2014 SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC

This is my experience of the 2014 Winter Conference in New York City

It all started with this one image, this cakelustration was the winner of the 2014 Tomie dePaola competition. As my award, the SCBWI gave me an all expense paid trip to the 2014 SCBWI Winter conference in NYC! And the best part, lunch date with Tomie himself!  I am still in awe of my experience!!! I want to share with you my full experience with the talented and generous Tomie dePaola, but that will have to be in another post. So for now I will talk to you about the amazing weekend experience with my new and old friends.


When I arrived, I immediately had to attend the Regional Team meeting where we spoke about what would transpire over the weekend. It was interesting to find out that there were over 1,080 members in attendance this year. I met other Illustrator Coordinators and Regional Advisers, from all over the nation, even from the UK and Australia.

They went to dinner and a show, but I spent time with my cousin and children in the city. We had some delicious New York Pizza!

–––––––––––––––––––Friday Illustrator Intensive–––––––––––––––––

The intensive started off with a bang with Mr. Tomie dePaola himself! Cecilia Yung, Art Director and Vice President, G.P. Putnum’s Sons and Nancy Paulson Books prepared a Q & A about Tomie’s journey as an children’s book illustrator and how he uses the picture book as theater.

Tomie dePaola is an award winning author and illustrator who has won several awards for his works.

“Every book is like a child, you never know what will happen along the way. Once the baby is out, you don’t feel the pain, only JOY!” -Tomie dePaola

Brett Helquist illustrator/author spoke on casting and character development. He said, “you should always Practice, Practice, Practice….”

Paul O. Zelinsky spoke of illustrators on set design -staging.  “Don’t line up things, be aware of the elements, characters, and backgrounds and how they relate to each other.”

Did I mention I had a stow away? A little rabbit named Magic, found his way into my suitcase and traveled with me to NYC.

Remember the Rabbit cupcake topper that I made for Richard Jesse Watson? It met an untimely death with a wild studio cat, so I made a non-edible replacement out of Sculpey. Magic will make a new home in Richard’s studio soon.

He went with me to drop off my portfolio for the Portfolio Showcase. This is a showcase of over 200 illustrator portfolios of conference attendees. They are viewed by several industry professionals during the showcase that happened the evening after the intensives.

At the Illustrator Intensive,

Magic was making friends every where we went.

Sarah Baker and Pricilla Burris

Cecila Yung and Pat Cummings

David Diaz and Lin Oliver

Paul Zelinsky was showing us his process, then of course Magic had to get in on the action.

There were these really delicious candies strategically placed all over the hotel during the conference! As you can see Magic enjoyed them too!

–––––––––––––––––Saturday Conference Day–––––––––––––––

Lin Oliver started the conference with a few statistics and  a short powerful speech from Kristen Fulton. She was a veterinarian who became a writer soon after a life changing event happened to her.

Our first keynote was author Jack Gantos. He stated, “characters can carry a weak plot, but a weak plot cannot carry a character.”

I went to Laurent Linn’s break out session and he talked about how illustrators need to be socially connected through, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and websites. Also illustrators should be using Postcards as a marketing tool. Maybe send out 3 or 4 a year to a selective mailing list.

“Then it was off to lunch with Tomie dePaola!”

I’ll write about this in my next post 🙂

The rest of my day was spent with Tomie and then some time in my room absorbing all that had transgressed throughout the day. Soon it was time to get ready for the evening party! I was the only Texan Regional team advisor for our Texas/Oklahoma table. Pretty surprising, but I guess we do have to travel pretty far to get to NYC.

David Diaz’s daughter, Tina WissnerDavid Diaz, Kary LeeChristine Brallier, and Me

Afterwards we had an after party with Illustrators. Tomie dePaola brought the cake I gave him to share with everyone. It looks a bit deflated. Oh well, it still tasted good.

David Diaz, Priscilla Burris, E.B. Lewis, & Cecilia Yung

David Diaz, Tomie dePaola, Pat Cummings, Paul O. Zellinsky, & Sarah Baker

Tomie and I cutting the cake

Tasting the cake. 🙂

Paul and I cowboying it up!

––––––––––––––––Sunday Conference Day––––––––––––––

Lin, Tomie and I getting ready for the morning announcements.

And drum roll please….

And the winner is Akiko White with her illustration made with cake.

So nice to have my cheerleaders in the crowd.

My daughter and I  – me and my writer friend Tina Wissner

We had a few more speakers before the day was over.

Kate Messner was our next keynote speaker. She was amazing! She spoke on the power of failure. Kate had an opportunity to speak at TED Talks in 2012. She left most of us laughing and crying at the same time. “Failure teaches us to celebrate the dance” –Laura Hamor

Keynote panel on the art of the picture book with Peter BrownRaul ColonMarla FrazeeOliver JeffersShadra Strickland moderated by Arthur Levine.

Autograph Party

Paul O. Zelinsky                                  Oliver Jeffers

Jane Yolen and daughter Heidi E.Y. Stemple

Tomie dePaola

Peter Brown

Tomie dePaola, me, and Lin Oliver

And here are some of the books that I acquired while I was at the conference.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
by akikowhite

Creative mother of three, children's book illustrator, writer and cakelustrator. Represented by Storm Literary Agency.

See more posts by this author

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Christine Brallier

Great post, Akiko! Love the picture of your daughter and Peter. It was a fabulous conference, see you again soon!

1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x