Tuesday, July 27, 2010

DAY 2 - My First SCBWI-Carolinas Conference

Starting the day...

General Session - presented by Liz Waniewski, an editor from Dial Books for young readers, an imprint of Penguin Young readers group.

This session was more for writers. I learned about the 13 imprints that are part of the publisher, Penguin. Another thing I learned was about all the picture books that were not of interest to them at this time. I suspect that is probably the case with other publishers too. They were:

- Bed time
- Monsters behaving like adults
- Cats & kitties
- Going green
- I love you books
- Visiting grandma
- Boredom
- First day at school
- Bird learning to fly
- Holiday stories are also tough because of the short period of time to sell these books.

First Impressions - with Laurent Linn...

This workshop was pretty cool. People were asked to submit illustrations and Laurent Linn, the art director, critiqued them. No illustrator name was mentioned. The art director did not know who submitted the work.

I did not submit anything for this workshop, I had run out of illustrations to show but I was glad to see the wonderful works of other illustrators. The critiques were fabulous and full of tips.

At the end of the workshop, he reminded us that sending postcards to promote ourselves was the way to go. He also said that just because we don't get responses, it doesn't mean that people are not paying attention. He added that we should try to send new work out every 3 to 4 months.

Another thing that caught my attention is when he mentioned that most of the picture books his group did used traditional art. Looks like that is what they are getting more of? I am not sure.

Conversations - From submission to marketplace...

This was another workshop geared towards writers but I attended because I think it is important to understand a little bit about what writers do. After all, we have to illustrate their stories.

It was a really enlightening experience. I really got to understand the process that writers go through to get their stories published.

The speakers were editor, Liz Waniewski and author, Alan Gratz. They took us through the process that Alan's new book, fantasy baseball, went through to get published.

It was an eye opening experience to see the extensive amounts of editing the book went through. Alan wanted to use an extensive long list of well known characters on his book (characters from classics like the Wizard of Oz). Not all of these characters were in the public domain so he had problems with that. Legally, that caused him to rewrite certain sections of the book and for others, he had to ask permission from the creators of the characters. Some granted permission while others didn't. I certainly admire Alan's dedication redoing the manuscript so many, many times. He showed that when you have passion and believe in what you are doing, you can make things happen.

After looking at the ratio of writers versus illustrators out there, I have to wonder how writers do it. There is such a large number of writers out there that competition is really fierce.

From this workshop, the part that really touched me was when author, Alan Gratz, told as a story about his daughter. She came home one day all upset because other children at school were laughing at her. They were laughing because she had told them that she believed in fairies. Alan later found, in his backyard, a little house build in the woods, by his daughter, for her fairies. It was then when he got to see how deeply children believe. Ever since, the fairy house has improved. Take a look at all the additional work that has been done to it since: http://bit.ly/cj0FL8

I thought that was the sweetest story.

General Session...
Visual storytelling with pictures and words - by Laurent Linn

This event was a lot of fun. We had Laurent Linn show us illustrations from different, well-known, illustrators and painters. He talked about the principles of storytelling and emotional connection for each one of the illustrations he showed. He helped us see the difference between a beautiful art piece and a piece that told a story. A lot of things to learn from this session.

He also told us how he wouldn't hire Rembrandt to illustrate a children's book because children books' illustrations must tell a story. I thought that was funny.

Inventing Story - Cocktail party...

After all the workshops, we had a wonderful cocktail party with great h'orderves. Here is where I got to finally talk to more illustrators and writers. Our portfolios were also on display for everyone to see. I had an additional illustration displayed at the SCBWI table because of my contributions to their 'Pen & Palette' publication.

This was yet another great day at the SCBWI-Carolinas conference. What a treat!

I will be publishing the last day at the conference soon..so continue to stay tune if you want to hear more.


  1. Isn't there a song, More, More, More!!

  2. One more day left to post. Somewhat short but it features a really cool illustrator and her website and we got to see her story on the ipad.

  3. Great posts. I've never been to a conference myself so great reading about it. I also really enjoyed how you included your portfolio pieces and what he said about them, I learned a few things there, thanks, it was enjoyable to read and informative.

  4. You are welcome, Missy. I am glad you got something out of it.