This last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrator's conference at Asilomar in Pacific Grove.
Beautiful place, beautiful people. I love this community and how much they support and encourage each other. At the end of the event, it was determined that we're all a little crazy. I'd never thought of us that way, but I guess we are. Artists and writers are known for following their hearts even when the world is telling them they're silly for doing so.
I took a bunch of crazy notes and met some crazy new friends. We suffered some power outages because Asilomar can't handle our crazy. Seriously, this group of people are the most loving and kind people you've ever met. If that's crazy...then this world don't know what's up.
I learned a lot about how to improve my compositions, which really comes down to focusing on design rather than drawing. I'm re-doing my dummy book and I'm already much happier with the new ideas are emerging.
My portfolio doesn't really speak to childrens lit, and that's ok. But I think I'll do a handful of new images for some classic fables to help strengthen the collection. I'm guessing that it's a lot like performing a cover song. If you give the viewer/listener somehting they recognize, then they can see how you interpret it.
And as for writing, it takes time. I've been journaling radically since I was about 9 but never crafted an entire novel and that's ok. Actually, it's really fun to learn! It's similar to moving around pieces of a puzzle, revealing certain parts of the story at certain times, so the reader is swept away. Harder that it looks, but worth trying.
The workshops were extreemly helpful and inspiring. I walked away having concrete steps to take in order to improve and move forward and some fire to propell me down the tunnel of kid lit madness.
We had a stormy Friday and Saturday, but all of us woke up to an incredible Sunday morning filled with sunshine and roaring waves in the distance. They called to us, so after most attendees left for their homes, a few of us took a long walk along the shore. We built a stone bridge across an ocean stream, admired some hipping and scuttling birds as they searched for sand snacks, and gazed out along a very beautiful part of the California coast.
I took so much away from this weekend. Mostly, that it doesn't matter what the world says about you, just that you follow your heart, which which will lead you to who you really are. You can fight it, but why not let your self fly when you can fly?
Now- time to get to work and make some killer books!