An inspirational weekend - my NJ-SCBWI conference recap June 13, 2011 15:44

Last weekend I attended an amazing children's book writers and illustrators conference at the Wyndham Princeton Forrestal Hotel and Conference Center in Princeton, New Jersey hosted by the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators.



It was a fabulous weekend full of workshops, networking functions, inspirational keynote speeches as well as one-to-one manuscript and portfolio critiques from an impressive list of some of the top editors, art directors, and agents in the country. Kathy Temean, Laurie Wallmark and Leeza Hernandez, who are also authors themselves, are an extraordinary team who work tirelessly to put together one of the best conferences of this kind in the country and this year with the help of over 60 volunteers! This conference and the SCBWI organization as a whole has launched the career of a few authors I personally know. I highly recommend this conference to anyone who is looking to explore the field, refine their craft or even just to meet new friends who share the same passions and aspirations.


One of the highlights of the conference was being surrounded by so many talented and creative people such as these two very talented ladies Lynne Marie (far left), author of "Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten", and Grace Lin (far right), author of the 2010 Newbury Honor book "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" as well as over a dozen other children's books.



Grace Lin was also this year's keynote speaker. It was so inspiring and exciting for me to see an Asian-American woman author/illustrator headline a conference. I was so happy I finally got to meet her in person as I have always admired her work from afar. Our paths have crossed indirectly many times over the years as I started Wanart designing Asian-inspired cards and gifts and she has written and illustrated many childrens books also with Asian-inspired themes. She shared with us her experiences of finding her own voice in her work and her feelings of being labeled a multi-cultural author. She reminded us all to create art from our heart and not for praise or approval and that art rooted in universal truth will connect with an audience that transcends age, race, and culture.


You GO girl!


I had a chance to show off a new piece at an art show for illustrators.



I even got to sign copies of "Greetings from Kiwi and Pear" during a book signing hour and offered people a sneak peek of my new book "You Are My Cupcake" that is set to be released in less than two months! @_@ I sat next to the talented Kat Yeh, author of "You're Lovable To Me" and the recent "The Magic Paintbrush". Because of our last names, we always get to sit next to each other at these SCBWI book signing events which is always such great fun!



As I float back down to earth after such a whirlwind weekend - I feel more motivated and inspired than ever. I also realized as the New York Gift Fair draws near, I really need to find a better way to balance developing new book ideas with my duties of running and creating new stuff for Wanart. Did I mention the summer classes I'm teaching on the business of greeting card design and art licensing at the School of Visual Arts also started last week?! Am I crazy? No, just very, very passionate...I LIVE for this stuff!


love, hugs, and happiness, joyce