Saturday, August 31, 2013

September 2013 Desktop calendar

While September ushers in another school year and signals the end of another fun-filled summer, September 1st is also a day of celebration for the Del Rizzo family. It happens to be my third son's birthday. He'll be 8 years old tomorrow- Happy Bday Little Man! I can't believe how fast they grow up....
So this month's desktop calendar is dedicated to him. He has a huge fascination with the animal kingdom and  loves animal non-fiction books and TV shows like Nature and Wild Kratts. He wants to be a marine biologist when he grows up- LOVE IT!!
This is one of his favorite illustrations- it makes him giggle at the thought of a big camel nibbling his hair...what a sloppy kiss!
I hope you enjoy it.
To download, simply click on your screen resolution above, then right click and "save to desktop".

Friday, August 30, 2013

SCBWI LA Conference 2013

I have been meaning to post about my experience at my first SCBWI LA conference all month, but between a tight deadline with very cool steampunk novel cover project(which I will share in a post soon) and squeezing in some summertime fun with the kiddos before the summer comes to an end, the poor blog had to come a distant third on my priority list. Now that the final art is in, we have all our back-to-school shopping complete and sneaked in a few family fun-day treks, I am finally able to post  few pictures and some take-away moments.
Overall I felt my first SCBWI LA conference was a very positive experience. But I must say I was blown away by the sheer size of the event. It was enormous! Just look...this is a snapshot of about 1/3 of the grand ballroom where all of the keynotes took place- humongous!

And being my shy self, it took me a few stomach churning moments every morning to thrust myself back in there. But I am proud to say that I pushed myself to talk to my neighbors and not keep my head down. I was so pleased to met up with new friends that I had met over the years via Twitter- that was indeed a highlight.

Priscilla Mizell, Alvina Kwong, and me

I also met most of the Simply Messing About Blog and a bunch of the #kidlitart Tweet chat crew in person finally- Tracy Bishop, Laura Zarrin, Christina Forshay, Diandra Mae, Jannie Ho( who was also on the faculty this year)... gosh, I'm sure I must be missing a few. It was so hectic I am embarrassed to say I barely took any pics. 

A major highlight for me was attending David Wieser's keynote and breakout sessions. I have been a huge fan for years, and it was a thrill to hear him speak about his craft and share his process, from idea generation to thumbnails, all the way to finished art. It was reassuring to hear that even he takes a long time(often years) to "get it right", for the story to come together. He reminded us all to " follow the story" and let it take you where it needs to go. Love it! He even shared his newest book, Mr.Wuffles, due out this Fall! 

I brought some of Skink on the Brink to sell at the PAL book sale. I sold a few, which was indeed a nice surprise, and met some other authors and illustrators at the book sale. :) As an interesting aside... apparently nobody has heard of plasticine in the US. So, until I started saying " modelling clay" I got a look of confused looks. Huh? Who knew...

I participated in the portfolio showcase as well. The caliber of art was just incredible.  I also attended some great breakout sessions with US art directors, like Laurent Linn, and Giuseppe Castellano.  And it was very cool to see Laurent discuss our friend, Debbie Ohi's fun book I'm Bored. Yay, Debbie! I just happened to be sitting beside her at this breakout session when this image came up-*quiet squeals of delight* came from our general direction, LOL.

Laurent Linn

The only drawback I found with attending SCBWI LA was that, due to the large volume of attendees, I found it very hard to find a moment to approach an AD, to give them my business card/postcard, or have any sort of chat. I didn't want to be one of those people who swarmed the speaker after their talk, or jumped into an elevator convo- that just isn't my style. So I think for me anyway,  I will aim to attend a smaller conference next year, where there may be a better chance to make more connections. 
Speaking of conferences, the SCBWI CanEast Montreal Conference( Oct. 4-6th) is coming up. I reeeeeally wish I could attend this year because the line-up and illustrator stream looks fantastic. To find our more about it, check out all the SCBWICanEast "The Art of Story" conference details

Stay tuned, tomorrow I will be posting my  Sept. 2013 desktop calendar. :) 


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