Wednesday, August 8, 2012

LA SCBWI Conference

The SCBWI Conference this year was great as usual. I took a lot of photos and I thought I'd share a few of them as a way to let you know about some of my favorite parts.

The Conference takes place in the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. It's a lovely hotel and I had a great time photographing the surrounding buildings, the view from our balcony, and the plants on their grounds.

I got to hang out with my friend Brooke Boynton Hughes on the left. And we both met Tina Kugler (in the middle) for the first time after knowing her for years online. This is us dressed up for the Hippy-Hop party on Saturday wearing flower crowns, peace tattoos, and loud paisley.

Tony DiTerlizzi was one of the main speakers this year and he put on quite a show! He started with an amped-up keynote during which he imitated himself as a 10-year-old by shuffling around the stage on his knees. His workshops were calmer and packed with information. He inspired me to buy his middle grade novel, The Search for WondLa. I'm a third of the way through it and it's fantastic!

During the Monday Illustrator's Intensive, he also shared an early portfolio, drafts of manuscripts, and a real treasure- his dummy for Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide. The artwork was very finished and the hand made  book was so full of gorgeous drawings and hand lettering! 

Bryan Collier also had some fantastic presentations including a very emotional keynote speech that caused all of us to fall in love with him. The talk he gave with his editor Laura Godwin of Henry Holt Books was very entertaining! They were a regular comedy routine and their "early morning talk show" format worked so well, I think they should start a TV show in their spare time!

Eugene Yelchin is not someone I was aware of before the conference, but what an interesting, articulate, and talented person! Here he is giving us some very detailed info about how to create space, depth, direction, frustration, and satisfaction in our illustrations. I took notes as fast as possible.

It's very hard to see, but in that photo above, Eugene is showing this spread from Melissa Sweet's book A River of Words that he called genius. Melissa was also at the conference and unfortunately I didn't get a picture of her. She has a beautiful energy and I also loved her workshops. I bought A River of Words about the poet William Carlos Williams- written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet who signed it for me. 

I also didn't wind up with a photo of Jon Klassen but here's the cover for his new book that isn't released yet. The humor in his books is dry and understated but oh so funny. Jon himself is a very humble guy who talks fast and makes a lot of jokes about himself. I loved hearing about how the concept for his new book developed- some stories come to you direct and some rather roundabout. But it's those roundabout ones that are more entertaining in the telling. Here's a blurb Publisher's Weekly did about This is Not My Hat.

Here's a photo of half of the room at the Portfolio Showcase. It can get a little overwhelming. So much art to see and so many people to elbow out of the way!

For me, the best part of the conference is getting to spend time with friends I don't see often. Here are my good friends and talented illustrators, Brooke and Tina talking in between sessions. 

I hope everyone who went had a great time!


  1. Great post!
    It was so awesome hanging out with you!! I want to go back already.
    By the way, the Peter Sis book I was telling you about is called "The Conference of the Birds."

  2. Wonderful post about the L.A. Conference, Jill!

  3. So fun to relive the weekend in this post, Jill! Great to meet you there too. I look forward to the next time our paths cross.

  4. Thanks ladies!
    That book looks really interesting, Tina. I haven't seen it before.
    It was lovely to meet you, Kjersten. I'm sure we'll run into each other again!

  5. That sounds so interesting, thank you for sharing your impressions! I hope I'll get the chance to visit such a conference some time in the future :)