Sunday, September 13, 2015

Illustrator Day SCBWI-Eastern Pennsylvania 2015

Well, time sure flies, doesn't it?  It's almost fall!

But I'm back with a really cool post.  Yesterday I attended Illustrator Day 2015, organized by SCBWI-EPA's Regional Illustrator Coordinator, Adrienne Wright.  As usual, this was a truly wonderful day, filled with engaging presentations and great company.

Illustrator Day is one of these events I do everything I can NOT to miss, and for good reason:  I always leave feeling energized and encouraged, always learn something new, and make new connections.

Here are a few highlights of the day.  The first presentation was by Jennifer Kelly, Assistant Art Director for Dial Books for Young Readers.  Her topic was "Bringing characters to life: capturing emotion and energy."

She talked about the importance of establishing an emotional connection with a character, and talked in detail about 7 tools:
1) Your pencil and paper, the early sketching phase
2) Gesture and body language
3) Face (especially eyes and mouth)
4) Using real-life subjects (even photographs) to find the right expression and mood
5) Context and atmosphere
6) Fresh eye
7) Your emotional (and mental) state

It was a really good presentation, and I took lots of notes!

Next came a presentation by local author/illustrator Brian Biggs, and it was AWESOME.  Brian talked about his process illustrating an upcoming picture book written by Mac Barnett called NOISY NIGHT.  Trust me, it was a real treat seeing the work behind illustrating Mac's manuscript: working on pacing, character, design, color and typography.  The good news? It's going to be a hit, for sure.  The bad news? We have to wait until early 2017 for publication.  Keep your eye out for it!

Agent Heather Alexander from Pippin Properties, Inc. was the next speaker and she talked about developing an illustration brand and career path.  She shared her lists of do's and also advice from some of the illustrators she represents.   My favorite? A quote by Jennifer P. Goldfinger -- "Knock it off and get it done!"  I can get pretty overwhelmed sometimes and insecure, and I'm going to write that down and put it next to my art table.  Another good advice? Find the social tool you feel more comfortable with and stick to it, do what feels organic to you.  So, here I am, back to blogging :-)  

And if all this was not enough, I also got to connect with other illustrators like Merrilees Brown, Val Jones, Rebecca Thornburgh, Kelli Thrasher-Brooks, Patricia Kreiser, Virginia Law Manning, Annie Raulerson, Nelda H. Horwitz, Lisa Kahn Schnell, Berrie Torgan-Randall, Kathryn Howard, and many others!