This past weekend was the Western Pennsylvania SCBWI conference. It was a really nice weekend and I got to spend time with friends and make new ones!
Friday night I attended an illustrator intensive that was all about illustrating book covers. Maria Middleton led the workshop and it was a good exercise in not over thinking your drawing, and finding the joy in creating that I felt as a kid. Instead of focusing on what wasn’t working, the general attitude of the evening was “What if we did THIS?!” Exploration instead of criticism.
Conference day, there were four workshop sessions and attendees had several options for each session, giving the conference a “Choose Your Own Adventure” feel. We had a really nice group of guest faculty for the conference:
- Kelly Delaney , Assistant Editor at Alfred. A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
- Susan Hawk, Agent at The Bent Agency
- Deirdre Jones, Associate Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Maria Middleton, Associate Art Director at Abrams Kids
- Rotem Moscovich, Senior Editor at Disney-Hyperion
- Ammi-Joan Paquette, Senior Agent at Erin Murphy Literary
- Alexandra Penfold, Agent at Upstart Crow Literary
- Ariel Richardson, Associate Editor at Chronicle Books
At lunchtime, winners for the bookmark challenge were announced. Pat Lewis and I won! Here is my bookmark design. You’ve seen it :) It’s also now my website header!
I can’t go into too many details about the sessions I attended because the presenters worked really hard to develop them, and I can’t steal their work and give it away. Some of the sessions I attended were about what an agent does, the process of a book dummy becoming a published book, and embracing creative ideas for a book. I can tell you that if you want to learn more about the ins and outs of children’s book publishing and getting to know some great people, attending a conference is a great idea. If you are looking for work, this isn’t that sort of event. Sometimes people can get work from conferences, but it’s very rare.
If you are thinking about attending a conference, I have some points of etiquette to share:
- Don’t try to start a lengthy conversation with someone who is walking into the restroom.
- Do introduce yourself before and after the workshop/presentations to the presenter.
- Don’t interrupt someone constantly. Everyone accidentally does this, especially when nervous, but there’s a difference between once or twice and never letting the person finish a sentence.
- Do ask questions that are relevant to the presentation.
- Don’t play games on your phone or laptop while someone is presenting. If you are that bored, then politely excuse yourself and leave the session.
- Do turn your ringer off on your cell phone while at the conference. You can leave it on vibrate if you are expecting an important call.
Thanks for reading! Next week, I’ll share some peeks at my picture book dummy in progress, and some sketches too. :) Have a great week!