Laini and I got home late last night after one fanTAStic 3-day trip to Seattle! (well, Bellevue, WA to be exact). We were attending the above-titled conference and while we would have had an unbelievably good time regardless, being first-time faculty made it even more special and fun (and stressful too I must admit! :) A HUGE "Thank You!" to Sara, Jolie, Laurie, Jaime, and countless others in organizing such a successful event!
Here's a small photo collage from some of our good times this weekend with just a fraction of the amazing people we had the pleasure of interacting with:
Our weekend was made so tremendous by being able to spend time with so many kind and talented folks. A GIANT special thanks to Arthur Levine of Arthur A. Levine Books for spending so much time with us to discuss Laini's upcoming book that I'm (YAY!) doing the art and cover on--fun and exciting brainstorming sessions that I'm so thrilled to be involved in! The top left pic is of Arthur, Laini, and me on the last (sniff sniff) day of the conference. Always so sad to say goodbye to Arthur and see the conferences end!
We also really enjoyed spending so much time with Laurent Linn (Art Director with Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers) and sharing our mutual appreciation of cool dress shirts for men. Word on the street was that he knocked everyone's socks off with his Sunday afternoon presentation. That's me with him (in the middle) on the upper right-hand pic. We were enjoying lunch with the very artistic David Hohn and a table full of other amazing talents.
In the next row of pics is the very successful and SO fun to talk to agent Kate Schafer, (Laini and me), Jolie Stekly and Sara Easterly (2 of the main uber-organizers of the weekend), and the busy author Royce Buckingham (when does he sleep? So many books and screenplays on the horizon for him!). To the right of that pic (and in the center of the next row too) is Laurie Thompson, who also is very much responsible for such a smooth and HUGE conference weekend. As you can see in that second pic with her, my birthday fell on last Friday and I was treated to some surprise b-day Mochi at the sushi restaurant we were chowing down at that night! Thanks for remembering SCBWI ladies!!!
The 3rd row of pics has Laini with the very dance-y, REALLY fun, award-winning Author/Illustrator Margaret Chodos-Irvine.
The last row has the SO sweet and kind-hearted award-winning author Kirby Larson, and the talented and FUNNY Jaime Temairik in the first pic, and a plethora of others with yours-truly in the final frame. They include the cool agent Stephen Barbara, author/illustrator Jim Averbeck, the fun and influential Elizabeth (Fuse #8) Bird, Jaime again, the always smiling and sweet Kim Baker, the author Joni Sensel, and Sara Easterly again. (It should be noted that the last photo I just described was taken during the drinks night on Friday and MAN can Laini and I par-tay it up! (At least we planned to.) Knowing how INSANE we can get at a club, we opted for leaving at about 10pm instead of the inevitable getting-kicked-out-at-3 a.m. if we would have let loose (yeah right! :)
Also, Laini and I each had "breakout workshop sessions" that we put together and presented (thus the "stress" I mentioned above). Public speaking doesn't make me too terribly nervous, but I wanted to provide some valuable information to others that were hoping to make the most out of their conference weekend -- I hope I was helpful in what I covered. Thanks to those who took the time to attend and participate, it was GREAT fun! Here's a panoramic pic from the front of the room of some of those in attendance (a few more trickled in as I spoke & thanks to you too!):
While I covered a variety of basic career info, some conference attendee tips, and some "what makes a good cover" info, hopefully my over-arching message of "MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TIME AT THE CONFERENCES YOU ATTEND!!" hit home. And for those of you wanting to write or make art professionally, I can't recommend strongly enough that you attend conferences like this as often as you can afford to (and really, you can't afford not to...)