NESCBWI 2013 Conference Recap

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You've just returned from a 3 day Children's Writers and Illustrators conference. Which character do you most relate to in the above sketch? Greedy fat cat? Astonished and hungry little sister? One of many mice in a box, clawing your way to be seen?

Maybe you're behind the pencil, like me. The artist in a workshop, doodling while absorbing. That's my favorite headspace. I might appear to be 'not paying attention' - but trust me, I'm in the zone.

I put it all out there for this year's NESCBWI Spring Conference and I think it paid off. I signed up for a critique of my latest dummy (it went really well!), tossed my hat in the ring for the poster contest (I placed 3rd for published!), put a book into the portfolio showcase (no one spilled wine on it!), and entered an 'anonymous image' for the First Look panel (positive but weird and helpful feedback?!). 

My favorite workshops were:

Sudipta Barhan-Quallen's Rhythm, Rhyme, and Repetition: A Picture Book Writer's 3 Rs

Carlyn Beccia's The Posthumous Adventures of a Digital Painting

Gaia Cornwall's 7 Animation Concepts Every Illustrator Should Steal

Lynda Mulally Hunt's Find-a-Fit: Researching Agents in Order to Find the Right Match for You

My favorite moments were:

Having the same table, waiter, meal and dining companion at Adolfo's as last year.

Uncontrollable junior-high laugh-fest with new and old friends at the end of the portfolio showcase. I'd share it, but it's TOTALLY inappropriate. Which is why it was so funny, right?

Winning the raffle in Lynda Mulally Hunt's workshop: a critique of a work by an agent at a top agency. I was so excited I did a Price-is-Right run for the podium before Lynda stopped me!!!

All the little moments with new illustrator friends, or people I only talk with online - in person! It's a really smart, funny, friendly group.

The three or more times I started tearing up at a keynote speaker or panelist.

And to be honest, I loved feeding and caring for just myself for a few days, but coming back to my happy little kids (and relieved husband!) at the front door on a sunny spring day was the perfect finale. 

And away they go!

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It was finally time to send these little monsters off into the world. I submitted my first dummy this week. I know it's the first of many. It'll be hard to switch gears and get those next projects in motion. I had to take a little moment here to celebrate their departure. I've put three years of love and time into this, and I am proud of finishing a task that seemed to insurmountable at times. Is this the end of the road for them? Of course not. I'm well versed in rewriting, resketching, and repainting by now. But it's a big step.

Other things are going on too. I'm waiting on a manuscript for an ed book to illustrate. That'll eat up much of the summer. I'll be taking a fun road trip up to Portland, Maine next week to see The Sketchbook Project. I'll keep writing for the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge - I'll be halfway there once I get through the kinks in June's first draft. I'll be starting a new dummy. I'm not sure which one to switch to next. I think it'll be a little novelty board book that I wrote at the very beginning of the year. Not that I think it'll be ANY less challenging than my picture book dummy, but a very different feel to it.

So farewell my little monsters. I hope the world is kind to you.