At the start of 2015, I decided to focus on one of my longtime goals: publishing a picture book and creating illustrations for the children's picture book market.
I had already joined the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), but had not yet attended a conference. I chose to start with the Spring Conference in Houston.
In the months leading up to the conference, I prepared my portfolio and polished up my picture book manuscript. I created a book dummy and relished the illustration homework.
I was nervous and excited when the conference began, but I soon realized that I fit right in. Children's authors and illustrators are a wonderful group. I made friends easily and enjoyed hearing about everyone's manuscripts and projects. It was wonderful to review fellow illustrators' portfolios and collect their business cards and postcards.
The speakers offered great advice and wonderful stories about their own careers. One of my favorites was Kelly Light, who's book "Louise Loves Art" had recently been published. Her enthusiasm was infectious. After hearing the story of her success, I was ready to get to work!
My portfolio was very well received by my reviewer, Isabel Warren-Lynch. I walked away with some new ideas and a fresh boost of confidence.
My manuscript review also went well. John Cusick had many great ideas and constructive feedback. I couldn't wait to get to work polishing my manuscript.
I attended the first illustration class, ready to learn! "The Sequential Narrative" taught by Isabel Warren-Lynch with special guest, illustrator Patrice Barton, was very informative. I learned about pacing, points of view and other juicy tidbits. My homework, an eight panel wordless illustrated story, was a hit!