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!
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.
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. :)