The Austin SCBWI "Follow Me" conference was a huge success! The mood was upbeat and enthusiastic. Check out Cynsations for a complete rundown.
For me, the best part of the conference was connecting with others who love children's literature as much as I do. I had a fantastic time, met some really nice folks, and heard some inspiring stories.
With the exception of some technical glitches — no one knew how to run the lights, not even the security guard — I was very happy with the outcome of my breakout session. I wasn't even nervous. Not even a little. Well, maybe a little, but just enough to keep me on my toes. I was only sorry that I had to miss the writer, editor, and agent workshops.
The conference opened with author Bruce Coville. There was a slight problem with sound (Where was Chris when we needed him), so I don't have any idea what he talked about, but it looked quite entertaining.
My licensing agent, Suzanne Cruise, was a big hit. She followed me and spoke to a captive audience with lots of questions. Suzanne is a fire ball. First and foremost, she's an illustrator herself. She's worked for Hallmark and various other greeting card companies. On the flip side, she's a shrewd business person, and I pity the fool who tries to cross or short change her. I'm so glad to have a licensing agent like that.
I also had the pleasure of critiquing the portfolios of three talented illustrators. I'm normally very hard on folks when it comes to art critiques. I mean, if your stuff isn't up to snuff, then you won't get work, plain and simple. Nice ain't gonna help you. But I went easy on em; these folks had their stuff together and are well on their way to publication.
After my presentation, I realized that I have a whole body of work that I haven't been sharing: my editorial newspaper illustrations. I try to keep the two separate as to avoid a conflict of interest at work, but conflict or not, I have 9 years of editorial illustration — some of which is my best work.
Last but not least, I purchased and had autographed a copy of SANTA KNOWS by Cynthia Leitich Smith and Greg Leitich Smith. Stayed up late last night reading it. Such a fun story! I especially enjoyed Alfie's technical savvy and references to the world wide web. Can't wait to share this with K.
I also purchased a copy of IMMEDIATE FICTION: A COMPLETE WRITING COURSE, which I'll jump into later this week after I finish LOCOMOTION.
Oh, and, great to see you Heather!