Ruth Sanderson - Fantasy illustrator, and former Chair of the MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating program at Hollins University
R. Gregory Christie - Multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner
MJ Begin - author of over a dozen picture books, teacher at RISD, Lynda.com, and current Chair of the MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating program at Hollins University
Brian Lies - NYTimes Best-selling author/illustrator
Ashley Belote - debut illustrator
and last, but not least, Eugene Yelchin - Caldecott and Newbery-winning author/illustrator
Students especially loved the bears and old swords on the wall in Eugene's studio! Many thanks go out to these generous creators, they all know to ask the same in return if the opportunity should arise. (Although, most said their talks were in thanks for featuring them on my blog over the years - I'm still grateful.) It was still a reminder of how much I enjoy being a part of this community of kind people.
While their talks were specifically for my students, for my students to get cultural credit for attending, I had to open them up to the entire campus. As a result, these very targeted industry and method talks ended up informing a wide audience of non-artists as to just how much work and skill goes into creating the books we do. I received so many lovely emails to that affect, saying they had no idea how labor-intensive it was to be a children's book creator. So, not only did my students get to benefit from these skilled creators' knowledge, but we opened a few eyes as well. Win! Win! This has definitely been one of the silver linings of Covid.