Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thank you!

Thank you to SCBWI Midsouth RA, Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, the conference committee – Genetta Adair, Sharon Cameron, Susan Eaddy, and Courtney Stevens – and all of the Midsouth volunteers for your hard work to make this year’s conference a success.

Book Drive

This year’s conference book drive benefited Book ‘Em. This organization provides tens of thousands of books to needy children in Nashville every year. Thank you to everyone who donated books and a special thank you to David Arnold for coordinating the book drive.

Cheryl Zach Scholarship Winner

SCBWI Midsouth RA, Kristin O'Donnell Tubb with Judy Rawles

Congratulations to Judy Rawles, winner of this year’s Cheryl Zach Scholarship, a conference scholarship in honor of SCBWI Midsouth's founder, Cheryl Zach.

More Photos from the Conference

Monday, September 23, 2013

Photos from the conference

Everything I needed to know I learned at the Midsouth Fall Conference.

I must say that there were so many things to be gleaned from this conference. I am inspired, enlightened, recharged, and now I have a to-do list that's a mile high.

Here's a few things I learned or relearned at this particular conference (brace yourself):

1. Every page in your dummy picture book needs to have an action in it, whether it's subtle or dramatic.

-Loraine Joyner (Senior Art Director at Peachtree Publishers) 

2. "Never give up. You'll come across something that only you can write."

-Jay Asher (Author of Thirteen Reasons Why)

3. A distinct, authentic, relatable voice is probably the most important element to writing a good children's picture book.

-Lisa Cheng (Editor for Running Press Kids)

4. “This is not the music business, there are not high stakes, we don’t make that much money, and someone already has your idea."

-Micheal Bourett (Agent of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management) in response to a question from the audience asking if we need to worry about others stealing our ideas or stories.

5. “I’ve had your postcard on my bulleton for 1.5 years and have been waiting to hire you."

-An Art Director told Ms. Susan Eaddy (freelance illustrator)

6. It takes chocolate, fastfood, vodka, friends, and an unwanted dog.

-Answers from the artist/writer panelists to the question, "How do you buoy yourself when you are at the bottom of the cycle of despair?"

7. Orient all the pictures in your portfolio the same way.

-Bonnie Bader (Editor & Chief at Grosset & Dunlap) and Loraine Joyner (Senior Art Director At Peachtree Publishers)

8. A wrong agent is worse than no agent.

-Micheal Bourett (Agent of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management)

9. "Please do not info dump."

-Lisa Cheng (Editor for Running Press Kids) on telling your audience too much when introducing a new character.

10. Be consistent  when you send out your mailers.

-Loraine Joyner (Senior Art Director At Peachtree Publishers) & Lisa Cheng (Editor for Running Press Kids)

11. Read, read , read.

-Jordan Brown (Editor at Walden Pond Press and Balzer + Bray) on what you can do to advance your career

Phew… are you still with me? Well, imagine all that good advice x20. After the conference was over, my head was buzzing about things I needed to do, how to better my craft, which houses better fit my style, and as always I felt the loving support that always happens through my connections at these conferences.

Can't wait to see you all next year. :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Illustrator's Intensive - Intensely Amazing

Illustration intensives are relatively newish and I am so grateful. The purpose of the intensive is to bring you back to art school (only the knowledgeable professor is replaced with a savvy and important art director).

We were privileged to have the fabulous Ms. Loraine Joyner, a Senior Art Director from Peachtree Publishers. We picked from three delightful stories (that are either published or almost published from Peachtree), and these were the spreads we came up with to illustrate a portion of the text for the story.

We were lucky that Ms. Joyner was articulate, critical, while being very nurturing when giving her critiques. And I have to say that the Midsouth needs to pat itself on the back again because we were told by Ms. Joyner that the Midsouth has "…an amazing level of talent."

And here's proof:

Heather Dent
Illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
Illustrated by Susan Eaddy

Illustrated by Meridth Gimbel
Illustrated by Kathryn Gogliotti

Illustrated by Cheryl Mendenhall
Illustrated by Maureen O'Brian 
Illustrated by Kris Sexton
Illustrated by Danaye Shiplette
Illustrated by Mary Uhles