With the holiday season over I am finally getting some time to catch up on blogging. In November I attended my first Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) event- Prairie Writers and Illustrators Day, a regional conference for Illinois members. I feel I must state, as someone who grew up falling down the wooded mountains of Pennsylvania, I will never consider myself a prairie writer, illustrator, person. LOL. Just for the record.
I signed up to participate in the portfolio display and also for a portfolio review. This was the first time I put together a printed portfolio of illustration work. I've been working in the fine arts/ gallery arts world for 15 years or so, I am used to showing my work and receiving critique, but this was a new format and new field for me. I was excited and also a bit nervous.
The process of printing all my work the same size and packaging it into a book was a great learning experience. While putting together my printed portfolio it was easier for me to identify specific style inconsistencies and see what type of images I need to add to my portfolio. Surprisingly this was much more apparent than editing digital versions of my illustrations together into an online portfolio. By the time I had my portfolio together I felt like I had learned so much from the process that I should be heading back to the studio instead of putting what I had on display. Isn't that how these things often go?
At the conference the speakers went around a marked their favorite illustration in each book on display. This was very useful to me. Happily two of my new pieces received multiple favorite flags. This reassured me that I am on the right track and also gave some food for thought about what makes these images more successful than others in my book.
I had a lot of fun putting the portfolio together. I purposefully included a bit too much work hoping to receive some feedback about which direction I should follow with my style. After attending the conference I realize my idea of too much was probably way too much.
More about the conference soon!