Archive for the ‘SCBWI’ Category

Crystal Kite Members Choice Awards

February 2, 2011

The nominees are in and it’s time to vote for the 2011 crystal kite member choice awards! The first round of voting is underway now until Feb. 28th. Members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators can vote for the best of the best published book in their region at

SCBWI L.A. Illustrator’s Day 2010

November 15, 2010

SCBWI L.A. Illustrator’s Day was yesterday and what an amazing and inspirational day it was… and, huh,  wouldn’t you know it, the them was “Be Inspired!”

So wow, the speakers were fantastic!

Author/illustrator Brian Floca spoke about making picture books from concept to finish and all the trials, inspirations and triumphs in between.

Literary agent, Jennifer Rofé, talked all about how to promote your book, and for those of us who don’t quite have a book yet, how to promote yourself and your art.

Sr. Creative Director at MacMillan Rich Deas gave us a glimpse into the agony and the ecstasy of designing the cover of  Y.A. novels.

Tricycle Press Editor, Abigail Samoun gave us 6 easy, (or not so easy) steps to becoming a Children’s Book expert. Many things are involved but two books she suggested were Uri Shulevitz’s “Writing with Pictures” and Molly Bang’s “Picture This: How Pictures Work”. She even gave us a few lessons from Ms. Bang’s book which blew me away. I have Uri’s book already, but I’m running to get “Picture This”.

Then last, but certainly not least, Dan Santat gave a hilarious and inspirational speech about how he got into the biz. What a crazy-talented, yet humble guy he is.

There was also the illustration contest in which we were to interpret and illustrate the sentence (taken from Edgar Allen Poe):

“It was night, and the rain fell; and falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was…”

The winners (pictured and numbered above) were:

Joan Charles – 1st place

Carolyn Le – 2nd place

Cliff Cramp – 3rd place

There was also a portfolio contest with a people’s choice winner and 3 winners judged by the speakers… now if only I could remember who they were. Soooo sorry! I can’t find them listed anywhere, but they will, no doubt be listed on the SCBWI site at some point. They were all fantastic. It was a tough choice. Oh the one I voted for won first prize! I know a good thing when I see it, eh?

Oh yes, there were also raffles and books for sale. Not to mention all the schmoozing. It was like a mini-conference!

Anyway, all that, a box lunch and catching a terrible cold is what I got from Illustrator’s Day, and I have to say, the cold was worth it. It was a wonderful, wonderful day! Sniff! Achooooo!

Tomie dePaola Award

November 5, 2010

Beginning in 2011, the SCBWI is taking over the permanent funding of The Tomie dePaola Illustrator Award, which will be given yearly to an illustrator of promise chosen by Tomie himself. The award consists of a $1,000 gift certificate for art supplies, plus full tuition, transportation and accommodations to the New York Winter Conference held in Manhattan. The winning piece of art will be featured at the exhibition in New York.

The Tomie dePaola Award competition is open to all SCBWI members. Each entrant is to produce one illustration, any size, any medium, that is based on a text supplied by Tomie. The text for this year’s illustration is from Johanna Spyri’s classic Heidi. Entries are due no later than December 15, 2010. Final art will be electronically submitted and Tomie will announce the winner on January 3, 2011. The winner will receive the award at the New York Conference held January 29-30 at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan.

Tomie says that he wants to see an image, a style, a vision, that he’s never seen before. Good luck to all illustrators. We’re sending you inspiration for this prestigious and generous award.

SCBWI:Iowa Spring 2010 Conference

April 26, 2010

The 2010 SCBWI: Iowa conference managed to top last year’s event! Guest speakers included illustrator and 2 time Caldecott Honor winner Marla Frazee, editor of Beachlane Books Allyn Johnston, author Mike Shoulders, author and former Farrar, Straus, and Giroux editor Lisa Graff, literary agent Ammi-Joan Paquette, Harper Collins editor Laura Arnold and author Carol Gorman. There was also a wealth of information from fellow Iowa published illustrators, authors and aspiring illustrators and authors. It is always nice to know that you aren’t alone going through the struggles of breaking into publishing. (well, you are, but you aren’t the only one feeling all the feelings that go along with it.)
My portfolio review with Marla was fabulous. She has a very authentic way of reviewing work. She gave me tangible things to work on while reassuring me that I was “very talented”. (ok, really? Marla called me…me?! talented. What a wonderful compliment!)

Author Mike Shoulders’ presentations really resonated within me too. He does over 100 school visits each year and as a former educator and principal, he REALLY has it together! He gave wonderful tips on enhancing school visits. Mike is a positive person to the core and is clearly doing what he excels at! Mike rapped one of his books, and he TOTALLY pulled it off. A little humor and humility go a really long way! Overall, it was wonderful to meet new people in the field and reconnect with people from last year.

