Sunday, October 22, 2006

A successful fall conference

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!


Camille said...

The inability to turn down the lights is a chronic problem at conferences. I do not understand why it is so hard. It almost took an act of congress to turn off the lights for Denise Fleming's presentation at TLA this past spring. Bizarre.

heather said...

good to see you too Don. I enjoyed your talk and seeing your artwork. keep moving foward!