On March 19–20 I attended my first Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators MD/DE/WV regional event in Buckeystown, Md.
Saturday morning began with the keynote speaker Betsy Bird, followed by the choice of five out of 15 total lectures to attend. Many of sessions were geared towards writers, such as “Composing the Query Letter” by Victoria Selvaggio, “Write to Inspire: Work for Hire” by Kara Laughlin, “Writing with Pictures: Considering the Pictures When Writing for Picture Books and Graphic Novels” by Traci Todd, and “Revising a Novel from the Author’s and Editor’s Perspectives” by Andrew Harwell and Nanci Turner Steveson.
I was able to attend a few sessions explicitly for illustrators and designers. This included Simon and Schuster’s Mallory Grigg’s session, “So, You Want to Get Published?” and Scholastic’s Cartwheel’s Jess Tice-Gilbert’s “What Makes a Great (Novelty) Picture Book.”
On Sunday, I joined Grigg and Gilbert’s three-hour in-depth session on balancing typography with design. I also had the opportunity to have my portfolio reviewed.
Attending a conference such as this is also a way to network with other creative professionals in your region — writers, designers and illustrators and to learn more about your craft. If you have the opportunity to attend a regional conference in your field, it may be well worth your time. There is always more to learn.