SCBWI: WWMW Conference 2013

Mixed Media

Howdy partners!  I’m back from the Wild, Wild Midwest conference in Fort Wayne, IN.  One word: inspiring!

Above is the piece that I submitted for the art show.  I consider it an exploration of style, one of my goals for this year.  It’s a combination of my favorite mediums right now: collage, watercolor, and ink.  I really enjoyed the hands-on aspect of it, even as I hoped the glue would hold 😉  And I also got the salt trick to work!

“The Queen of Spades” was inspired by my very own Philodendron.  I promise that no plants were harmed in the making of this piece 😉  My plant did have a few adventures away from its usual tabletop spot in the living room…  I’m just glad it survived!  It’s my only plant.  I credit it to my best friend who gave it to me.  She’s like mother nature when it comes to plants.  I, on the other hand, am known for having a “black thumb.”

In Japanese culture, everything has a spirit, including trees.  Here is my representation of this concept.  In this case, I wanted to capture the spirit of my own plant.  If I were to pitch this piece as a story idea, it would sound something like this:  What would you do if you found out your plant was truly alive?  One illustration concept that art director Laurent Linn mentioned at the conference was the idea that everything in a scene is a character.  I really took his idea literally 😉  He also said that the difference between children’s illustration and other types of art is storytelling and emotion.  You should shape your portfolio around this concept.  Good advice!

Check out other great entries from the Michigan chapter here.

Event photos!

Dinner with illustrators at sushi restaurant: Who could ask for anything more?

One of the best parts about conferences like these are the opportunities to network and socialize with friends 🙂

Jane Yolen and the Naked Mole Rat, unlikely friends: One wild Midwest party brought them together

I’m sure you all know Jane Yolen.  She’s considered ‘The Hans Christian Andersen of America.’  BUT, did you know she teamed up with the Naked Mole Rat, star character of Mo Willems infamous book: Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed?  It just goes to show, friendship develops in unlikely places, including the Wild, Wild Midwest!

All good things must come to an end.  Kathi Appelt, author of Keeper and The Underneath, left us with some great parting thoughts.  She said that all the best words, all the ingredients needed for a great story, start with the letter P.  Brilliant!  Think about it…  Can you guess the final word she mentioned?  POSSIBILITIES!

My friend Katherine Carver challenged me to come up with one word as my theme for the year.  Can you guess what word I came up with?  I mentioned it in a previous post.  Hint: it’s not serendipity, although that is also a great word.

To see how this challenge works, go to her blog.  What will your word for the year be?  Please share!

Cabbagehead Knight

Cabbagehead Knight

Here is my entry for the annual Tomie dePaola Art Award.  We had to choose one of three classic books and create an illustration in black and white only.  I chose Little Women, which I had just finished reading a year prior.  I wanted my image to stand out, so I actually chose to illustrate a story within a story.  What would a knight look like with a cabbage for a head?  Would he feel it or not?  The idea of the brave knight with a cabbagehead is a juxtaposition in and of itself.  This piece represents innovation, transformation, and humility.

Then, to top it off, I drew the final picture using chopsticks and calligraphy ink.  Talk about pressure to get it right!  I had already done several studies of both knights and cabbages in pencil, but they seemed to lack something.  Or perhaps they were simply too careful.  With chopsticks and ink you have to let everything go.  You have to let the art move through you.  It is a way to laugh at yourself and the idea of perfection.  Just like this cabbagehead.  Enjoy!

Check out some of the other fantastic entries.

The forum allows artists to comment on each other’s work.  Here is what some talented entrants said about mine:

“so good.. reminds me of this book I just came across.”
http://childrensbookalmanac.com/wp-content/uploads/Mr-Gumpy-image.jpg

-Brian Won  http://www.brianwon.net/

“So fun! Love his expression, Angela..and chopsticks? Wow! : )”

-Shirley Ng-Benitez  http://www.shirleyngbenitez.com/