Going to first SCBWI conference

  • SVS OG

    At the weekend I’m going to my first ever SCBWI conference…I signed up to SCBWI after @natiwata’s post a while back about how useful it was for him…and this weekend it’s the UK conference (would love to go to New York, but my budget won’t stretch that far just yet!)

    So I’ve been busy getting a few business cards printed, finding some sort of physical portfolio (never had to do that before) and working out what (on earth) is going in my portfolio. I don’t expect anything enormously ground-breaking to come out of the weekend (all the guidelines say don't expect too much to happen), but it should be good to meet lots of people and see what it’s all about. But I do have a 1-1 portfolio review booked in with an agent, which hopefully will provide some useful feedback.

    I was intending to be perfectly organised for it all, but this week has coincided with a massive deadline for work, my children being, well, preschoolers...my husband being ill, and to cap it all a week before the conference they casually mentioned in an email that at the Saturday night party we're encouraged to be in fancy dress! (to dress up as a character from your favourite children’s book) so I've been trying to work that out too.

    On another note, I finished this sketch…last minute trying-to-improve-my-portfolio and having fun with inks/watercolour.


  • @Dulcie excited for you! I think you have great skill, and wouldn't be surprised to her you got great feedback from the conference.

    I am signing up for SCBWI in the next month or so, and am fortunate enough to live in Los Angeles county. I will look forward to hearing about your experience, and getting some advice from you the future.

  • SVS OG

    @Eric-Castleman Thank you! Hopefully it will be useful. The summer conference for SCBWI is in Los Angeles, if I'm right? ..that will be something to look forward to 🙂

  • I'd so love to sign up to SCBWI, but unfortunately my chapter doesn't have any groups for illustrators - only for writers 😞 . So I'm going to have to live vicariously through all of you who have illustrator groups! Please share the fun! lol

  • SVS OG

    Have fun, Dulcie! I think your 1.1 will be a big hit! Can't wait to hear about it. I need to get back on here more!

  • SVS OG

    @Marsha-Kay-Ottum-Owen Thank you! It was a really interesting time, and every single person I met was nice. The 1-1 that I had was incredibly useful and a very positive experience - she was really nice about my work, and had some very good suggestions about how to improve.

    She thought I wasn't far off being ready, I just needed to hone certain aspects a little more and tweak a few things - in particular she thought I needed to lose the 'Disney' look of my eyes (ie have smaller pupils) to make it more suitable for the UK & US picture book market (apparently in Asia and mainland Europe you can do what you like with your eyes, but UK/US is more specific). She liked the watercoloury colouring much more than the digitally coloured pieces...which chimes with the feedback I've had here, and the Friday night critique at the conference (the 'Disney' eyes came up there too).

    She also gave me her card and said she'd like to see more in due course, and that she'd be happy to give me feedback on a dummy book (I had mentioned I'd like to turn my 'Rex' spreads into a full story).

    Everything else was great too - the party (so many amazing costumes at the party! people really went to town..), meeting new people, and the various talks/break-outs...but the feedback in the group critique and 1-1 was the most useful part art-wise.

    Here's an update on the cat, with smaller pupils...


  • Yeah @Dulcie! I'm so glad it was a successful conference and critique! And your cat update with the smaller eyes is perfect. It is amazing how a little detail can make so much of a difference! Congratulations. It is deserved.

  • SVS OG

    @Joy-Heyer Thanks so much! I appreciate the support 🙂 I thought changing the style of the eyes might feel like a big deal, but having tried it, I'm looking forward to making more pieces like that 🙂

  • Pro SVS OG

    Thank you @Dulcie for sharing your impressions and experiences! It sounds great and I am very much looking forward to my first SCBWI conference in February. I had never thought that there would be regional preferences about eyes that surfaced so much as to be part of market strategy. I knew that many European illustrations have dot eyes (no white in the eye), but I never thought that this was an indication of a whole esthetic preference.
    I do like your new cat better, I must admit (though the first version was already very charming)!

  • @Dulcie Thanks for sharing the wonderful experience, and yes I never thought of eyes can be part of certain country ideal style/market. I love the before and after both equally tho.

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