Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Inspiration from SCBWI 2012 conference

I am just beginning to recover from the crazy (as in an exceptional kind of crazy) 4 days of the SCBWI 2012 summer conference.  There is just so much to report, which will be done, but not all at once.  I'm still processing it all.  This was my second year attending this spectacular conference.  Last year, I was completely new to this world and didn't know anyone.  I had to jump in and make friends.  This year was different.  This year,  there were many faces I recognized and knew from my region's writer's and illustrator schmoozes.  But more on this feeling later.

I began looking through my many notes and decided to look for the inspirational quotes I wrote down.  They stay with me all year long.  Here is my recap from authors, illustrators, author/illlustrators, agents, editors, and art directors:

Tony DiTerlizzi  "looking backwards to go forwards"

E.B. Lewis  "If you don't have the love of what you are doing, then you don't belong here."

Patricia MacLachlan "Children learn to speak to tell us the stories that are already in their head."

Bryan Collier "Artists, the whole world has been waiting for you to dream."  (This was my absolute favorite quote!  He spoke with such passion about artists and the "seed" of creativity inside all of us.)

Karen Cushman "To attain your hearts desire you have to help someone else."

Clare Vanderpool quoted an Siberian Elder "If you don't know the trees, you'll be lost in the forest, but if you don't know the stories, you may be lost in life."

Jon Klassen "You can't worry about the stuff you can't control.  You have to keep working and creating."

Ruta Sepetys: "You can't break the broken, but it's when you glue the pieces together you become stronger."

Antoinette Portis "Tell kids the truth."

Gary Schmidt "Write stories to give the reader more to be a human being with."

I noticed a commonality amongst all of the speakers.  It seemed as though the following phrases were heard in every keynote speech and breakout rooms.

1. Be open to surprise
2. Tell the truth
3. Create what the child version of yourself has always wanted

These things might seem like common sense, but in a conversation with a few of my fellow illustrators, we discussed how you hear the same things at every conference, but depending on where you are on your journey some words resonate with you.  We hear what we need to hear.  Sometimes we need reaffirmation of our path.  Sometimes we need guidance on a new direction.  Sometimes we need encouragement.  We all leave with something different.

What did I leave with?

-A stronger sense of community and a new friend, Laura Hoffman.  We had met at a variety of illustrator schmoozes, but we never really knew each other.  We were roommates for the conference and became good friends.  She introduced me to people, and I connected all of her social media.  She is extremely talented!  Check out her blog at http://www.laurahoffmanart.blogspot.com/.

-More confidence in my illustrations.  People had such wonderful reactions to my postcards and business cards.  I'm exactly sure how I thought they would react, but it was always fun to see them smile.

-A better understanding of how to write.  I have been struggling with my original Mizzle story.  I have been over thinking and over writing.  It was helpful listening to all of the author/illustrators, but Antoinette Portis seemed to help me the most.  At one talk, she said: "If it can go into the picture, then it has to go." At the illustrator intensive she told us: "Take out all of the words that are already in the picture and say the words that need to be said."

But before I end my post for today, I thought I'd end with my doodles and drawings from the conference.  There were more as the day came to an end. Here they are! :)

I was exhausted the last day of the conference and could not stop thinking about being home in bed :)

more sleeping

I'm not sure where she came from, but I find her adorable.


  1. Thanks for the recap! Even though I couldn't go, it's nice to feel like I was there in a way. I sense a story in the making in your last doodle.

  2. Nadia!! Well said. I am honored you mentioned me. Thank you for being the best roomie possible!! It was a blast to share the SCBWI experience with you. You also taught me so much - that spirit of community is alive and well with illustrators, it's a beautiful thing. Thank you. You rock, and so do your Doinkles.