New York, the weather and all that ...

Like you know, last week end New York for the SCBWI winter conference. The weather played havoc with us and flights were canceled out of Portland, ME. It was interesting to think of illustrators and childrens' authors stranded around the country (if not the world ... many international attendees at the conference too). Sitting in airports, working on stories, sketching. Or maybe just stuffing their faces on airport food. But still. A community on the move.

As it turned out Amtrak prevailed and we got to NY only several hours later than planned. Trudged through the snow from Penn Station to Grand Central as theYellow Taxis decided we weren't good enough for them.

So here's what happened:
(There was no champagne but I like the image.) But much beer and cocktails.

And there was partying:

 I learned a lot:
I met old friends and new ones and had lunch with my mentor Priscilla Burris.

I had a GREAT time in the pub with some awesome and legendary illustrators ... (no name dropping today)

I didn't win the grand prize in the showcase :-(

We went out and DINED 

And then it was all over and time to fly home. 

To more snow.

I have been reflecting on the year since the last conference in NY. My first back then with the SCBWI. I knew no-one, and I knew little about the business. This year I knew a heck of a lot of people and am far more educated in the ways of publishing. It DID feel like coming home.
Had time to nip over to the Gift trade Show at Javits Centre (thanks to a complimentary ticket), and checked out the licensing exhibitors. It's something to think about, but not sure if it is something I want to devote time to right now ...

It felt very empty in the studio on my return. I was talking about this with a fellow illustrator this week. How hard it is to leave the 'womb' esp. in a cold winter. The effort gets harder. You say 'I should go out - I need to be amongst people - I need to be stimulated', and then when you go out, or away to a conference, you are longing to get back to your hole, your drawing board, your computer, your pen and paper. There must be a little of the agraphobic in all those who work alone for most of the time. So there we were in New York, a conference full of nutballz.

This week ... back to work ... slowly, but surely. The chapter book looks like it is a goer (contract next week) so I am a happy bunny ... 2 books to work on!

Decided to give up the agent search for a while. I am happy with what's going down, and this week I will make a concerted effort to submit the math book series I worked on last year. I haven't really sent them out yet, and now is the time to give them some attention.

I am off for some R&R in front of the tele. 'im indoors went skiing today (!!!!!) so he is soaking in the hot bath. You won't catch me throwing myself down the slopes.

Signing off for this week ...

aka The Wacky Brit

On the Bedside Table:

Benny and Penny - Geoffrey Hayes
SockSquatch - Frank W Dormer
I'm Bad!Kate and Jim McMullan

Sneezles and Wheezles ...

Yikes! It's been pretty flippin' cold here in the Northern reaches of New England. -17F or thereabouts a couple of nights ago. And to accompany the arctic blast I succumbed to flu-ish sneezing and coughing and spent a good deal of time feeling miserable in bed this weekend. And to cap it all 'im indoors had gone off on a jaunt (tsk tsk) to New Hampshire so I had to fend for myself, crawling from my sweaty sheets to venture out and feed the horses snow falling, overcoat wrapped round my dressing gown, tartan wellies and furry hunting hat. Am I getting any sympathy? No? Worth a try.

Feeling more human again today and back to the drawing board.

Here's another piece I have been working on for my portfolio to take to NY SCWBI Winter Conference, which is THIS WEEKEND!! YIPEE!

The portfolio is ready, the art showcase piece framed, postcards printed. Can it really be a year since my first SCBWI conference? It seems like much longer. What a lot I have learned. I am traveling down with fellow illustrator Russ Cox and rooming with Toby Speed. I think there will be MUCH partying!!

I have begun work on 'Hidden New Jersey' the book I am illustrating for Charlesbridge, with Anne Lewis from It's a fun joruney around the state, with 'Search and Seek' items on each page. It's going to prove to be a bit of a jigsaw puzzle to lay out, but I am looking forward to it.

Also fresh in the works are illustrations for a chapter book with a San Diego publishing house ... these will be black and white. So hopefully I will be able to give you more news on that soon.

The New Year is shaping up nicely. It was so quiet before and after Christmas I was getting a tad nervous ... but hey ho!

That's it from the Wacky Brit this week. Got some work to finish before I jet off, and packing to do.

More news after the conference!




The Wacky Brit.

On the Bedside Table ... nothing new this week.

And the winner is ...

The winner of the original artwork draw is ... Kim Ardelian! If you see this post before I message you, please send me your address for mailing, in an email. Congratulations and I will be doing more giveaways in the future.

We are deep in winter in Maine. The snow is sparkling and we hit the minus' this week, the only way is UP. I have a little pot of spring bulbs on my mantel and the green spikes sticking through give a hopeful promise of spring. It's a nice thought. But at the moment it's about keeping warm and the pipes unfrozen, the horses fed and gathering with friends in cozy kitchens for laughter and games.

I finished my showcase piece for SCBWI Winter Conference (Yeah!) Here it is ... it's the most complicated piece I have worked on in a long time and I had a good time. I hope it shows. Let me know what you think:

Wish me luck! I'll be leaving on the 27th Jan ... and if you are going to be in NY too let's have a drink!

Just about ready to start on the Charlesbridge book ...yeah! I got a peek at the M/S.So I have a little breathing space. I've been thinking alot about my MG adventure novel. Perhaps I will get my writing head on and press on with it this week. It's been a long time since I visited it.

Also thank you to everyone utilizing the 'KID'S CORNER PAGE' on my blog; it's success has been amazing, the pages are getting lots of hits!

For now - back to the drawing board ...

The Wacky Brit

On the bedside table this week:
HOOKED - Les Edgerton (I am so enjoying this! A great book about Novel beginnings.)
MIRROR - Jeannie Baker