Organizing SCBWI Illustrator Meetings San Francisco-Bay Area (asking for ideas, experience)

  • Hi Guys,
    I am the Illustrator Meeting Coordinator at SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) at the SF-North and East Bay Area. I am organizing this year Illustrator Meetings and would like to ask your opinion about which topic is the most interesting to you.

    1. Learning about the publishing industry (meeting agents, art directors, successful authors, illustrators)
    2. Writing your own book - due to a new trend coming from publishers demanding more author-illustrators.
    3. Improving art skills (visual story development, designing a book do's and dont's, sketching, colors, trends)
    4. Social media and branding yourself (portfolios, connecting to your audience, dealing with clients)

    Please comment here (use the numbers) or send me a direct message.
    Do not worry if you are not living in the Bay Area, I am still very interested in your opinion or experience.
    Do you have meeting in your area? What kind of? Which one did you enjoy and why?

    Thank you.

  • Hi Susan! I'm a SCBWI member from the SF Bay Area, and I honestly think all the topics you mention are equally as important/interesting to me. I'm completely new to the industry and it is my hope to self-publish my first book this year. I'm also a not apart of a SCBWI group/meeting, I don't think they're any in my area; San Jose/South Bay Area.

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    Hi Susan, number 3 would be my pick but I agree with @eleArts and all of them would be great, maybe each meeting you could cover one, best of luck, I am on the east coast!

  • Hi Elena, Thank you very much for your answer. Although we have geographic divisions, it does not mean that you cannot come to any other chapter's SCBWI meeting. For example last spring we had Jim Hoover art director from Viking Books for a whole day workshop and a lot of people participated from San Jose to Napa.
    Here is a link to your local region 🙂 It is worth keeping an eye on the website's calendar, they might add some events too. (At the moment, ours is empty too.) I will definitely let you know when we manage to organize one and will be happy to see you there.

  • @lmrush Hi Lisa, thank you for your answer. I checked your website. Wow, you are a member for 10 years! Have you had a memorable meeting? Are you guys active there?
    Sssh, number 3 is my secret plan, 😃 we might go for a Sketch Crawl. @eleArts Elena, what do you think? Have you seen Will Terry's video about sketching at lunch time? "Draw Lunch" I used to do a lot of subway sketching and always enjoyed it.

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    All these topics are super interesting. If I had to choose among parallel sessions, I would probably choose around 4 or 1...not because the others are less interesting, but because I think they are almost too massive topics for a conference. One topic that would interest me particularly is "trending styles and topics for picture books" - which look-and-feel and which topics are particularly relevant nowadays. Also, an overview of market preferences over time, to get a sense of perspective on the market and how it evolves would be interesting.
    Another topic that interests me a lot is the role of teachers, schools and libraries. Do they have special needs? Do they express them? Does the industry listen?

    I see you mention a "Sketch-crawl" and that one seems to be a common theme at many SCBWI conferences. I am sure there are people who can profit from those, but personally I find the idea of walking around a city with a group of people that I may or may not know trying to sketch sights on the go extremely uninspiring (just a strictly personal view, of course). Some ideas that I personally find more engaging could be "sketching at the zoo" (assuming there is a zoo or a place with animals) or a costumed live-model session (I have gone to a few of those organized by an independent group in my city and they are awesome!) or (and this is an idea from AdobeMax, which I attended two years ago) a one-day art challenge, where you have to create an image based on a theme or title. At Adobe Max it's normally half a day gathering inspiration (walking around the city with a camera, or going to the teather to see a costume rehearsal or whatever is relevant to the challenge) followed by half a day image-making activities (for SCBWI it could be just thumbnail sketching or anything the participants feel comfortable doing in a limited time-frame).

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    @Susan-Szecsi well actually 14 years I believe, but they don't have a sticker for that. kids and businesses have sidetracked me a bit lol Yes we are active here, monthly meetings and retreats- Yes, I have seen the draw lunch I want to start one- Keep us posted on how it goes!

  • @smceccarelli I agree each topic can have their own conference or a series of meetings. As for the Sketch-Crawl, yes, I see the challenges. I fact, we are hesitating between the Oakland Zoo to draw animals, or perhaps some busy public place in Oakland, Berkeley or San Francisco and daw people. I am also thinking about to give more structure/schedule to this Crawl. Based on my experience, most artists are genuinely shy. In case of SCBWI skill levels are ranging from the beginners to more established illustrators. If we choose to go to the Zoo, I am putting together a handout with some advice. I identified 2 main problems why people would hesitate to do it. One is feeling intimidated by others watching you when drawing. Second is worrying because you are not sure what you are "expected" to do. I think we can address both by doing some icebreakers, demonstrations (I mean showing it) and organize some peer help. I want to ask the more experienced, more extravert participants to "help" the newbies. I imagine if you go around the zoo with your small group (3-6) it feels different. It would not be compulsory of course. However, I do not want anybody walk around bored and alone or staring their phones. My aim is to make everybody happy, enjoy drawing, discover that sketching improves your skills, it is a tons of fun and an opportunity to socialize. I have been watching @Will-Terry's videos for years and learned a lot from him. I hope I will have the courage and the talent to encourage people as much as he does.
    I truly appreciate your comments. What great suggestions. It would be nice to know if there is a study or book about current trends and market preferences. Maybe approaching the librarians and teachers is a doable thing for us.
    I love the Adobe Max idea a lot!

  • @lmrush Good luck to starting your Draw-Lunch! I am very curious about your experience. Once we have the Sketch-Crawl I will let you know about it too.

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    @Susan-Szecsi perfect!

  • Hello! I'm a freelance illustrator and soon to be SCBWI member from the SF Bay Area. 🙂 All of those topics sound great, especially 1 and 3! Building art skills to better present a portfolio, along with getting connected with agents and learning from successful illustrators are all constantly big on my to do list.

    ((It's hard for me to travel too far as i have 2 young children but I really would like to be a part of the SF Bay Area meet ups!))

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    I am a scbwi member in San Jose also. I wish there were more activities in the South Bay! But besides that, I agree that all of them interest me equally. I have been a member for a couple of years but have been timid about getting very involved. I did go to th elast Illustrators Day in SF (I think it was the last anyway...) with Marla Frazee. It was great!

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    @eleArts Maybe we can start with two of us, Elena 🙂

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    @eleArts BTW, if you are interested in joining our new writers critique group (if you are at all interested in writing) we meet in Willow Glen on Monday nights at Peets Coffee-1140 Lincoln, Ave, CA 95125 We've just had one meeting. We share our manuscripts by e-mail and then will discuss them on Monday night. We'll see how it goes. None of us knows exactly how to do it, I don't think, but ,...:-) It would be nice to have a group for illustrators too. We started one once with two people but it fell through.

  • @Marsha-Kay-Ottum-Owen Yes, I definitely would like to check your writer's group since I'm writing my own picture book. I'd also like to very much start a illustrator's group as well. 😃

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    @eleArts Cool. If you can come on Monday, please do! I can let the others know to expect you 🙂 And I will beinterested in the illustrators group too. (Especially if it's in San Jose).

  • I'm too far XD

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    @Naroth-Kean Where do yuo live, Naroth? Are you in California too?

  • @Marsha-Kay-Ottum-Owen hi I'm in Philadelphia!

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    @Naroth-Kean Oh yeah! That might eb a bit of a way to go to meet up 🙂 My first german ancestor came to Lancaster, Paxtang way back when. That's teh closest I've been to Philadelphia 😉

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