Wednesday, August 5

What the what now?! I just won the SCBWI Los Angeles Portfolio Mentorship!!

Oh my goodness oh my goodness! I cannot believe that I am a mentee! For those of you who aren't sure exactly what this means (this includes you, Great Auntie Alma) I thought I'd share specifically how neat this is. (Pssst. It's pretty neat!)

So I went to the annual SCBWI LA conference. This is where over 1200 children's writers, illustrators, publishers, editors, agents, art directors meet. There were inspiring keynote speakers talking about the craft of writing/illustrating books, what goes on in the industry... but more on that in another post.

I submitted my portfolio to the annual portfolio showcase. I remember just before entering the showcase I saw the editors, agents, and art directors looking around at the portfolios on the patio. It was pretty intimidating. Somebody turned to me and told me they were nervous about the competition. I told them that I wasn't. I wasn't going to win. Last year there were two Disney concept artists at the showcase, whose work was salivatingly beautiful, and they didn't win. There were too many talented people this year to even think I would be in the running. So I was in complete shock when they called my name. To be honest, I'm still pretty shocked.

Lots and lots of portfolios - Photo taken by Laurent Linn

I believe there were around 175 brilliant portfolios submitted and I was one of the six hand selected as an "up and coming artist whose publishable work shows great promise and potential"  for the Mentorship program. Totally bonkers.

All the tiny people - Photo taken by Candace Camling

Here are my fellow Mentees and their websites. (Prepare to salivate.)

K-Fai Steel, Molly Ruttan, Nicholas Huong, Anne Berry, Me, & Kisoo Chai

(She also won an Honor Award for her Porfolio.)

The the best part of the award is that we got to be mentored by these industry giants:

Brenda Bowen - Agent at Sanford J. Greenburger Inc. She represents a lot of movers and shakers in the publishing world including Rosemary Wells and Hilary Knight.

Peter Brown - Author & Illustrator of 7 books that are loaded with awards including the Caldecott Honor he got for his illustrations for Creepy Carrots, written by Aaron Reynolds.

Priscilla Burris - Author/Illustrator of some really sweet children's books she also is the National SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator.

Pat Cummings - Author/Illustrator of over 30 books that are smattered with a variety of awards. She is a professor at Parsons and Pratt and has so much insight in the craft and process of creating children's books.

Laurent Linn - Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. He started his career as a puppet designer/builder (pretty cool huh?!) and became the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets winning an Emmy Award.

Paul O. Zelinsky - Author/Illustrator creating over 30 books, winning many awards including a Caldecott for his Rapunzel book, and has also received 3 Caldecott Honors.

So we had the privilege of being critiqued and to received personal career advice individually and as a group by our 6 mentors.  I basically wrote a novel of notes and have a big fat "To Do" list. I feel super blessed to have received such a wonderful opportunity. There have been several Mentees, from the past, that had careers launched from this award. So hopefully I can capitolize on the momentum of this. I feel like my compass is now pointing to true north, thanks to this lovely experience. 

Kisoo Chai, Nicholas Huong, Me, Molly Ruttan, Anne Berry, Priscilla Burris, Laurent Linn, K-Fai Steele, Pat Cummings, & Paul O. Zelinsky. (Peter Brown and Brenda Bowen were signing books.)

...and there was much rejoicing!

Yes that is Peter Brown right behind me (!!!!)


Mike and Tia Fam said...

Whaaat?!? This is so cool! I saw your IG post but I didn't really understand what the award was. Thanks for explaining it here. This is so incredible :D CONGRATULATIONS! What an amazingly wonderful experience. I'm so excited for you! Yippee, yippee yippee!

Meridth Gimbel said...

Thanks cuz!! I'm pretty excited!! :)

Rebecca Mudd said...

Sooooooo happy for you. You will always have a fan here! Can't wait to purchase your first book ;)

Meridth Gimbel said...

You are the sweetest Rebecca. Thanks!

Mary Uhles said...

you are awesome. I love this collection of work, you guys all kind of compliment each other.

Meridth Gimbel said...

Thanks friend! And I do love that it's a variety of styles. I'm definitely a fan of theirs.

Dow said...

Meredith, hope you are doing great! Just happened to visit your blog! :) Your work is gorgeous. - Dow

Meridth Gimbel said...

Thanks Dow! I am doing well. (Busy and sleepy... but well :) And thanks for the compliment. It means a lot. Especially coming from a talented artist such as yourself. :)