Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Daughter's of Two Nations Book Signing

Our own PALS coordinator, Carolyn Dee Flores and SWTX, board member, Peggy Caravantes had a successful book signing of their book, The Daughter's of Two Nations, this weekend at Barnes & Noble. Another board member, Lupe Flores mediated the event.

Peggy spoke of how important these women were in history, even stating which one of the ladies she felt was her favorite. Carolyn had some beautiful artwork on display for all to see. She talked not only about her technique but also about how the images came to be.

Click this link: The Daughter's of Two Nations to purchase their book.

Lupe Flores, Carolyn Flores, and Peggy Caravantes

Photographed above: Akiko White (with her purse-pet), Carolyn Dee Flores, 

 Cupcakes provided by Akiko White Cakelustrator.

The 2014 Tomie dePaolo winner is...

We're so proud to announce that Illustrator Coordinator Akiko White

has won the 2014 Tomie dePaola Illustrator Award!

Every year, Tomie gives illustrators a prompt. Part of this year's prompt: "Illustrate a poem (see below) in full color for a book of poems that will be "pitched" to parents to read to their babies, toddlers, etc. The poem: 


A sneeze
Is a breeze

Akiko's Winning Submission

From Akiko:

"The poem that Tomie dePaola assigned to us made me immediately think of an elephant with its extremely long trunk. I was also inspired by a children's book that was given to me by my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Clampitt, in 1974: "Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going To Sneeze!" written by Patricia Thomas and illustrated by Wallace Tripp. It is a fun and beautifully illustrated story about an elephant who is about to sneeze, but unexpectedly laughs instead. [For my piece] I used fondant, gum-paste, isomalt (very little for the mouse's whiskers), and the cake is a vanilla yellow cake covered in buttercream. added the font in Photoshop. I almost didn't enter the contest because I had a cake order for a vineyard but [the order] fell through so it allowed me to put my time into this image."

Nice Work, Akiko. Congratulations!

The Tomie dePaola Illustrator Award is given annually to an illustrator of promise chosen by Tomie himself. Akiko will receive full tuition, transportation, and accommodations to the 2014 Winter Confence in New York in February, where the award will be presented. SCBWI will feature her winning piece at the Illustrator Showcase. As a special addition to the prize this year, she will also get to have lunch with Tomie at the conference!

Click here for more info, including runner's-up and the SCBWI's official announcement of the award.

Your Regional Team,
SCBWI Southwest Texas

Monday, October 28, 2013

Richard Jesse Watson Workshop

The Exquisite Balancing Act of Text and Art

Our SCBWI SWTX chapter had the honor of hosting Author-Illustrator Richard Jesse Watson the weekend of October 19-20. On Saturday Richard started with some information on himself and his path to the kid literature world. In 1989 He won the Golden Kite Award and in 2012 He was selected to be a Golden Kite judge. 

Watson studied at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena City College and completed an Art History Practicum in Europe, Russia, and Eastern Europe. He was named an Ezra Jack Keats Fellow by the University of Minnesota. His paintings have been chosen for numerous juried exhibitions, including The Original Art Exhibit, the Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibit, permanent and traveling exhibits with MAZZA Museum, National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature Museum, and Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Attendees where given and assignment to bring to the conference to share. 
As an illustrator we were assigned to do a paradigm shift in the Hundred Acre Woods. 

“What day is it?”
“It’s today.” squeaked Piglet
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

Here is my image of Pooh and the gang at a Texas Rodeo.

The writers also had to do a paradigm shift by putting two well know stories together and fuse them into one picture book

As a group we learned to play with our work and how to let our characters voices be heard.  We were told to come up to the front of the class and create letters out of the shadows of our bodies.

Here one of the attendees Jeff, started to practice his letters before he was assigned one. 

We also had a converstion with our characters to give us a little different perspective on where our characters may be coming from.

Richard also did a portfolio review the following day. He was very incouraging and gave everyone lots of good feedback.

