Monthly Archives: August 2011

LA SCBWI conference 2011


I had the pleasure of attending the LA SCBWI conference last week, and I’m still reeling from it. If you’ve ever thought of going, I’m here to tell you: YOU MUST! Get a roommate to share the expense, and make it a priority. You won’t regret it!

I went to the NY conference in 2010, and enjoyed it, but this one was over the top awesomeness. Sure, it was the 40th birthday of SCBWI, so maybe they pulled out all the stops and brought in the big guns, but even so, I’ve heard it’s amazing all years. All the speakers were entertaining, and there were a few I wasn’t very familiar with – definitely have must deserved respect for them now. Gary Paulsen (“Hatchet”) was probably my favorite speaker. He was hilarious, told us about his extremely rough childhood/life in general, and was so genuine. He looked & acted like your typical grouchy old grandpa. I loved him. 🙂

My favorite part of the conference was the illustrator intensive. This was an extra day, but more than worth it. We had 7 illustrators who had 1 hour each to talk, demonstrate & answer questions about their work. Gosh, that was epic. Paul Zelinsky, David Small, Jerry Pinkney, Kadir Nelson, Richard Jesse Watson, Marla Frazee & Denise Fleming. So cool!!!! I even won an original artwork by Richard Jesse Watson.

I had a portfolio review with Marla Frazee, and she was so sweet. She had lots of nice things to say about my work and was really encouraging. She also took the time to read my whole pb dummy and critique that too. Probably the most helpful critique I’ve ever had.

I really feel driven to do more. It has been my goal since childhood to have a book published. I’m determined to make that happen. I was always entertained/inspired as a child when I read picture books, and it’s my duty to future generations to make that happen for them too. I’m goin for it!


How to make an illustrated nametag


I love to go to SCBWI conferences, but I don’t like the sticker nametags I get at local conferences. I figure since I’m an illustrator I should jazz it up a bit. Plus, if you’re like me, you might need a conversation starter . . . illustrated nametags are perfect for that.

I recently updated my logo to reflect my current style, so I needed to make a new nametag. Here is a step-by-step tutorial, so you can make one too.

Here’s all the supplies you will need. Printed illustration w/your name, cardboard to mount it to (baseball cards or those generic credit cards you get in the mail work too – don’t use one that has real info on it, of course), spray adhesive, clear Contac paper, x-acto knife/ruler, big safety pin and a hot glue gun.

Once you have the cardboard or card size to fit your illustration, spray the back of the illo with adhesive and fold the paper down across the back (no one will really see this, but the sides need to be covered, so might as well make it look nice all over. You’ll need to fold the corners like a package or cut triangles in them too lay nice. If you need to, use some clear tape to secure the sides down in the back. None of this should be visible from the front.

After the paper is secure onto the board, you’ll need the clear contact paper to protect your design (you don’t want to spill something on it and have to make another nametag). Start by just laying your tag on the contac paper face down. Then wrap like a package just like you did in the previous step. I think it works best with notched corners.

After the Contac paper has been smoothed down, it’s time to glue on a pin. Pump out a bit of hot glue onto the back of the tag and hold a big safety pin in place til secure.

There it is – my new nametag. I’ll be wearing it for the first time at the LA SCBWI conference this week! If you see me, please say Hello!

UPDATE: I wore my nametag during the entire LA SCBWI Conference and I wanted to let you know that this was one of my better ideas ever. So many people recognized me and came to talk to me because of it. It was also the perfect way to get my art out there in a quick way. I highly recommend making one for yourself.