Our guest blogger today is Marjory Gardner. Marjory talks about the benefits of taking in as much as you can when you go to a SCBWI conference.
I'm already looking forward to this year's SCBWI conference. The program looks really varied and interesting, and I like that there are concurrent sessions so I can choose the sessions I prefer. Having said that, sometimes making those choices will be difficult.
At a previous conference, I chose to skip a session to be given by a visiting American YA author. I don't write YA fiction and the lure of the nearby shops and a bit of time to myself was too tempting to resist. However when I got back after an happy hour of window shopping everybody was abuzz about how wonderful Ellen Hopkins' presentation had been. I still regret missing it.
We illustrators are outnumbered by authors at the conference, but I'm on a personal campaign to get more illustrators to attend. I've already convinced one Victorian friend and colleague to come, and I'm on the hunt for more. I find the conferences (and I've been to all of the them) rewarding in so many ways.
I've always come home motivated and refreshed, and keener than ever to hang in there and keep doing what I love doing. I've made new friends as well as professional contacts, compared notes, learned so much from the presenters and from networking with colleagues and Publishers, had 'moments of clarity' during folio assessments, and been spurred on to be more professional and pro-active.
It's also been lovely to meet many yet-to-be-published authors/illustrators and encourage them in their quest. It's great to have met people like Sarah Davis, who at the first conference was right at the start of her career...and look at her now!
The SCWBI 'family' has always been a very warm, welcoming and helpful group, and over the days of the conference it's great to see so many new books launched as well as ideas exchanged in the breaks between sessions, on morning walks, lunch and over dinner. I always come home with a notebook brimming with 'things to do and follow up', a suitcase bulging with books I've bought, and an optimistic attitude that good things will happen.
I'm also looking forward to the Illustrator's Portfolio Showcase. It's a great opportunity to see what everyone else is doing ...and let everyone else see what I'm doing too! This year I'll have a couple of new books just out, so it will be exciting to share them.
Thanks to Suzanne and Chris, and all the hard work done behind the scenes by the regional advisors and assistant regional advisors, the conference is always brilliantly planned, and goes seamlessly and smoothly. As a bonus, The Hughenden is such a gorgeous venue, the staff and facilities wonderful, and the food is fantastic. I'll see you there in June!
ABOUT ME: I'm a freelance illustrator living in Melbourne.
I've worked for over twenty years for trade and educational books, and for magazines. I also have a range of greeting cards.
I work in pencil, markers and ink, and am tentatively beginning to explore digital alternatives.
You can see more of my work at: www.marjorygardner.com