Watson has both written and illustrated published works since 1984. His version of The Night Before Christmas with HarperCollins was a New York Times Bestseller. People Magazine awarded his 1990 Nancy Willard collaboration Best Picture Book of the Year and Publishers Weekly asserts, “Watson’s artwork achieves a startling blend of the ancient and the timeless.”

I would highly recommend Richard for your library visits, workshops and conferences. Not only is Richard Jesse Watson an amazing illustrator and writer, he is a kind and honest person who is willing to share and inspire others through his work.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

SCBWI Austin Conference 2013

My Crazy fluffy purse, Me and Nikki Loftin

I focused on the illustrator E.B. Lewis. Not only because he was amazing, but because I lost all my notes on the other speakers for the Austin Conference. 

 Award Winning Illustrator E.B. LEWIS

The conference got off to a great start with a Presentation from a very talented illustrator, E.B. Lewis. I had met him last year at the 2012 Winter Conference in NY. At that time he was promoting his gallery show. I saw him again at this years winter conference and again in Austin. I really admire him because he comes from a fine art background and really appreciates great art.

In his presentation he mentioned how we must all master the visual language. How just as we learn how to speak another language we must learn how to master illustrating and writing. By learning everything about the publishing world we are essentially learning how to communicate through our craft of writing and illustrating.

E.B. does extensive research on his projects. He even goes as far as traveling outside of the country if he feels that it will strengthen his understanding of the story he is illustrating. He truly catches the emotions of the story through his watercolor illustrations.

When he did school visits for the first time he spoke only about himself and how he came to be. But as he went on he realized that it would be more interesting for the kids if he got them involved. He asked them if they liked themselves and an interesting thing happened. As he went up in grades the hands that were raised when asked the question became less and less. His assumption: Childhood is a difficult time. It is a time of discovering the world and where you fit into it. He spoke that as children we loved to play in our sandbox. But there was always an adult that would remove us from the sandbox if we wanted them to or not. You must relate to your stories and your art emotionally.  You must be in your sandbox.

Me and E.B.

Conference Recap


Mary Christine Wissner, Tomie dePaola, ME and David Diaz

It started with the Illustrator and writer intensives. I did not attend, but was told that the over all take away from other illustrators was that you should NOT quit your day job and that the failures that you may encounter may actually be a good thing. You will always learn from your mistakes. 

Speakers were…


Spoke a about how printing can be a difficult issue. The end result may not be a perfect match to what you have illustrated because almost all printing is being done in China for the larger publishers.

Panel speakers where:
Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greeenburger Associates, Inc.
Chris Tugeau, Christinea A. Tugeau Agency,
Jan Constantine, Author’s Guild

Meg Rosoff spoke about how her mother always questions her about “When she is going to write a REAL book!” Apparently Children’s books aren’t real. Anyone can write a children’s book. Celebrities all write children’s books, even Barack Obama wrote a children’s book. Sarcastically Meg said,, “children are idiots, that’s why anyone can write a children’s book”

She also said, “Good books remind us of how important it is to change the world.”

Booksellers Panel: Talked about what's selling? 

Mary Brown, owner, Books, Bytes and Beyond;
Robert Brown, Scholastic Book Fairs;
Jon Fine,,
Peter Glassman, owner, Books of Wonder.

Something that I thought was interesting was that educational publishing makes up for about 70% of their sales.
Paperbacks are their best sellers, because of the lower price. That we should all be looking at content creation. Meaning “what can this book do digitally.”
Shorter novels are doing better for school curriculum.


Emotional connections must be strong in an illustration.
How Piglet relates to Pooh…
Barack Obama’s book –illustrated by Loren Long.
The children in this book really interact with each other.

I was so proud of our own Austin Illustrator Patrice Barton when Isabel mentioned her. She said something about being a “SQUEEBY” and that she had such lovely characters in her illustrations.

