Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Welcome to Our House

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Arizona held their 5th annual "Welcome to Our House" Conference this past Saturday. This year's theme was "It takes a Village: From Craft to Market and Beyond". The event, held in Scottsdale, was another great success. It was so cool hearing how each speaker used the theme, It takes a village... in their presentation. The full day event included individual manuscript critiques, portfolio reviews, a presentation from three editors, (Pamela Bobowicz, Sarah Cloots, and Alexandra Cooper) one designer director, (Sara Gillingham) and one literary agent, (Maircia Wernick) Up Close and Personal Breakout Sessions, and First Page/First Illustration panel discussions.

It was a great day for talking shop, meeting up with old friends, and meeting new cyber-space friends in person! Each member of the faculty shared some background on the publishing house they are at or agency they work for. What books they are working on or recently finished. What has been a success for them. What books they like. And what they are looking for in submissions.

The Setting

The Conference Room

The Crowd

The Presentation
(Alexandra Cooper)

The Design Director
(Sara Gillingham with illustrator Amanda Shepard)

The Agent
(Marcia Wernick and me)

The Breakout Session

The "First Page"

The"First Illustration"
(boy that's big!)

The Wait

The Critique

We heard a lot about voice from everyone, include the design director. I found this very interesting. I took it as meaning that your "style" is like your visual voice. Which makes a lot of sense to me. I know that's what I have been trying to develop for the last two years. As far as writing goes, I felt like the first page session best defined what "finding your voice" is. Just hearing the story read out loud, and the reactions from the panel, seemed to make something click for me. I started to feel like I knew which one had a "true" voice before the panel even commented on it. I know it is something that will carry over the next time I sit down to write.

On a personal note: I had a very good portfolio review and a good reaction from the First Illustration panel! OK, it was a really good reaction. More than I could have hoped for!


Angela said...

I loved seeing your fishbowl up on the screen! It looked GORGEOUS that big! It was fun hearing the oohs and aahs too. What I like is that it took a few seconds...it was like there was the obligatory "ooh" when it came up and then the second response of surprise and delight.
Congrats on a great portfolio review too.

Janni said...

I thought it was fascinating to hear the talk of needing more expression--as well as a point of focus--in various folks' art. I know less about what makes art works than what makes words work, so I love learning more about that creative process.

Don Tate II said...

Congratz! You deserve. Thanks for sharing.

gail said...

Hey Angela and Janni. It was great seeing you there. I really did get a lot out of those first pages/illos. But I'm glad I only did the illo. I felt pretty confident with that piece, so I didn't even get nervous about it.

Don, Thanks!!

Jill Corcoran said...

Sounds like a great time. Your fishbowl picture is so beautiful. How exciting it must have been to seen it blown up.

gail said...

Hi Jill C!

Yes! It was a thrill. But I'm sure now where near as exciting as seeing your book in the book store. Oh man, I just realized I never posted my conference notes. I 'll have to get those up next week.

Glad you stopped by.


gail said...

Conference notes from the Welcome to Our House 2008, that is.