Through the Looking Glass

That's what going to LA SCBWI Summer Conference feels like. Wandering into a fantasy world populated by fantastical authors and illustrators, new friends of all nationalities, heads on sticks and, um, fighting monkeys.

Let me explain:
Fantastical authors - Gary Paulsen, Bruce Colville, Judy Blume to mention a few. That fantastic enough for you?
Fantastical illustrators - Paul O' Zelinsky, Richard Jesse Watson, Denise Fleming, David Small, Kadir Nelson, Marla Frazee, Jerry Pinkney. Amazing.

Someone said to me that being at the LA conference was a lot like speed dating, and you know it sums it up. Awesome people everywhere you turned and so little time before rushing off to the next great breakout session.

Did I learn a lot? Yes. Did I make new contacts? Yes. Did I have a good time ... er, yes :-)

The heads on sticks and fighting monkeys will be explained by the following photos ...

With the awesome Debbie Ohi

the Pixel Shaving's Gang (see heads on sticks)
Fred Koehler, Sheri Barnes, Moi, Debbie Ohi, Russ Cox

Fred and Russ hangout with the famous Emma Dryden

Lin Oliver interviews Judy Blume

View from our hotel window.

The Fighting Rave Monkeys explained courtesy of the talented Charlene Ellen

With the lovely Paul O. Zelinsky and Fred Koehler gets in on the act.

I also made notes and sketches at the illustrator's intensive day (SUCH A GREAT EXPERIENCE!) and if you would like to read them they are on Facebook at this link Illustrator Intensive Notes 

The SCBWI really excelled themselves this year, especially with the intensives.

The thoughts that I brought away were that I need to really work on discovering my passions in my work and not focusing so much on the passions of others. Although my portfolio got good feedback, I still haven't found what I really want to do with my artwork.

My website and portfolio online have had a makeover (again!) it's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge ... you have to start over as soon as you have finished. Take a look at Will be glad to know your opinions.

Also I started a new sketchbook blog at I am liking this because it auto posts to Facebook and Twitter. Shamelessly copying Dan Santat here, but what is good enough for him is good enough for me.

Anyway - it was straight back into work on my return. The finals are due for the next 2 'All Star Cheerleader' chapter books by the end of August and I tell you my ink dipping pen is frantic. Talking of which, time to start work.

Thanks for dropping by

Books on the Bedside Table

Burned - Ellen Hopkins
Lemonade Mouth - Hughes