This past weekend I attended the SCBWI (Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators) New York 2015 conference. It was a great experience and I want to share some highlights.
My portfolio, postcards, and notebook ready for the conference!
My name tag. I added my Twitter picture and name to help people recognize me.
Let's get this conference started!
I started my conference with the optional Illustrator Intensive on Friday. It was an informative day filled with lectures, an in-class assignment, panels with publishers and editors, and meeting other fellow illustrators. This also was when illustrators dropped off portfolios for the SCBWI Portfolio Award. Art directors, agents, and publishers to looked at our work too.
At the end of the Illustrator Intensive there was a raffle and I won 'Louise Loves Art' by Kelly Light. I had been wanting this book for a while. I tweeted the author/illustrator that I won and she happened to be in the hotel. We met up and she signed my book. I couldn't be happier!
The industry portfolio review ended Friday evening.
Most people stayed around to look at other portfolios before leaving with their work.
It was so great to see such a wide range of techniques and incredible talent.
My awesome SCBWI folder. It had important handouts and my schedule.
Saturday the conference really began. It was a mixture of inspiring lectures from authors and illustrators, panels with agents, publishers and editors, workshops, and more!
Some of the topics of the workshops I went to were "Creating Picture Book Art" and "Developing Your Illustration Style and Career Path."I took many notes and learned much that will help me.
I also met some wonderful writers and illustrators. There was an informal art browse where illustrators could show their portfolio again. The evening ended with a social that included a mashed potato bar in martini glasses with various toppings!
The above photo shows the largest conference room with 1200 attendees listening to one of the lectures.
Sunday started with the announcement of awards.
I'm so happy that my talented friend Mika Song won the SCBWI Portfolio Award!
Check out her wonderful website here.
Sunday also included more panels, lectures, and keynotes. The final keynote was from Kwame Alexander who had just won the Newbery Award. His speech and all the others were incredible and were each so unique!
At the conference there was a bookstore where books from presenting authors and illustrators could be bought. There was an autograph party as well, where these books could be signed.
My postcard collection from the various illustrators! Such talent!
The overall conference was great and I left feeling very inspired! I'm so happy to have connected with so many other writers and illustrators and have the opportunity to show my work. I also learned much from the various events.
Top Takeaways and Tips:
- If you can afford it and have the time take the Illustrator Intensive. It's a great way to hone your skills and get your work in front of so many people in the industry (through the Friday portfolio review).
- Talk to the people next to you while waiting for a lecture to start. It's a good way to connect with people and make new friends.
- Ask questions during the workshops. It is helpful to think of with questions before the workshop starts too.
- Have a business card or postcard ready to share. Also make sure you order and carry enough! I ran out of postcards during the Saturday art browse.
- Dress in layers! The hallways were really warm, but the conference rooms were very cold.
- If you are participating in the Saturday art browse stand next to your portfolio. People love talking to the artist and you never know who you'll meet.
- There is a food court in Grand Central and you don't even have to leave the building. It's great for those cold New York City days! They also have a great variety of options.
- Bring cash to buy books. The bookstore offered a discount if you bought your items with cash instead of a credit card.
- Connect and use social media. I met some of my social media friends in real life and people recognized me and my work from Tweeting, Instagramming, etc...
SCBWI did a great job of putting together a streamlined and informative conference. Bravo!
A more detailed list of events, workshops, panels, photos, and more can be found on the Official SCBWI Conference Blog.
I hope I can go to more SCBWI conferences in the future. I really enjoyed the New Jersey conference last June. Maybe I'll try the Los Angeles conference?
Did you attend the conference? What was your favorite part?