Back in the Pacific Northwest

As usual, the SCBWI Conference I attended just outside of Seattle was fun, entertaining, informative and inspiring.

I was lucky enough to get into the awesome illustrator's masterclass with the formidable Dan Santat and Anne Moore from Candlewick Press. Dan was first up and took us through some basics of colour theory and composition which is always good to review. But THEN he took a portfolio piece from each one of us (submitted earlier) and photoshopped them to make them stronger, using those principles. It was EXCELLENT.

We also had some homework for Anne and she took us through each piece speaking from the publisher's point of view, which was very insightful. It was so interesting to see how everyone had interpreted the same text (like with illustration Friday).

Then it was 2 days of inspiring and informative talks. I was also given a (very lovely) gift bag for being the person who had travelled the furthest to get there - true, there weren't any other people from Australia!

I think the best sessions i attended were:

Victoria Jamieson on creating book dummies, where she took as through the multiple versions of her story in dummy form, from beginning to publication (including agent/publisher notes along the way)

Rollin Thomas on story book structures and myths

Anne Moore on book and type design, which is something I've always been interested in.

The other wonderful part of these conferences of course, is meeting wonderful people. I finally got to meet Stacia who is the diva of Creative Cup, our online critique group. It was so lovely to hang out with her all weekend!

I also met Shane Watson who is a fantastic illustrator with sci-fi bent, and also all-around great person. Go check out his work!

And luckily I also got to see Richard Jesse Watson, the amazing illustrator who critiqued my portfolio at last year's LA SCBWI conference. It was a treat to catch up with him and also meet his family including his son illustrator Jesse Joshua Watson. At one point I found myself sitting at a table with Richard, Jesse, Dan Santat and David Hohn, wondering what alternate reality I had stepped into?

I have left with so many ideas swirling in my head, and a definite direction to go in both my writing and illustration.

Even though I'm on holidays, you can't stop these things working in the background.

But, next stop New Orleans. A city of music, food, culture... And not a moment to waste!