SCBWI: Conference Recap & Final "Jack" Drawings

As I arrived home late Sunday night, I knew this post would not be coming out till Tuesday :)  Yesterday was a restful, rejuvenating, clean the house and hang with hubby kind of day!  In this email, I hope to give you a little summary of the SCBWI Western Washington conference highlights.... from what I learned and maybe a little something that is new for you as well.  


I participated in a 6 hour intensive with Author/Illustrator and three time Caldecott Winner, David Wiesner.  (The Caldecott Medal is the highest Children's Book Illustration award). You can view his work HERE.  Great stuff!!!  In the intensive, we were to bring a sketch, create a clay model, and redraw it.  Below you can see my clay model of a rooster.  It was a great experience and practice on pushing the "process" of the artwork.  So often, I can get wrapped up in the final artwork, but here, he helps us see the NEED to push through pages and pages of sketches.... getting it all out on paper first!!!


After Friday night of meeting fellow artists and other professionals, I spent all of Saturday being FILLED with information, inspiration and encouragement as well as the reality that being an author/illustrator is HARD work.  It's something I've always heard and have experienced.... but to be reminded again helps one look at your life/work and really question is this is the path for you. For me... it is!   Here are some highlights from the keynotes and breakouts.

1.  Keynote 1: David Wiesner: 

"Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just get to work..... All the best ideas come out of the process... dreaming big will get you nowhere, drawing and sketches will."

2.  Breakout session 1: Kristen Nobles/Art Director at Candlewick Press:

This session was packed with great info for illustrators.  Although I will not list all the steps/characteristics they are looking for, I will mention two.  #1 Perspective:  As I look at my own work, I notice there is not a lot of perspective from different angles.  (a bird's eye or ant's eye perspective.)  It's amazing to see how much drama and emotion can be added with just changing this.  #2 Unique Style:  Everyone has a unique way of looking at things, and I liked how she brought out the need for the illustrator to draw and show his/her passion and interests.  This really helped me to step back and see what I'm really passionate about and what do I want to say.

3.  Keynote 2: Nina Laden:  It's all about LETTING GO! 

4. Keynote 3: Sharon Flake: 

* The rejection letter may come to teach you something. *Draw a character never seen before *Don't let the bullies win *Take risks... and the road less traveled *Don't follow trends, make them

Overall, the main message I received was,



In the morning, i had 2 rounds of portfolio reviews with an Editor and an Agent.  There were 6-7 other participants so it was wonderful getting to hear not just the feedback on my work, but on everyone's work.  I learned a LOT. Sunday afternoon was another intensive by Kristen Nobles, on Jack be Nimble.  We were able to look at everyone's work and see how they interpreted their version of Jack.  It was a GREAT last workshop before heading home.  

For all those interested in writing or illustration for children, I suggest attending one of these conferences at some point.  You learn SO much and are able to meet other artists and professionals in the field, to be encouraged, taught, and inspired to KEEP MOVING FORWARD and push yourself to BE BETTER!!


Jack be Nimble

Jack be Quick

Jack Jump over the Candlestick