Was this past weekend. Wow. What a well-done and educational event. I gave a talk on "The Nuts and Bolts of Illustrating Children's Books" on Friday, along with giving four portfolio reviews. They went very well, and I got to see some wonderful talent. I also talked about "Two for One: The Illustrator as Writer" on Saturday. That was a much less tangible subject to cover, but the group really participated and I felt like it ended up being a highly worthwhile discussion. Hope everybody enjoyed everything as much as I did.
Of course, the best part was I finally met one of my critique buddies, Karen Lee, face to face. We talk almost every day, and yet we'd never met. The internet is so strange that way - but wonderful too. She was just as awesome and easy to talk to in person as she is online. Check out her wonderful art at her website: Karen Lee.
We got to spend some great time with Donna German, Editor of Sylvan Dell Publishing. If you aren't familiar with them, check them out. I was so impressed with their dedication to high quality work and fair contracts for all involved. Expect to hear a lot more from this house, and especially to enjoy "One Odd Day" (illustrated by Karen Lee) when it comes out in October of 2006.
We also spent some good time with Mark McVeigh, Senior Editor of Dutton Children's Books. What a genuinely nice guy. He was very honest about the business, even the bad parts, which was extremely helpful to everyone. And just to have the viewpoint of someone so experienced in the business was worth the trip all by itself.
So, all said, it was a thoroughly enjoyable event. If you have the chance to attend next year, I highly recommend it. SCBWI-Carolinas is top notch.
I guess I may as well announce it - Stan and I are moving. Our offer was approved on a new house in Atlanta. So, we leave the mountains . . . Gotta say, I'm so looking forward to good restaurants and being around people again. This has been an incredible launching pad for my children's book career - but I'm ready to return to civilization.
I drew this a while back - a gnome village built into the roots of a huge tree. I pass several trees that look move-in ready for a gnome family every day. Wish one day I'd walk by and notice a little door, or a window . . .
Thanks for all the great comments! I've uploaded a larger version so you can see the details - just click on the image.