Don't worry, blog. You're not alone. You are not the only thing in my life that I have completely ignored for the last several months. I've neglected house, yard, laundry, inbox messages, and husband. I've avoided friends and abandoned the gym.
And for what reason? The SCBWI Conference. (That stands for Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, btw).
You know I'm a sucker for packaging and when the bright, colorful slick brochure with a rocket on front arrived in the mail I knew I had to go. The names of the presenters jumped off the page at me for further enticement. David Weisner? Kadir Nelson? Two of the most skilled (and awarded) illustrators in children's books. . . Richard Peck? I loved the Soup books growing up. I HAD to go.
But, I decided early on, I wasn't just going to GO, I had to go full steam ahead. If I was going to network, I needed new business cards. If those business cards were going to be useful, I needed a website. If the website were to be applicable, my portfolio needed to be updated. Oh, and if I was going to meet helpful, knowledgable people, I might as well get their opinions and feedback on my story idea so had to flesh that out a little and work up a book dummy.
Since June, every single minute Lucy is napping or sleeping, I have been working away. Drawing, painting, designing, sketching, writing, and learning. I usually turn off the computer and hit the pillow after Jimmy Fallon, but sometimes its later.
Enough setup, the conference was fantastic. The keynote addresses were inspiring. The workshops informative. The attendees friendly. Since we were in LA, Mike and Lucy played at the beach and at the pool and went on cupcake runs while I had as much fun listening and learning from the stars of the children's book business.
The most exciting part: there was a juried Portfolio Showcase and I was named a recipient of the SCBWI Ilustrator's Committee Mentorship Program! They announced my name at the Golden Kite Award luncheon, in front of almost a thousand people. I was thrilled. And even more thrilled when I was able to sit down with each of four mentors one-on-one and get direct feedback and comments on my portfolio. Amazing, and they really had some specific suggestions and fantastic guidance for me.
Thank you, thank you! And I have to name these amazing Mentors and Judges so you'll know why this is such a big deal to me:
- Priscilla Burris: National Illustrator Coordinator for the SCBWI, Illustrator, Designer, Author
- Arthur A. Levine: Editor, Vice President at Scholastic and publisher of his own imprint, Arthur A. Levine Books
- Cecilia Yung: Art Director and Vice President at Penguin Young Readers Group, where she oversees illustration and design for hardcover titles for two imprints: G. P. Putnam's Sons and Philomel Books.
- David Diaz: multiple-award winning illustrator (including the Caldecott!)
If you want to more about the conference, check out the blog recorded live from the conference.
Congratulations to the Grand Prize winner and Honor winners as well, their work is beautiful.
And, if you want to see my new website, go to juliannlaw.com