Goals, Resolutions & All Things 2010

January 14, 2010

Phew!  It’s a new year, a fresh start, a new beginning, and a time when many artists set new goals.  My first goal is to finish the illustrations for my latest illustrated book by March….and I am only on the 5th of double-page 13 spreads.  Normally, illustrators of children’s books are given about a year to complete a book project…but I was given 5 months.  Honestly, I could not say “no” to the project because I really believe in the story and felt the book had Divinely landed smack-dab in the middle of my drawing table.  I’ve learned not to say “no” in circumstances which are Divinely appointed!  So right now I am working day and night on “Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too!” for Sylvan Dell Publishing (written by Sherry North).  I love this story!  It has a happy ending, and I think it will help lots of kids who are diagnosed with cancer or have a friend or pet who is receiving treatment.

If you need inspiration and a few good tips on becoming a better illustrator in 2010, read my article titled “Your New Year’s Resolution: Become a Better Illustrator” in Illustrator Tips column in this latest issue of The Prairie Wind, the e-newsletter for the SCBWI-IL.  Lots of good tips in there, plus samples from my latest book “Little Black Ant on Park Street” (written by Janet Halfmann for Soundprints Publishing).

SCBWI Spring Conference in South Dakota

October 23, 2009

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time...

Click here for details.

Fall 2009 SCBWI Conference at UND (with a side of turkey)

October 15, 2009


A few highlights from last weekend:
Shown above left to right: Molly O’ Neill, Laurie Knowlton, Andrew Karre, Janet Spaeth
2009 SCBWI Conference at UND

Laurie Knowlton If ever I met someone who lives in and makes the most of every moment, it is Laurie. She fed our minds and tickled our funny bones with her presentation The Bones of Your Story She taught about story structure and we know she lives by her words…For example, if you give a mouse this author a cookie, she will want to eat it like this:

c is for cookie

c is for cookie...Laurie Knowlton and Yvette LaPierre

Molly O’ Neill
Molly gave a fabulous, well-prepared presentation titled What Makes Editors Fall in Love? She had us at “hello” and brought the message full circle with clarity, heart, wisdom, and perfect examples.

At dinner, she entertained us with a true story about a turkey. Yes, a turkey. Real. Frozen. Ready for adventure, turkey. Those of us privy to this kind of inside information, now know why it is imperative to wrap frozen turkeys thoroughly before transporting them via the NYC subway system.

Andrew Karre
Andrew is a walking source of information. Among other things, he shared with us Ways to Survive the Social Networking without Losing Your Shirt. He is the editorial director at Carolrhoda Books, and is particularly passionate about YA. His wealth of knowledge and wit paired with his ability to prioritize and to know what he likes are a perfect combination.

We look forward to many more exciting books from the hearts and minds of Molly, Andrew, and Laurie!

2009 SCBWI Don Freeman Grant Recipients Announced

June 23, 2009

Big congrats to …..
ABIGAIL HALPIN from Wells, Maine–2009 Winner
HANNAH MORRIS from East Corinth, Vermont–2009 Runner Up

and two Honorable mentions go to YUMI OH and YOUNGSUN KIM both of California.

Click here for the details.

Read more about Don Freeman:

Today is the deadline for SCBWI scholarship application

April 15, 2009

Taxes, schmaxes…today is the deadline for something grand!
The benevolent Fairy Godsisters, Ink are hosting their second annual scholarship. The lucky, lucky winner will get $1500 to attend SCBWI L.A. 2009 in August.
If you have been thinking about entering, do it now, before it is too late!

SCBWI Spring Conference in South Dakota

April 15, 2009

dinner Friday: Jean Patrick, Tim Gillner, Chris Browne, Lori Walsh, Nancy NL Sharp, Susan Underdahl

dinner Friday

Above photo: Jean Patrick, Tim Gillner, Chris Browne, Lori Walsh, Nancy Sharp, Susan Underdahl

Sometimes I must admit, that here in the sprawling cornfields of South Dakota (which also includes North Dakota and Minnesota, if that gives you a better idea of our chapter’s demographics) –where authors and illustrators are few and far between, we get a little jealous of the big cities where SCBWI members can meet each other for coffee at the drop of a pen.

At the same time, we are also proud of our independence and determination.

Our 3rd Annual Spring Conference was scheduled for April 4. Who would ever think that a blizzard would really happen on that very weekend…especially when we had record numbers of registrants committed to come? We are blaming it on Jean Patrick, of course. She, our fearless coordinator ,is the author of If I Had A Snowplow, after all.

Our speakers, and all the attendees each showed what they are made of by getting to the conference…and some did not get to leave until a day later, after the roads and skies were clear. Even with several cancellations, we had 68 attend, not including the speakers. Of that 68, 16 were artists.

The following photos are compliments of Chris Browne:

Dinner Friday

Dinner Friday

The day began with a nuts and bolts for writers given by Mary Scarbrough.

Tim Gillner then enlightened us with A Picture Book: Conception to Birth. I love that Boyds Mills just does what they love to do, without trying to predict what is “marketable.”

At 11, Martyn Beeny from SDSHS Press wowed us with a presentation about this amazing press. Though small, the number of award-winning books they create is impressive! Go Martyn!

Susan Underdahl shared her story with us. I love that every person who creates books comes is on a journey all their own. Just love it.

Dr. Mark Geary taught a break-out session on making book trailers.

All this along with critiques, panel discussions, topped off with a great lunch and tons of door prizes made for a perfect way to spend a weekend in South Dakota–blizzard or no blizzard.