I was able to sit back and enjoy the fabulous speakers - Neal Porter of Neal Porter Books (Roaring Brook/Macmillan), Giuseppe Castellano (Art Director for Penguin Random House), Bill Mayer (illustrator), and Loraine Joyner (Art Director, Peachtree Publishing). They all gave fantastic and informative talks about their expectations and industry practices. Prescott enlisted the help of two volunteers for the Quickfire Portfolio Reviews and I have to admit, it ran better than ever.
In fact, Prescott called me up on stage at the beginning of the day to thank me for creating Illustrators' Day and being a friend and mentor - so sweet. And truly - I found myself quite emotional over the fact that I had created this valuable resource for budding illustrators (some who were attending for the first time and had no idea who I was), that will now grow with new direction and live on without me. Isn't that the highest tribute of all?
Do you volunteer for the SCBWI? Can I give you an insider secret to improving your career goals as a children's book author and/or illustrator? Volunteer! My years of service put me in an elite position to get to know our visiting speakers in a more casual and intimate way than simply being in their faces during the conferences. In fact, I picked up Neal and Giuseppe from the airport and took them to lunch, so had lots of time to get to know them as people - which was a treat. They're both great guys and I so enjoyed their company. So, VOLUNTEER and get so much more out of your own SCBWI!
Here's Prescott saying "thank you" to me. Pic by Robyn Hood Black.