So I went to a SCBWI event entitled: Illustrator Mentoring Program: EVOLUTION RESOLUTION Resolve to Evolve your Illustration Career!
I mean, how awesome does that sound? I spent the night before printing portfolio pieces, and fighting my computer to make my postcards come out how I wanted them. I already knew that I need more “book” art in my portfolio, instead of just prints but thats about it, I am a total newb at this.
I gave myself extra time since I always get lost- and *shocker* there I was wandering around Princeton looking for the right building, but thankfully I wasn’t the only the only one! I met two others looking for it and I knew than that I had met my people :)
I really just loved the whole thing. Even though I lost an hour of sleep with the time change and it was early, even though it was a really long day, and even though I had to drive an hour each way to pick up my kids afterwards. Meeting people, (mostly other women) at different levels and with different backgrounds and with different goals was one of the best parts. I really do love people, although I am a bit awkward and quiet. I’ve discovered that I’m an introvert and thats ok- it doesn’t mean that I don’t like being around people, it just means that I probably need a nap afterwards, or a drink ;) (Thanks Marie Forleo!)
I also got one-on-one time with an art director who worked at Scholastic for 15 years, and is also a published illustrator herself. She gave us a lot of really great resources on where and how to send our art, such as postcards and book dummys. She gave us an inside look of how a book is published, and what art directors look for. We also talked about our websites and portfolios and self promotion after becoming published. It was glorious.
After lunch, we spent some time with an Illustrator Agent, and got to look through a bunch of books that her clients have published, even in various states of publication. She had us do an exercise to make a better bio, where we had to fill out a questionnaire then write one. She read us some really good bios for inspiration. Again I had my portfolio looked at and got some really excellent tips on improving it. One of which is to start using social media prompts to make unexpected illustrative pieces. I already made one if you check out my twitter or instagram you can check it out!
So this is what I have taken away:
- I really want/need to play with gouache
- Use social media to play around with new ideas
- break goals into small manageable tasks
- make postcards personal to the recipient and send out often
- the more words it takes to describe a picture book, the less its working
- take out anything you don’t want to draw again from your portfolio
- use different portfolios for different editors (picture books vs middle grades)
My Goal is to complete my picture book dummy by our next meeting and to continue to improve my portfolio. There are a million other notes I have, but I don’t want to give it all away ;) I want to give a big thank you to Liza Hernandez and Karen Romagna and anyone else who put this together! I am so ready to do this <3