In early August I attended my first SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) conference. It took place in Century City, CA at the Century Plaza Hotel - about 35 minutes from where I live.From Friday through Sunday I was privy to watching successful children's book writers and illustrators speak to an audience of over 1,000, followed by "classrooms" of a vast variety of workshops headed by key people in the industry. It was FANTASTIC, to say the least!! I came back each night - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, pumped up from all that I'd learned. A big part of this was their Portfolio Showcase, for which I had prepared my own portfolio and book dummy. The Showcase was held in a room filled with long tables holding the portfolios, dummies, and stacks of business cards of each participant, meticulously organized in alphabetical order by the committee. The purpose of the exhibit was to have the work of illustrators and illustrator/writers seen by editors, art directors, etc. from various children's book publishing houses - and by their peers. All I can say is there was beautiful work everywhere!!!
When it was over I felt motivated to come up with new characters showing a grateful group of children (background excluded) excited by this mind boggling conference, and as I created each one I felt the joy all over again of that very special experience.