It is time to attend an SCBWI conference. (In other words, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference.)
Many years ago, when we lived in San Antonio, I met an artist named Joy Hein. Joy created the most captivating detailed artwork I had ever seen. I was an instant fan. She is a very kind and generous person. Joy encouraged me and made suggestions to further my artwork while I was juggling young motherhood and the desire to paint.
In one of our conversations Joy responded to my interest in children’s illustration with the suggestion to join SCBWI. I did. Years passed, my membership was sporadic. I raised my children and worked as a librarian and graphic designer.
Meanwhile, Joy was illustrating beautiful books about Lady Bird Johnson, Texas Wildflowers, David Crockett, and Sam Houston. She knew what she was talking about.
Time has passed, the nest is empty, and the call of children’s literature has returned in full voice. I have courted it with attendance at several SCBWI events over the last two years and produced a few pieces for competitions, like P.J. which won first place last year in an SCBWI regional event.
Pretty soon I will pack the car and drive to Birmingham, Alabama for a conference of the Southern Breeze region of SCBWI.
I will take a stack of business cards.
And a stack of assorted postcards.
To display these cards I will take my decorated suitcase.
To display samples of my work I will take my portfolio and set it on the table designated for artists to show their creations.
And last, but certainly not least I will bring the proof for my first children’s book, Melvin Fine Mouse: First Day of School.
It is always educational and fulfilling to be with children’s illustrators and writers. The camaraderie is warm. The senses of humor a little quirky. These are, after all, people I can talk to about a mouse that wears pants. Not everybody is cut from the cloth that can share a dedicated conversation about things such as how to draw a mouse on a school bus.
And that is what I will take to the SCBWI conference.
By the way, Melvin is available for you to check out at Amazon.