|More palm trees!|
But, I digress. Here we are to wrap this puppy up with day 4. It was a grand day. If only all Mondays could take place at conferences amongst wonderful creatives who are passionate about children's literature. We missed the opening Keynote on middle grade novels, so we begin with Paul Fleischman's Keynote on 'Surviving the Novel'. He passes along some good tips such as keeping a file for unused lines, saving several versions of your manuscript and emailing it to yourself. He says writing a picture book is like writing a screenplay. Use Google Street View to see what your character might pass along the way.
Next is 'A View From the Top: 4 Publishers Discuss our Industry' with Justin Chandra, Jennifer Hunt, Stephanie Owens Lurie, & Francesco Sedita. I've got a lot of detailed notes here, but Team blog did an excellent job of creating informative posts on each speaker, so click the names to get the full breakdowns. I do have highlighted that Francesco said to 'write for yourself first'. and once again we hear to NOT write to the trends. As Justin says, 'If everyone goes home and writes to the trends then the vampires win'.
The Path of Dreams
I'm going to try to do an especially through job with this one for my friend, Juana Martinez, who was unable to attend Monday's sessions, and who loves John's work. John Parra told us of his family influences and how after he won the Society of Illustrators award he took the leap and moved to NY knowing that he wanted to commit himself to an illustration career. He knew the beginning would be financially tough, but his goal was to be happy, and art was the only thing that would fulfill that. In his process he goes through many sketches and likes to add layers of details to his paintings to create a whole universe, an ecosystem, rich with symbolism. He shows us the piece in the photo, aptly titled, 'Todo Cambia', as it was a style change that took him in a new direction. His books typically take him 7 months during which time he's also working on other projects. John didn't seek out to be a children's book creator. He was approached, and jumped in not knowing much about it. He likes to create an old fashioned look by sanding off layers of paint to make the piece look like something that was found in your attic. He also does commercial work. He shows us examples of his picture library of images collected for each project. John says it's important to be a part of the art community. It is part of the process. Don't shut yourself off. Get involved in local arts groups. Personally, I've found this to be important as it was only when I started reaching out to other artists online and in real life that my creative process really took off. John says luck = opportunity meeting preparedness.
Creating Picture Books - My Process
I'd been looking forward to this workshop since being able to talk to Loren Saturday where he told us some of what he would be covering. Loren begins by telling us that he attended Steven Malk's talk on Sunday, not for himself, but to gather info for us, because that's the kind of workshop guy Loren is. :) What he gathered was a clearer definition of a literary agent as someone who represents writers and artists where as an art rep will get you work for magazines, advertising projects, etc... The other point was, at his last session when asked about the 1 or more styles question, Loren told us what he had always been told which is to only show one style, but Steven Malk and Loren's art director both recently said it's actually a positive to show 2-3 styles if they're all very accomplished.
Loren says the editor, art director, and illustrator work together in full collaboration. The illustrator can can ask them to break up the text for the page breaks. He shows us his beginning thumbnail sketches which set the mood for the entire story, and his process to the final, to scanned art, and finally mailing it off after his whole family kisses the box.
Closing Keynote: A tender Bridge
If you had told me I'd be chanting poetry with 1136 people at the conference I never would have believed you, but it was the absolute most perfect way to round out an incredible 4 days. Ashley puts power into words like no one I've ever heard before. When I returned home I could still hear the rhythm of his voice in my head, and I found myself chanting lines in my apartment, and in my version there was also some dancing.
Jennifer Gray Olson, who I recognized as someone who's participated in Illustration Friday. I tend to remember the IF peeps! I was sad that Loren Long's 'Otis' had sold out because as Loren told us 'Otis' makes an excellent Christmas gift, but I was able to pick up a copy of his 'The Little Engine That Could', which he said has been the greatest honor of his career to illustrate.
It was so wonderful meeting so many authors and illustrators over the course of the event, and reconnecting with friends as well. I was so glad that my author friend Natalie Rompella, who I met just before I moved away from Illinois spotted me in the crowd.
So, after the books were signed it was over, but certainly not forgotten. Linda drove us to Rodeo Dr. so I could snap some touristy-type photos and get a little sense of LA before my red eye flight back home.
Now, there's already a big buzz of excitement among my fellow kidslit illustrator friends about next year's conference, and if we all end up being able to make the trip a very grand party it shall be!
So far, the following folks have expressed interest in attending. If you would like to be added to the list let me know in the comments section.
The LA 2011 crew!! >>>
Andi Butler, Linda Silvestri, Jannie Ho, Tracy Bishop, Laura Zarrin, Nina Crittenden, Joy Steuerwald, Diandra Mae, Lynn Alpert, Kristi Valiant, Bonnie Adamson