SCBWI 2012 Winter Conference: A Win-Win Situation

News & Events

I returned to the SCBWI Winter Conference after not going last year. I went on a whim and, wuddayaknow, it was my best experience yet.

The first two times, I went as an illustrator. This year, I switched sides and went as a writer. It’s cheaper to go as a writer. Illustrators have to spend money on a physical portfolio and there’s even an extra fee to participate in the illustrators’ showcase, the event where¬† New York’s art directors come to look at work.

After dinner on Saturday night,¬† I went to the illustrator’s mixer and got a contact for an illustrators sketch group that meets monthly here in Brooklyn. I also talked to Peter Brown. I met him years ago when he gave a talk at the Brooklyn Public Library, and he remembered me. Or at least he faked remembering me really well.

I had two wins at the conference. My first win was for one of my entries to the themed joke contest. That recognition went a long way towards convincing me that this group can get my sensibilities. After making that connection, I noticed just how friendly everybody was. It’s a totally supportive environment. Vicious people don’t write books about bunnies and frogs. The second win was a door prize, a subscription the Horn Book Magazine.

Again, they had some big names give keynote talks. Kami Garcia and James Dashner did the most for me. I used the $15 gift certificate I won in the joke contest to buy Dashner’s The Maze Runner. Then I went to the library and found Garcia’s Unbreakable. The synopsis on the back was laugh-out-loud preposterous, but in the best way.

I hear that the Summer Conference in L.A. is even bigger. Maybe I’ll go.

Father & Son Art Project 2: Forest Witch

Father and Son Projects

Once again I found myself needing an idea for a character. It was another deviantArt creative challenge, this one calling for a witch/warlock, dragon/monster or steampunk warrior.

I remembered a drawing my son did in my sketchbook.

WaltDrawingIt looked like a kabuki scarecrow, to me. With that as inspiration, I made this:

Forest WitchThe Forest Witch is a practitioner of earth majick and her familiars are the raven, the fox and the giant centipede.

When I showed Walt the finished piece, he told me that the original sketch was of a robot.

Flying Machine



Saw my stats for 2014 and was surprised to see that I only posted three times in the whole year.

Then I wasn’t surprised. I haven’t been on top of this blog. I’ve been working, for sure, but I haven’t been posting that work here. I’ll try to make up for that starting with this: something I created for a competition on deviantArt. The mission was to illustrate a gift for someone special in my life.

When my son’s 2nd grade class was asked to write their hopes and goals for the coming year, and how they would achieve them, most of the the kids wrote about practicing math or soccer, or making more friends. My son wrote, “My hope for myself this year is to make a flying machine. I will work on it by collecting cardboard boxes, broken lamps, magnets, and more.” This flying machine is for him.