SCBWI WWA Conference: Absorbing the Goodness

Matt de la Peña, Bruce Hale & Melissa Sweet signing books

Matt de la Peña, Bruce Hale & Melissa Sweet signing books

I came home from the conference exhausted but full in the best way. The richness of the faculty, their personalities and presentations, and the great gift of being in the room with friends and strangers, each a creative force, always overwhelms me at some point during the weekend. Sitting on the patio with my husband at the end of Sunday I tried to recount my experience, the keynotes that resonated, the workshop sessions that brought new tools and food for thought, the many conversations and personal connections sprinkled throughout the conference. I know I’ll have to sit with the weekend in order to absorb it in full, but some things are vivid for me – already percolating in the work and in me.
The keynotes:

This year I did a fair amount of reading and internet trawling before the conference, trying to learn about the work of the faculty, and I was glad I did. When illustrator Melissa Sweet gave her keynote about her work, using Balloons Over Broadway to show us how she develops a project and creates a book, I already knew and loved it so that the 5-year journey she described had deeper meaning for me. It was fabulous to see her source material, her research and development, her thumbnails and dummies, and most especially her passion for the work. Melissa is an artist who could do nothing else but what she does, and one who sets an exceptionally high bar for the rest of us.

Bonnie Becker’s Bear and Mouse books are beloved by kids and a sure thing for adults when a picture book is needed. She chose to accept her Crystal Kite Award, voted on by regional SCBWI membership, before her keynote. I loved how Bonnie always wants to have written what she loves as a reader – she quoted from Anna Karenina – but how she has come to realize that her best books come from the very heart of who she is. Something too scary or embarrassing to write about? Chances are that’s your personal gold as a writer. Again and again during the conference the intellectual curiosity, wide reading, idiosyncratic approach and personal mission of the writer and illustrator came forward in conversation and presentation alike. Bonnie’s personal, direct and honest story captivated me and has stayed with me as I sit with the conference, trying to absorb the experience and all of its useful goodness.

Tomorrow: Bruce Hale, Rachel Vail and Matt de la Peña

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About Tina Hoggatt

I am an artist and writer and work for 4Culture, King County's cultural arts organization.
This entry was posted in kidlit, scbwi. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to SCBWI WWA Conference: Absorbing the Goodness

  1. You’re such a generous poster Tina! I love the pictures. Great to see Bonny, my old crit pal (“CP” (P for Partner)) they say in New Zealand where Kim Koning reigns (koning = king in Dutch). Chartreuse goes well with her, Bear and Mouse. I remember reading the very first versions, you could say our group stood at the crib of the duo ;-) a whole bunch of coeing midwives.

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