can participate.