Quite a busy 2011 so far!
In late January, I returned to New York City to attend the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Winter Conference. The conference brought in a large number of children's book writers and illustrators from around the country. It was very educational and inspiring to meet other creative people in the industry and listen to speeches by successful, well known authors and illustrators. The most beneficial attributes of the conference were three workshops that I attended. These workshops, or presentations, were each lead by an art director from a prominent book publisher: Simon & Schuster, Viking (Penguin) and Little, Brown & Co. Each art director shared their professional knowledge and insight into the children's book industry. They also accepted sample postcards from the attendees who participated in these workshops. While in NYC, I took the opportunity to present my portfolio to art directors at a number of children's book publishers and received valuable feedback.
In March, my fellow MFA students and I reunited again for an exciting week in San Francisco. We had the great opportunity to meet a number of talented and professional illustrators from the Bay area and hear them speak about their work. We also participated in two field trips while in Northern California. The first was a bus ride to San Jose to see the large collection of illustrations owned by "Bunny" Carter, an instructor at San Jose State and the Hartford Art School. The illustrations, many of them created during the first half of the 20th century, were wonderful and inspiring. The second trip was to LucasFilm at the Presidio in San Francisco, where we were able to have a rare tour of the facility and see many of the authentic props and models used in various LucasFilm movies. Murray Tinkleman, the director of the program, and a few of the instructors from the Hartford Art School also participated in the trips. On the final day, we had the critique for the NYC trip assignment, in which the students had to create an illustration with a New York City theme. Below is the piece I produced, which can also be seen in the Portfolio page of my website, Studiofmtrauts.
In the last few months, I had the opportunity to teach a few illustration classes. The subject in both classes was how to illustrate children's books. It was a pleasure to share my knowledge to a group of students who were eager to learn. On the last day, many of the students commented that they enjoyed the class and learned much from it, for which I was happy and grateful to hear. I am scheduled to teach more classes later this Spring and through of the Summer.