SCBWI Western WA is...Superlative!

To honor a terrific and inspiring weekend of children's book, authors, illustrators, agents, publishers, and librarians... I did this intense little drawing of an angry looking kid??

I'm also going to up the volume on my "spare time" drawing efforts :) I love the work that I'm doing, but I'm currently addicted to a heavier brushstroke-darker-printmakier sort of drawing. Here's to a lifetime of experimentation -- a constant search for superlative -- to throw out one of Mo Willems' words of the weekend. I also liked his "philosophy" for treating the finished book like the work of art -- the sculpture -- and all of the various drawings along the way -- even the finals images -- like just so many shavings of wood. Less in-love with individual drawings. The sum is greater than its parts...

Really, a great conference. From picturebooker Mr. Willems to YA rabble rouser Chris Crutcher, there were many humorous and insightful speakers. I especially enjoyed seeing/hearing Arthur Levine and Librarian Bloggeratti Elizabeth Bird (AKA Fuse # 8) in action -- and Marcia Wernick of the Sheldon Fogelman Agency has me seriously considering the value of such a partnership.

The icing on the cake was a successful effort to emerge from my typical conference bubble -- and to actually talk to people! Usually, when I'm not presenting, I retreat and observe. This time around I did a better job of saying 'hello' and meeting some folks. Not going bonkers mind you, I think I spoke to 3 people at the wine and cheese "social", but way better than usual. Chats with Laini Taylor, Jim Di Bartolo, David Hohn, and Paul Schmid make the shortlist of highlights. A special nod to Simn & Schuster art director Laurent Linn (who I've now met in person - yay!) for the extended conversations beyond our dummy consultation, and to Dial editor Jessica Garrison for the improptu portfolio chat. Thanks to all!

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