Kristen Nobles, Art Director at Candlewick Press, spoke a lot about how you need to present yourself digitally. As most people in the industry mentioned, being on social media platforms isn’t as important as having a really good website.
It requires the following characteristics:
- Professionalism: Do you act professionally in all correspondence and limit your promo mailings?
- Technical proficiency: Have you spent time practicing your craft?
- Appropriateness: Can you illustrated children and show a range of emotion?
I was also very fortunate to take her “Illustrator be Nimble” workshop. We went through the process of creating a fresh character for a well-known nursery rhyme. “Jack be Nimble”. We discussed picture books, and how visual point of view, and placement of objects within your settings all affect the story-telling process.
David Wiesner, an award winning author & illustrator, spoke about his creative process. One of the key points was how important it was to create a 3-D version of your character in Plasticine (or the like) so that you could see your character from many different angles, rather than guessing. By doing so, it’s much easier to illustrate your character as he/she moves throughout different scenes in your book.
He mainly spoke about his book Art and Max, and how it went through so many character and story iterations before developing into this final version. He discussed why he eliminated a lot of extra “Art said” or “Max said” text from the story. By simply using italic text for one character, and regular text for another, this created a more life-like conversation.
Sharon Flake, a multi-award winning author, was one of the final keynote speakers. I think a lot of what she stated resonated with most people in the room. For me, she made me feel that I wasn't alone in this sometimes scary process of submitting my work for review. Some of my favorite quotes of hers include:
- “I think I was born scared.
- This industry is not for wimps.
- When we're not our true authentic selves, the world misses out.”
Thank you to everyone that made this such an awesome conference! It's too bad it's now held very two years. If you were at this conference, I would love to hear about your experience there.