Her advice to illustrators was to send postcards to Art directors regularly. This is primarily the way that you get noticed. If they like your work or have project that your style would go perfectly with then they are most likely to contact you.

The smaller 4x5 cards are the best to send because it is easier to file away.
Also make sure you have all your contact information on them. I was told to put your best illustration on front with your website, then on the back put all forms of contact information. You may also include sketches or other work on the back if there is room.

For the best luck make sure you research your audience. Find the right publishers that do the kind of work that you like to do. I just spent several days researching my audience for the book that I am currently trying to find a home for. I also spent many hours and lots of money on printing. Hopefully it will pay off and I will have contacted the right publishing houses for my project.

I use the Children’sWriter’s and Illustrator’s Market. They publish it every year. It is a great investment and a must have if you don’t have an agent. Also if you are an SCBWI member there is a book available to you for free called THE BOOK the essential guide to publishing. 

He also spoke that he liked strong characters. He also mentioned that he likes action and also humor in an illustration.

If you can do nice black and whites. You should include them in your portfolio. They need them for chapter books for early readers.

Simplicity that makes the characters come off the page. He also mentioned that postcards where his main way of discovering talent.

He showed us several books he has worked with that have strong characters.

Shaun Tan

He creates very interesting and beautiful drawings from simple everyday objects. Shaun’s work speaks to everyone because he is illustrating something that we can all relate to. Most of his work has a sense of migration or crossing into a new universe and having a strange encounter. He provides the stage and the reader creates the story.  Many of his images let the reader empathize with in animated characters. Kids want to know the world through stories.

His Motto: Don't tell too much of the story, Let the readers tell the story.

She writes about adventures not found in our normal day-to-day life.  She likes spunky main characters, ones that feel like they are the reader’s friends. Margaret also spoke about letting yourself fail big and keep on trying. You will never get better if you don’t show your work and let others criticize you. This is how you improve.

You’ve got at least one story to share, so tell it because that’s what kids need…your stories.

They are a mother daughter team for the Julie Andrews Collection.
Emma is a professor and a theater play writer. So she has does have some credit to her name. And her father Tony Walton is in the publishing industry. He also illustrates some of their books.

They draw from their own life for their characters. Julie and Emma use Skype to write together since Julie’s schedule is very unpredictable. They spoke about consistency in a series.

Their reoccurring theme is “No matter how small you may be you can make a difference.”

Julie gets her since of wonder because she always see’s the glass half full. No matter the circumstances she says “Aren’t we so lucky of what?”

I really enjoyed his presentation. He is really funny.

Mo said his job is to make books for illiterates…He has nine rules for writing, which are on his blog.

1. More is not better it is just more!

2. Avoid repeating yourself , it’s a waste of time.

3. Try to ensure every word counts

4. Write about what hare passionate about.

5. Never think for your audience let them do the thinking.

6. Are questions more compelling than answers?

7. Find out what works and leave the rest.

8. You may own the story’s copyright, but your audience owns the story’s meaning

9. Be Superlative.

Ideas are like gardens...sometimes weeds grow...sometimes something beautiful could grow...everyday plant even if they it doesn't work.

For the illustrators:  When you draw a book you should start from the middle and save the cover for last. Trim size and shapes of the book and can dictate the story.

For Everyone: The written word is very powerful!
Your job is to be someone’s best friend. Childhood suxs because…you have to ask to go to the bathroom and if you are playing someone could physically pick you up and move you!

Be Superlative !

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I want to update you on some things to see and places to be in San Antonio in the up coming months. I will also add some great places that I am thinking about for our sketch days 2013 schedule.

San Antonio Art events:

Comunidad y Cultura: Struggle to Make a Difference 
Sunday, December 2, 1:00–4:00 pm, Tobin Exhibition Galleries 
-1:00 pm Tour of Estampas de la Raza* 
-1:30 pm Barbara Renaud Gonzalez reads from her newly published digital children’s book, The Boy Made of Lightning, which chronicles the life of voting rights activist Willie Velásquez.
-2:00 pm Sketch a traditional scene from your past with Estampas artist Joe Lopez. 

