Wednesday, April 20, 2011

SCBWI-WWA: I want to do it again!

The 2011 SCBWI-WWA was held this last weekend in Redmond (near Seattle). Two exhausting days that went by too fast. Too many things to learn but I tried. Too many new ideas generated in my little brain.

And too many notes to transcribe before I forget what I wrote. My fast-mode long hand is a bit scribbly but I wanted every writing/illustrated gem of wisdom down on paper. Can anyone tell me what a word that looks like ‘rebraration’ means…or maybe that was ‘nedarfacted’? Thankfully there were many live blogs and synopses of almost ever breakout session so I can get a good brain jolt from them and relive those wonderful sessions.

One of the creators of the original Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Lin Oliver, called it the ‘Mercedes’ of local SCBWI conferences. In the end we wanted to be called the ‘DeLorean’ of conferences because it was fun, fast and not like at all like your mother’s ride. And sometimes it even comes with a Flux Capacitor!

Now back to the future to revise my stories and refine my illustrations…

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What’s in an SCBWI Author/Illustrator’s portfolio?

Sorry I haven't blogged for a month but as they say "Life gets in the way when you are making other plans".

I've been busy getting my portfolio ready for the portfolio showcase at the 2011 SCBWI-WWA (Western Washington) Spring Conference in Seattle next week.
However author/illustrators are a strange creature consisting of a talented (hopefully) mix of words and pictures. What do they put in their portfolios? Pictures or words? Or both?

Good author/illustrator are highly sought after because it means the agent, editor or publishing house only have to work with one person, one ego and one royalty. Finding advice and mentorship for an author/illustrator is hard work but after searching and researching I came up with a plan for my author/Illustrators portfolio.

This is my author/illustrator portfolio plan:
  1. My portfolio pages will have a text from one of my own stories and the illustration that goes with it, hopefully highlighting my aptitude for both. I will use only those illustrations that show character, diversity and a unique interpretation of my words.
  2. I will divide the portfolio into two parts: black and white and color. Divide the color and black & white sections into picture book and chapter book illustrations.
  3. Aim for 10 to fifteen pages with content only on the right hand page. The left hand page will be left black.
  4. Choose the illustrations and words the propel the reader to turn the page or wonder what will happen next.
  5. I will use only two or possibly three of styles of illustration. Style is equivalent to the illustrative ‘voice’ agents and editors are looking for.
  6. Composition, emotion and lighting will be as important in my illustrations as spelling, voice and continuity are in my writing.
  7.  I’ll show off my skill depicting people, especially children and my skill with portraying common animals like bunnies and aardvarks.
  8. I will include a couple of completed spreads from my own dummy books complete with illustrations and text to show layout and use space.
  9. I will then lay all my choices out on the floor and put them in order from best to worst. I will ruthlessly toss out the worst regardless of how much I personally love them. Only my best will do even it’s only 8 or 10 pieces.
  10. I’ll print out my final portfolio cover and composed pages (including my name and contact info on each page) and have it all bound at a local print shop. I will make it look as professional as possible.
  11. I will also print out post cards for the interested agents and editors to take with them so they won’t forget me or my talent.
And I will update my website and my blog frequently!