Tuesday, February 12, 2008

“Ready are you? What know you of ready?"

Thank you Yoda for the perfect quote. SCWBI conference, over. Head, spinning. Since I love a good quote, and I take notes in sound bytes...these were some of the best:

I most enjoyed the inspirational talks by Jerry Pinkney, Harry Bliss, Nicky Grimes, Holly McGhee, David Wiesner and Carolyn Mackler. I love listening to artists reveal their process and personal angst. The common thread I got out of it- stay true to yourself and work your ass off.
I was nauseous until the moment I dropped off my portfolio. After that, it was like it entered a black hole and resurfaced a few hours later. I would have LOVED some feedback.
I would say one of the highlights was the brief impromptu artist portfolio swap on the floor outside of the restaurant. I hope this can become a formal scheduled event for the artists at the conference. Much can be gained by seeing what others are doing and finding where you fall in the mix.
Another great result of going to the conference for me was sorting out my head on what to focus on. I had toyed with the idea of a graphic novel for kids 8-12. So, that's what I've decided to focus on. I asked my self, "Where is your heart?"- in cartoons...

Anyway, there were some things I was not as thrilled with. The conference on the whole was very writer-centric. I would have happily missed a breakout session for a workshop on thumbnailing or brainstorming, or anything art focused. A session with an artists's rep or an art director. Art specific. My morning session was almost identical to my afternoon one.

The art that won the portfolio exhibition was beautiful. AND very traditional, painterly, classical really in it's early 20th century - Parrish like imagery. Which, I love. But- it was diametrically opposed to what the publishers,editors,agents,marketers and publicists were asking for. Hmmm....interesting.

The other awards given, though the art was very nice, were for the most part, members of someone's master class. This only re-emphasized that no matter the industry, it's not always what you know as much as who you know. Schmoozing, connections, taking classes and workshops and having mentors...all as important as the art.

It was interesting to hear the state of the markets... and hear people say the report of the picture book's death has been greatly exaggerated... and it was interesting to follow the path of a book from concept to shelving in a book store.

I was dismayed to hear the emphasis on very little text for picture books. I love "Don't let the pigeon" books as much as everyone else, but I want kids to learn as well as laugh.

Blah blah blah, I go on. All in all,It was a tremendous learning experience. I met some nice people who are quite talented: Mercedes O'Connor Goldcamp(I owe you socks), Gina Pery, Leeza Hernandez, Joey Chapelle, Carrie Hartman(I owe you 4 dollars), Monica Scheliga Carnesi and some interesting writers too. I will post links asap. I'm not sure if I'm going to LA. I'll think about it. I've got a lot of that to do....


Gina Perry said...

Yes, yes, yes! I love your summary and I agree with just about everything you've said here, great recap from an illustrators perspective. It was so nice meeting you! And I'm keeping an eye on what you're up to next - great things for sure.

Kelly Light said...

Gina- fellow Syracuse alumni- spawn of Dave Hicock- Mass Moca girl -I loved your work. I hope we stay in touch! I will comment and link to your blog!

Courtney said...

I love your work! I added you to my jacketflap before realizing that I was also in the portfolio swap group at SCBWI. Good Luck! You've got the talent!

Kelly Light said...

Thanks Courtney- I remembered your work from the swap! It's great and quirky and colorful and fun! I'll add you to my list too!

Dee said...


You've pretty much summed up my feelings regarding previous NY conferences. I've heard that the NY conf. focuses on business and writers, whereas the LA conf. focuses on the craft and illustrators have more opportunities. I like the sound of that, so I'm aiming to go to LA next year. :P

Wonderful notes so far, (I love your quote illo!) and good luck with the graphic novel pursuit. I too am aiming in that direction, and now that the decision has been made, everything feels so much more natural! haha!