The SCBWI holds a conference for children's illustrators every spring, organized by Frieda Gates, president of the New York Chapter and wonderful lady. Too bad these conferences don't happen more often. Anyone who knows about freelancing can attest to the need to get out, talk to peers, and fill up on some creative juice before heading back to the board. It goes something like this: we drop off our portfolios for review by about 30 editors, art directors and agents. While the reviews are going on, we sit through a few panel discussions about the children's publishing business.
This year, the speakers were writer/illustrator Emily Arnold McCully, a literary agent (Andrea Cascardi), an art agent (Lori Nowicki), and a couple panels about the graphic novel. My other half, Dennis, was one of those experts:-) I might be partial, but it was clear from everyone else's reaction that he was largely entertaining and informative (as indicated by the many laughs and rigorous note taking). The two people sitting next to me were trying to figure out who he looked like--I heard Keanu Reeves and the guy from 30 Something...hee hee...old reference!
Writer/illustrator Emily McCully was very inspiring. She talked about intelligent writing for children and her disciplined approach to illustration. She said she draws her ideas largely from history, creating fictional characters around specific historical events or people. The result is timeless and fresh. Her characters are usually strong, female personalities that grow and learn through certain conflict. Her pictures are lovely and tell alot about the characters in their visual cues. I really enjoyed her lecture.
A couple of my old friends attended which made the conference that much more enjoyable. Could've done without my nasty headache. Nevertheless, it was a good time. Afterwards, Dennis and I had dinner with my friend Tatyana and two illustrators who were new to New York. Got home around 9:30pm to a mess of a house after a hectic weekend. And today, my desk is left completely cluttered. In the pic, you'll see a clear, acrylic pen holder half-filled with promotional buttons--totally useless objects that look like candy, so they're completely irresistable! Got a lot of nice comments about them.
Now it's back to the board -- refreshed and inspired.