Thursday, September 23, 2010

SCBWI-SWTX Editor's Day 2010

This past Saturday, September 18, SCBWI members were treated to talks by Sarah Shumway  of Harper-Collins and Julie Ham of Charlesbridge.
Carmen Tafolla gave the keynote.  All three were excellent.
Next time, I will share my notes on these sessions.
In the meantime, here are some links that did an excellent job of covering the day’s events.

Now, for a quick overview of the first  Illustrator Breakout Session.
Art Avila and Raining Popcorn Publishing
Art Avila -SCBWI-SWTX Editor's Day 2010

Art Avila of Raining Popcorn Publishing spoke informally about children’s publishing and answered questions about new media, children’s illustration opportunities, and what an Art Director looks for. Here are a few pointers:

-          Have an easily accessible online portfolio.

-          Take advantage of other types of opportunities within the children’s illustration industry because you never know where it might lead and experience is always good.

   -          Network and get involved in social organizations such as SCBWI.

-          Vector-based artwork (for example, line art) translates easily to media and flash – which is important for websites and interactive teaching tools, (especially those geared toward very young children.)
       A site teaching children about piggy banks and money.
      A site teaching children about energy.

-          Don’t be afraid to approach an Art Director. Find out what the submissions guidelines are, and do it respectfully. Send an e-mail with a link to your portfolio. Do not send an attachment.

Here are a few of the children's books published by Raining Popcorn.

The second Breakout Session was with Heather Powers, winner of the 2008 SCBWI Tomie dePaola Portfolio Award. Here is a quick overview of that session.
Heather Powers and “Creating an Award-Winning Portfolio.”
Heather Powers at SCBWI-SWTX Editor's Day

A few of Heather's tips include:

-An online portfolio is an absolute must.

-Your portfolio should be pure. For example, if you have realistic illustrations and more stylized illustrations, you might want to think about keeping them in two different portfolios. 

-Keep your website and portfolio easy to navigate.

-Showcase only your strongest work. Art directors will always remember your worst image.

-Showcase work that correlates to the work you want to do.

      -BE PROLIFIC. The best way to strengthen your portfolio is to work as hard and as much as you possibly can, replacing weaker images with strong ones.
Thank you so much for wonderful insights, Art and Heather!
ReTweet of the Day
How to Approach Art Directors without Being Annoying

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pictures from the SCBWI Conference in LA 2010

Here is a picture of me with world renowned children’s illustrator Richard Jesse Watson.
Yes, THE Richard Jesse Watson.
I really lucked out this year, because Richard critiqued my portfolio and helped me a lot. I will discuss more about his tips on illustration in a future post.

However, this is one of only four pictures I took during the entire SCBWI Conference.
Reason being, as I walked out the door to catch my plane from San Antonio to LA, suitcase in hand, journal and quill pen tucked safely in my pocket, my friends yelled at me.
“And don’t go taking any of those pictures where you run out behind famous people and pretend like you’re really good friends – LIKE YOU DID LAST YEAR!”

Which, ashamedly, I did.
Here’s a picture of me last year running out behind poor Henry Winkler (The Fonz) and Lin Oliver– and taking them both totally by surprise.
I want to start my blog by saying something about the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Summer Conference 2010 :
I could write a book about all of the things I learned in those four days. But, the number one overwhelming impression of the SCBWI Conference in LA this year was that THE TALENT IN THE CHILDREN’S BOOK INDUSTRY TODAY IS STAGGERING. I’m not just talking about the faculty and published authors and illustrators. Everybody, everybody was great. I can’t wait to see what happens next! I’m really proud to be a part of this industry.
I look forward to talking with you about many different aspects of the creative process. Got some great links for you. Catch you later.
 Carolyn Dee Flores