Awesome Conference

After a years worth of work, back and forth emails, and phone calls a fantastic conference was held in Nashua NH. This was the annual Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) New England (NE) conference and my first conference aiding in the organization. My main task was gathering the faculty and then helping them to organize the day for the Illustrator Academy (IA), an intensive for participating illustrators. Anna Boll started this new tradition the year before, but was a little too busy running the whole conference this year to organize the IA too. We illustrators are very happy it is becoming an integral part of the conference, so much so we even had representation from Florida. NE is potentially becoming a home base for illustrators.

Our faculty this year include Chad Beckerman, Phil Falco, Gareth Hinds, and Anne Sibley O’Brien. The focus was the graphic novel. We learned that the graphic novel is a beautiful art form, with a limitless definition, and a load of work. It takes a dedicated soul to create one. As well as requiring you to have a story which is truly best told in this format. Every faculty spoke to the class, we had an in-class assignment, and a critique of that assignment and the homework assignment. We packed the day as full as we could. Four hours just wasn’t enough time. However, I feel certain that the majority of our class was happy with our program. Personally, I got good feed back about my assignments and I look forward to continuing on them.

For the over all conference I was ill prepared to represent myself. I had a poster in the showcase. Although, I am very happy with the piece, I know it wasn’t the strongest piece for the topic. The idea came out rather institutional. Even still “it felt like breathing” when I was working on the piece. I had only the midnight hours to work on this painting and I never felt tired.

Watercolor was the medium of choice. Recently I have been using watercolor for all of my finished work, even though in the past I have used only colored pencils. This isn’t to say I am intending to abandon my colored pencil art. At present it is nice to have a speedier way to create.

I think both ways of coloring my work are showing up as me and both are fun for me. They have a similar feel to their finish. However, the watercolor has a looseness that I can’t achieve with colored pencil. My greatest desire is to be looser with my art. When I sketch, lines are every where there is activity within my sketch. I don’t think that is transferring over completely to my color work.

When I get to color I want full body saturation, with colored pencil you have to draw for layers and layers to get this. For watercolor my training taught me a strange way to begin, it calls for only glazing ontop of a shaded under painting. The only colors that were taught to me were Alizarin Crimson, Prussian Blue and Cadmium Yellow, so that is where the majority of my exploration has been. There is a full rainbow of colors out there I want to try them all and see how they work together.

Which leads to my other problem. With colored pencils I can layer color on top of color. You can’t do this forever in watercolor, you end with mud. I know how to not do that but, I have this feeling there is a better medium for me to work in. The next step, try out what I think will work. Talk to you after some experimenting!