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Monday, May 02, 2016

Picture Hooks Conference 2016

One of the deciding factors in choosing the University of Edinburgh was Picture Hooks. While not run through the Uni, several tutors from the Uni are heavily involved with this illustrator-focused children's books mentoring scheme. When I learned about it, I knew these were my peeps. So, I was thrilled to be able to attend the recent Picture Hooks Conference in Glasgow.
     Glasgow is a train ride away to the west. It takes about 1 1/2 hours give or take, so the day began early. I walked to Waverly Station, which is about five minutes from my flat. From there, the whole world opens to you.
Several of us met up to ride the train together - a gang of children's book enthusiasts. From the left are fellow classmate (fc) Nadee, Nancy French, (fc) Catherine, our hosts, author Vivian French and Lucy Juckes of Jenny Brown Associates, and (fc) Boris.
Once in Glasgow (my first time!) we made the quick walk from the train station to the CCA - Glasgow Center for Contemporary Arts. It's a groovy industrial building that has been converted into a creative space full of galleries, lecture halls and a delicious cafe.
Truly, there wasn't much time for sight seeing, but I did get a shot of this cool art deco building on the way there.
The lecture room filled quickly with friends from the UoE College of Art, and other interested folks. Lucy and Vivian gave a warm welcome, and the day began.
The first speaker was Tessa Strickland of Barefoot Books. She gave great, practical information on publishing, including numbers and the variations in the US vs UK markets, which I found fascinating.
     She was followed by author/illustrator Joel Stewart, who discussed his process and the animation project The Adventures of Abney and Teal. I especially enjoyed his Q&A when our tutor, Jonny Gibbs, asked him about his struggle between Observational and Imaginative drawing. This is something I struggle with as well, so I listened closely.
     Next up was Andrea McDonald, Editorial Director at Penguin Random House UK. She also gave a great talk, yet with a completely different focus from Tessa's. She talked about the work that went into editing and rounding out storylines. I found her insights completely enlightening, and learned a lot from her. One of my biggest take-aways was when she suggested to "Write a book that makes the parent seem like a really good actor and hero for their child." Makes sense.
     The last speaker was Nicki Field of Jelly London, illustration/animation representatives. She spoke at ECA recently, but her message was still strong - do lots of things if you want to make a living at this!
     I enjoyed hanging out with friends and making new ones.

Photo © Astrid Jaekel
And the train ride home was fun as well. Although we were a bit more tired this time. This photo shows Lucy, (fc) Sara, our tutor Astrid, (fc) Boris, and (fc) Catherine.
And apparently Vivian and her daughter Nancy are famous for having their photos taken in this pose. Cute!
Didn't get any photos of me this time - Ha!
     At any rate, it was an illuminating day filled with like-minded peeps, good food, and Glasgow! I've since signed up for all the upcoming Picture Hooks Master Classes and look forward to those. I'm also excited about the mentoring scheme. I'm not sure I'll get in, but I look forward to trying!
     Meanwhile, you can read a great wrap-up article of the day at the Society of Young Publishers Scotland - CLICK HERE.

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