Comunidad y Cultura: Colorful Characters 
Sunday, January 6, 1:00–4:00 pm, Tobin Exhibition Galleries 
-1:00 pm Tour of Estampas de la Raza* 
-1:30 pm Hear about the adventures of luchadores (Mexican wrestlers) with Xavier Garza. 
-2:00 pm Use color to evoke emotion in a sketching session with Estampas artist John Hernandez.

Sketching at sama
Starting Nov 20 Every Tuesday eve 6 PM $10.

They are also hosting a free event this Saturday December 1 

It would be fun to meet there on a Saturday and sketch during the farmers market.

Wed and Thurs. night 6:30-9:30 Life drawing class $7.
Tues eve. Art class with Bad Braune watercolor artist $20.
Saturday 1-4 drawing with pastel artist Irene Taylor $20.

Art Events
Arts and crafts fairs
Events on the riverwalk

Other Sketching places:
Southwest Arts and Craft Center – during their fiesta craft fair
Pearl Brewery – during farmers market.
King William, Southtown,
Japanese tea gardens

Art Info

Thursday, March 1, 2012

SCBWI winter conference in NY

This was my first time to attend the SCBWI Winter conference in New York. John Rocco started the Friday Illustrator's Intensive on self marketing. John mentioned that it is important to brand yourself online. Make everything you do have a common thread. John also took it upon himself to make book trailers of his books for his website. Later the publisher paid him for the trailers so that they could be put onto their publisher's website. John is part of a group of illustrator's called the Book Maker's Dozen. Besides having their blog, these illustrators work together at book signings and presentations. They feel that their is more power in numbers.

Dan Santat is a great illustrator with a grand personality. He told us to be consistent, build a network of peers, and put your work online where everyone can see it. Book trailers are also the way he markets his children's books. He is a frequent blogger and on face book daily. Dan says we should all be a supporter of independent book sellers.

Sophia Blackall is a lovely lady. She had a book published recently called missed connections. It is about different stories that she had acquired over the course of a year about connections people had made while commenting on the New York Subway. It is very nicely illustrated by Sophia. She said "we must all cross over to the audience in our books."

I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Yaccarino. He is the creator of the backyardigans series and the oswald characters on Nickelodeon. Dan also says you must connect with your audience. Know your topic, keep it simple, and create a theme. His best advice for school visits, "don't shake their hands and give them only yes or no questions." Another interesting advice he gave was to market to established mommy blogs.

Roxie Monro told us to market to librarians and independent booksellers. She was on a panel at the end of the illustrator's day. They did a lightning round, which is where someone pitches their story idea and then the panel critiques it. I stood in line to ask questions but they ran out of time just as I was about to talk. Oh well, their is always next year and another story to share.

As an Illustrator Coordinator I was invited to view the portfolio showcase party. It was fun to view all the many portfolios, meet old and new friends. There are so many talented illustrators in our Society. It was amazing to see all the different styles of artwork represented. Not to mention hanging out with the semi famous illustrators and writers.

Saturday morning Lin Oliver introduced the next speaker. She said we must all rely on ourself for discoverability. How do we get our book into the hands of the reader?  Chris Crutcher was the first speaker in the morning on Saturday. His writings have been banned by many. I just loved to hear his stories about how his brother was such an over achiever. And would invite him to do something NEAT, and then Chris would always get into trouble for that NEAT thing that his brother talked him into doing. He says, "You can't be a writer if you don't read." He also quoted from Henry Winkler, "Write what you know and the story jumps off of the page."

Martha Rago presented next and she had 4 points that she believed is what you should have for the perfect book. 1. Characterization, 2. Narrative Quality, 3. Voice, and 4. Skill
She also said "images and text are interconnected."

More to come...soon.