New England SCBWI Conference 2015

This year's annual New England SCBWI conference in MA has to rate as one of the best I've ever attended. Come on - keynote speakers included this year's Caldecott winner Dan Santat and Newbery winner, Kwame Alexander! Kudos to the committee on their choices PRE ALA award announcements! (Someone should have taken a photo of me and Marlo Garnsworthy in floods of tears during Kwame's poetry reading ... that man ... wow).

My first conference in New England was back in 2010. Now it's a home coming. So many friends, old and new, laughs to be had and pervading everything a great feeling of community. In a working life that sees most of us spread around the country, beavering away in lofts, back bedrooms and garden sheds, the camaraderie strikes me afresh at every gathering together of children's book creators.

My workshop on building a career in children's illustration seemed to go down well. (Believe it or not I am always very nervous before presenting!). I do worry about attendees missing info because of my English accent ... so I made a transcript available this year. Speaking in a foreign language can be hard ;-).

I was fortunate during my stay to be invited to the Eric Carle Museum, Amherst to celebrate  Dan Santat's Caldecott medal win , what a wonderful afternoon! We were taken behind the scenes to view rarely seen archives - including the dummy for William Steig's 'Sylvester and the Magic Pebble'. This was a dream time for me - looking at the well known images and listening to the thoughts of Tony DiTerlizzi , Dan Santat and Mo Willems as we poured over the art - precious. 

These moments of community are our own 'magic pebbles'. We take them back with us to our solitary time in the studio and turn them over and over in our minds for inspiration.

Thanks to all the organizers of this year's conference! Looking forward to 2016.


New England SCBWI Conference 2012 - thanks for the votes!

What a great conference! SCBWI New England really pulled it out of the bag this time.

3 great days at Springfield, MA. Over 500 attended and the faculty line up was amazing! Highlights included Harry Bliss, Dan Yaccarino, Harold Underdown, Kate Messner, Jane Yolen, Cynthia Lord, Brian Lies, Heidi Stemple, Jo Knowles ... on and on ... you can check out just what the line up was at

If you are hoping to write or illustrate for children - you can't do better than attend an SCBWI conference and New England is one of the best. In the three years I have been a member it's given me invaluable information, education, contacts and networking opportunities. And best of all - friends who relate to my goals and frustrations. So I say thank you to the organizers and volunteers!

I travelled with Russ Cox (friend and fellow illustrator) from Maine on Friday and it was straight into the deep end with a great 'meet and greet' with top-hole artists and writers at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst. (My first visit and a beautiful venue.)

Before we knew it Sunday rolled around ... and it was time to say goodbye. Russ and I returned to Maine in triumph ... Russ swept the board with two first prizes and the emerging artist award read his take ont he conference and his success here ... and not to be left out I won second prize in the People's Choice category!! Yippee for 'Boy and World '.


Right now my drawing board is overflowing with projects so I had better get my *** in gear.

I'll leave you with a few photos from the weekend and hope to meet you at a conference soon!

 Back in the studio today.

 With a great group of illustrators.
 Signing Casey Girard's Sketchbook Project

 At the Eric Carle Museum

With Harold Underdown and Jennifer Marsh Morris