A party in February

Erik KuntzAmy Rose Capetta and Nick Alter made this video of the Austin Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2012 Regional Conference, Something for Everybody. 

I get a kick out of how the thumbnail on YouTube shows me in the crowd, getting a hug from illustrator Marsha Riti. So of course I had to include it here.

Erik, our web designer and webmaster and Nick, our chapter’s social media strategist produced the video around Amy Rose’s wonderful portrait photography. They put it all together on the fly — while the event was still happening, in time to show the attendees at the day’s end.

You don’t want to miss hearing the Muppets in the video’s second half.

My own photos will never be as good as Amy’s — but they’re illustration-centric and include shots of the illustrators’ intensive session by Patti Ann Harris, senior art director for Little, Brown and Co.

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Yes, it was all back in February! But the experience feels fresh still. Highlights for me were a session Patti did with Random House (Golden Books) editor and author Diane Muldrow on the art director/editor relationship at a house  — and a special award that our chapter presented to two of its beloved members:  Authors Cynthia Leitich Smith and Greg Leitich Smith. The award recognized this married pair for being our chapter’s friends/mentors and Ambassadors for the Austin Kid-Lit Community to the world.

I loved how the Girllustrators organized the illustrators’ print and original art donations for the silent auction and ran herd on the portfolio room and portfolio competition (won by Jeff Crosby.) They represented our group splendidly.

Others’ thank yous were given out many weeks ago. But I’ll add mine now — thanks to the Girllustrators, our terrific guest faculty, especially author Lisa YeeDebbie Gonzalesour chapter’s regional adviser (RA) and assistant RA Carmen Oliver, also Meredith Davis, Shelli Cornelison, Samantha Clark, Sheryl Witschorke  and so many volunteers, and Sister Donna Jurick, Ramsey Fowler, PhD. and Rebecca Rodriguez of St. Edward’s University who allowed their beautiful campus to be our base for the second year in a row.

Girllustrators at the conference

The “Girllustrators” who coordinated the Portfolio Showcase and portfolio contest. Left ro right standing are Emma J. Virjan and Shelley Ann Jackson, seated – Divya Srinivasan, Marsha Riti, Patrice Barton and Amy Farrier — with Emma J. Virjan, Marsha Riti, Patrice Barton, Amy Farrier and Shelley Ann Jackson at the Mabee Ballroom at St. Edward’s University. Not pictured are Lalena Fisher, Tiffany Vargas and Amanda Williams.

A Crystal Kite for Patty

Austin SCBWI’s own Patrice Barton joins Michigan SCBWI’s author Shutta Krum in winning a 2012 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for their picture book Mine!

The Crystal Kite is given by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators each year to recognize the best books from 15 regional SCBWI divisions around the world. Peers, children’s book authors and illustrators in the 15 divisions, vote for their favorites.  Mine! was the winner for the Texas-Oklahoma Division.

Last summer we interviewed Patty for Marks and Splashes course students. In this excerpt from video interview Patty did for students of the Marks and Splashes course  she talks about working on the illustrations for Mine! 

 And remembering Maurice Sendak

Who brought many of us back to children’s books — when we thought we’d left them behind long ago.

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Your “Epiphany Essay”

It should have something to do with children’s book illustration, or illustrators or drawing or painting or simply communicating to younger readers with your art.

American painter Aline Rhonie working on wall mural

Aline H Rhonie learned mural painting from Diego Rivera.  She painted the large aviation themed fresco mural in Hangar F at Roosevelt Field.


By it,  I do mean — your epiphany.

What epiphany, you ask.
The epiphany that you’re going to write and tell me about in your essay.

What essay?  I can almost hear you.

Your  essay for the contest to win illustrator Will Terry’s eight video course, Children’s Book Illustration.

Will  Terry's video course on children's book illustration

Tell us that aha insight you had, or were keen enough to see when someone showed it to you or you  saw, heard or read somewhere.

Keep it under 400 words and e-mail it to me at Mark@HowToBeAChildrensBook Illustrator.com

Or leave a comment here on the blog.

Or,  if you prefer, use the form above. If you don’t want to enter the contest, use the form to express where you think children’s publishing is going, or what you’d like to see in the way of  informal online trainings for visual artists.  Your comments will get you a soapbox here.

But they won’t get you the prize.  The prize will go to the writer  of the best short essay about his or her aha moment or uniquely personal learning experience pertaining to drawing, painting or children’s book illustration.

No, your epiphany does not have to be a result of my lessons.  As much as I’d appreciate the references, your essay probably will be scored higher if it’s on your own inspiration or problem solution.

Many good essays already have been turned in since the launching of the contest a few weeks ago. You can enter more than one, by the way. But I want to make this an open competition. Open to everyone — not just those caring, responsible souls who always get their homework in early.

There’s a real deadline, though. It’s this Wednesday (April 6.)   The winner will be announced here Friday (April 8.)

All submitted essays will be published at some point — along with attributions and links to sites and/or blogs, contributors willing.

Thank you to all of you who have taken pen in hand and submitted fun pieces.  Good luck to everyone who’s  been or will be daring enough to try.

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WordPress for Artists workshop

You’ve probably already heard from me, or others how awesome it was.
If you haven’t received an e-mail with the link to the recording yet, you can get that e-mail by signing up for the replay here. Web developer and animator Erik Kuntz of  Square Bear Studio brilliantly walked us through how to install great looking and elegantly functioning picture thumbnail galleries on our WordPress blogs.

If you’ve ever wondered how to get your portfolio up and looking smart on line,  here’s a great way to do it with some free WordPress plug-ins.
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Houston SCBWI Conference set for this Saturday

Get your details and registration form here.   Editors from Disney Hyperion and Scholastic and an art director from Simon and Schuster will present there, along with author-illustrator Ruth McNally Barshaw.  Simon and Schuster art director Laurent Linn will do a 90 minute breakout session with illustrators and portfolio reviews.

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When was the last time you really doodled?

See the amazing Sunni Brown of the  “Doodle Revolution” in the video made of a presentation she gave at Duarte Design. It’s up on my blog, Illustration Course and you really don’t want to miss her or her ideas.

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Courses page

Check out the new Courses page, which compiles all the “ala carte” offerings from the Marks and Splashes course — for those who like their learning in small doses.

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