Wednesday, September 28

Hip Hip Hooray for SCBWI Conferences and Chocolate Covered Strawberries.

So happy day. A few weeks ago I went to a phenomenal conference and I discovered and rediscovered a few things about myself.

Firstly, I went to this conference mainly as an illustrator. Jim Hoover, Associate Art Director for Viking Books, did a fantastically amazing job, was so personable, and very very enlightening. This is the first time at a conference that I was able to participate in a month long Illustration intensive where we were periodically critiqued by Jim Hoover himself. Not only was he hilarious and incredibly entertaining, but he was super insightful in the most tactful way. I was expecting some harsh words about the things we had created, which honestly I don't mind. You are only as good as your worst piece after all. But every critique was chocolate covered. He was very insightful and specific, and yet so kind. It blew me away. But I still feel like I came away with some new insights on my creative process.

The pieces we were meant to create was the opening spread to a book. We were all critiqued openly and I have to say that I learned just as much from everybody else's critiques. The Midsouth SCBWI blog has a post with some of the other images from my talented illustrator friends. Aren't they neat? Yeah these ladies are my friends. Which let's face it, makes me a little cooler.

Anyhow. Here's my piece.
 I had fun doing it, even though in the midst of the the process I sliced and diced my thumb. (Boo to bean cans!) Unfortunately I still can't feel part of it... but I'm grateful that I haven't had to resign to painting with my toes.

Anyhow. Super inspiring and rejuvenating. And I have to say that I realized at this conference that I actually am a illustrator AND a writer. I have a gajillion ideas bouncing around in my head and I was intimidated that my strengths are more in illustrating and storytelling rather than in writing per se. But I was inspired by Linda Sue Park, Newbery Medal Winner for A Single Shard in 2002. Aside from being delightfully hilarious I was really struck by her motto of NOT believing in myself, but believing in my story.

I'm so excited to leave my piles of laundry and dirty dishes aside and to dive into all the projects I'm working on. Yay for inspiration. I highly recommend it.

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