Over the weekend, I went to Illustrator Day 2016 held at Bucks County Community College in Newton PA with my friend Cayla. Illustrator Day is held by the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (scbwi). Cayla, one of my friends from art school, invited me to go along to this event with her. She had gone the previous year and really enjoyed it. I thought the event sounded like it would be valuable, so I decided to join her.

Part of the workshop was to create an illustration for Caterina and the Perfect Party by Erin Kono. We didn’t have any limitations on this assignment, we just had to finish and submit our piece a week before the workshop. The book is about a little bird who is throwing a party. She wants every detail to be perfect, and a storm comes and ruins her party. Well, that’s what she thought at first. She realizes that all she needs to have a perfect party are her friends!

I decided to illustrate when the storm comes and rains on her party.

As part of the workshop, art director, Lily Malcom from Dial Books critiqued everyone’s piece. It was fun to see which scenes everyone illustrated, and hear Lily’s thoughts on all the pieces.

Judy Schachner came and gave a lovely presentation about how she creates her characters and writes her stories. It was so inspiring to hear about her process and actually see some of it! She creates Character bibles for each of her characters, which allows her to fully develop the character and the world they live in. She brought in her character bibles for Dewey Bob and a piece that she is currently working on. I love the idea of having a dedicated space for the character, and was fascinated to learn that she spends years developing these characters.

Another interesting speaker was Stephen Barr, a literary agent at Writers House. He spoke about the process of submitting work to an agent, the relationship between an illustrator and their agent and his role in getting a client’s work in front of the right people. One of his clients, illustrator-author Jennifer Hansen Rolli was also at the workshop. It was really interesting to hear them talk about working together and how they worked on her first book.

Overall, I really enjoyed the workshop! I loved meeting other illustrators in the area and seeing what kind of work they do! I think the speakers that came to the event were fantastic, they were inspiring and down-to-earth. I left the workshop full of ideas to start working on my own children’s book!

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