Conference a success!

Wowza! What an exhausting but absolutely thrilling conference! I had some great takeaways from all three days, but first some exciting news . . . I got the grand prize in the juried art portfolio show. To say the least, I was pleasantly surprised seeing as there were so many amazing illustrators that took part. I'm also very pleased to report that I met some wonderful people (I believe I may soon be joining a critique group) and got some great feedback from some of the conference faculty. The first day, as I mentioned in my previous post, was the illustrator master class. As I have not had any formal art education, Dan Santat's session was particularly helpful. He covered such topics as lighting and shading, the power of squinting (creating contrast creates depth to field and can help create a first read and second read), color/hue, mixing colors (white + 1 color rule and that is best to mix your own black), and the rule of thirds. Yet, the most memorable part for me was Dan's work ethic. He used photoshop to change a portfolio piece for each participant. He enhanced things, changed lighting, added better contrast, and through a step by step process explained why he would have gone about things a bit differently than the artist had. It was incredible and I don't feel like I'm doing it justice. But the bottom line is . . . if you have the chance to talk with or hear Dan Santat speak . . . DO IT. Anne Moore (art coordinator at Candlewick press) was also phenomenal. She was so encouraging and supportive and I found myself in awe of what illustrators she has worked with. I had a portfolio critique with her and felt so very fortunate that I had chosen to do that. Also she led a very informative breakout session on the integration of type and illustrations. Want to see good examples of typography? Check out Bink & Golie, Tillie and Friends, Dog Blue, or any of Anita Jeram's books.

These are some other memorable parts:

Justin Chanda - picture books are important and it is a good thing that it is harder to get one published (higher quality work) NEEDS TO MELT THEIR FACES OFF! go with your gut. Picture books that are working are shorter, funnier, and character based. Think BIG

Give them (editors and audience) more than what they expect.

We are capable of just what we are capable of right now.

Holly Black - find your plot by talking about it with other people.

Of course, I did a lot of doodling at the conference as well. Here are a few: