Sunday, February 17, 2013

SCBWI NY Winter Conference

At the beginning of this month I visited New York to go to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Winter Conference. I got to attend talks by some of my favorite authors and illustrators, and other publishing industry pros were on hand to give the lowdown on current market trends. Here are a few of my conference highlights (along with grainy pictures from my phone):

Shaun Tan gave a talk on "Developing a Personal Style," which was incredibly thought provoking. I bought a copy of his new book "The Bird King," which is full of his sketches and preliminary paintings, I highly recommend it. 


(Image from: http://thebirdking.blogspot.com)



Mo Willems shared how to write for children in 9 steps, or as he put it: "Writing in 3 Easy Steps, 3 Somewhat Less Easy Steps, 2 Pretty Difficult Steps, and 1 Impossible Step." 


This is Mo Willems flapping like a bird

Julie Andrews was there with her daughter to talk about their children's books. I'm happy to say that she lived up to all my childhood expectations, she was incredibly gracious and dignified. 


(Image from: blog.needsupply.com )

Tommy dePaola was a surprise guest, he was super friendly and looked like a character straight out of one of his books. 


Tommy dePaola addressing a room full of illustrators


As far as market trends go, there was quite a lot of talk about ebooks and how they'll completely change the market, but everyone was still puzzling over how to make them profitable. It dampened my spirits a little to hear how difficult it is for authors and illustrators to make a living in the publishing industry, even those with recognizable names and successful books. Nevertheless, it was hard to stay put out for long when it was pointed out numerous times how important children's books are and how lucky we are to get to make them.

Thanks for visiting my blog! I'll leave you with three of my favorite quotes from the conference:

"Childhood sucks, your job is to be a child's friend." - Mo Willems

"Don't be afraid and stay curious" - Shaun Tan

"Aren't we lucky?" - Julie Andrews