Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my very first SCBWI Western Washington regional conference. It was a little overwhelming, but overall it was an amazing experience and I walked away feeling inspired and invigorated.
I met so many talented writers and illustrators, it was pretty humbling to be surrounded by such a fantastic group of people. I tend to be painfully shy and a little (a lot) awkward, so giant crowds of people I don’t know and am expected to mingle with tend to send me screaming for the hills – but the kidlit community is so supportive and welcoming, you can’t help but feel at home.
There was a fantastic lineup of talks and workshops, but the highlights (for me) were from Mac Barnett and Sophie Blackall.
Mac Barnett’s session on Picture Books was great – he is a master of the interaction between text and image on the page. His notes on color, composition and visual pacing were some of the best nuggets I took away from the weekend, which is pretty amazing considering Mac is not an illustrator.
I’m a huge fan of Sophie’s art so attending her art play workshop made me SQUEE. It was a lot of fun, involving speed sketches and drawing those awful things you hate to draw (like horses and cars and bikes and Decepticon-horse-bikes). I had a blast, and got to meet a bunch of talented local illustrators.
The biggest surprise was in the bookshop! Secret Garden Books stocked all of the titles that were written and/or illustrated by attendees (there were so many great books!).
I was a little bummed because NIGHT-NIGHT, FOREST FRIENDS doesn’t release until next month, so I knew it wouldn’t be available in the shop. BUT IT WAS THERE! Secret Garden Books must have done some magic to make it happen, but it was really cool to see my book for the first time (and totally unexpected! someone had to tell me it was there, and I kept telling them they must be mistaken!)
PSA: Don’t try to sign a shiny board book with a crappy pen unless you want to totally bungle up their book and feel really awful about it (sorry, S!)
Can’t wait for next year!