And I can't not say anything about the wonderful RMC-SCBWI Conference I attended last month. It was wonderful! Here are some highlights:
- I got to meet and learn from kind, thoughtful, and inspiring editors (and since my focus is currently picture books, they are the ones I remember - though there were other publishing houses for other genres) from Little, Brown (Andrea Spooner), Schwartz & Wade (Stephanie Pitts), and Paula Wiseman (Sylvie Frank), along with agents (like Minju Chang from Bookstop Literary), and the SCBWI founders (Steven Mooser and Lin Oliver) - who are as genuine and giving as I ever would have hoped for.
- The panel of the above (and other) professionals was encouraging, thought-provoking, and most helpful. I felt like they all were glad to be there (I haven't always felt this way) to share their knowledge so we, in turn, can perfect our craft to make books that make a difference in the world.
- I won the illustration calendar contest! All who chose to participate submitted a piece that was displayed for all conference attendees to vote on. The top twelve are compiled into a calendar sent to all conference faculty, and the top winner gets next year's conference paid for and their artwork displayed on the RMC chapter's webpage. I wasn't expecting to win, but thanks to my wonderful critique group partner, Sadee, for helping choose which illustration I displayed, I won grand prize.
- I had amazing critiques by Andrea Spooner and Minju Chang. Minju provided really good insight and direction into a picture book I've written and illustrated. Andrea was thorough, perceptive, and encouraging as she critiqued my portfolio. Of course it helped that she felt it was one of the top portfolios at the conference. She pointed out that I could show more color versatility and humor - which, now that it's been pointed out, kind of sticks out like something sore.
- For the first time at this conference, we had a juried portfolio review. And from what the RMC Illustrator Coordinator, Karen Windness, said, they all were very thoughtful (that was a theme!) and thorough as they looked through every portfolio. I didn't win, but from things editors and others said after the review, my artwork was looked upon favorably.
My last bit of news is that I've agreed to illustrate a Bible study curriculum for Shine Curriculum this winter. Which means that my career is starting to move along, I guess. Which further means that it's high time for me to roll up my sleeves and get back to the long list of things to do-besides-this-blog-post!