Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Back from Illustrator's Day conference in NYC

Wow,
I had a lot of fun I must say. What a great way to get inspired and pumped up to keep going in this incredibly competitive, challenging field! First off I had a very positive experience with my one on one portfolio review. My reviewer was Ronni Herman a very knowledgeable, lovely woman who has an agency now after being an art director for 30 years. I was lucky I guess because she had always worked in the children's book industry and wasn't like someone who had experience only in magazine work. I know this can happen too. She gave me a lot of savy advice with regard to making my book dummy work better. I'm so glad I ended up pulling one together at the last minute and slipping it in the back of my portfolio because she ended up giving me a full critique on it in addition to critiquing each of my portfolio pieces. Gina I think you said that happened to you too right? Anyway, she said the layout had to be really overhauled and text incorporated better into the design of the sketches. I kind of new this already but couldn't really tweak extensively like I would have wanted to because of time restrants. I also thought at one point my printer was going to explode! She really thought about half of the sketches from the book dummy were very strong and suggested I pull them out of the dummy and put them in my portfolio at the end as a black and white section. She said art buyers in general love to see this. To make a long story short after my review I went to the ladies lounge and there proceeded to do as she suggested and started rearranging everything and dismanteling my book dummy creating a whole black and white section in my portfolio before I handed it in for viewing in the large display room where art buyers peruse everyone's work! So yes I spent massive amounts of hours this past week putting that book dummy together and then didn't include it for presentation. Crazy hugh? Maybe I am a little but I trusted this woman's knowledge and took her advice. Luckily my book dummy was an acetate notebook I picked up at Staples that you can slip 8 1/2 x11's into and out of with great ease. I'm very glad I pushed myself to come up with all those sketches . Ronni thought they would look stronger in my portfolio by themselves. Anyway, the rest of the day was very entertaining. They had Ed Young going through his process for the creation of his book "Lon Po Po" which is a Chinese version of the "little Red Ridinghood story. Beautiful stuff. Then they had a wonderfully funny, dry kind of humor panel with a literary agent an art director and an editor all moderated by again a very entertaining Robert Sabuda, "the" Pop- up book illustrator. And finally there was Paulette Bogan who wrote many kids books and was there promoting her latest "Goodnight LuLu". She was the most entertaining of al and I guess that's why the kept her as the last speaker. All in all a very informative day. The mixer at the end was a lot of fun too. Met a lot of the people from the SCBWI discussion boards.It was neat connecting faces to names like that. The only thing that I thought was lacking with the conference was the inadequete skills of whoever was in charge of getting the technicalities of the show running. They had difficulties with each presenter's slideshow or lighting needs, mic you name it. Bad microphones and a really terrible set up where they used just an 18" TV kind of low on the stage to show some of the works. I though that was insane with a crowd so big. There were at least a hundred tweny five people in the room. It should of all been displayed on the slide projector they had set for some of the presentations. Anyway that would be my only gripe. It seemed like easy stuff to coordinate that's why it kind of bugged me. I still be there next year though! Actually I just remembered I have to register for my regional conference in Poughkeepsie NY by May 9. Hope I didn't bore you with my newbie conference attendance experience, I got a lot out of it in general. Well worth the effort. Goodnight for now. I'm cooked.

13 comments:

  1. Your comments were so helpful! It sounds like you not only had a great time, but learned some very important things about dummy presentation, portfolio review and enjoyed your interaction with others as well. I am looking forward to this Friday's conference in Nashua, NH, but have to say I am still a bit nervous. I feel like Chuck the Clucker from Gina's story. I sure hope I get over that feeling by the time I get there. *:)
    Thanks so much for the insights, please tell us more when you have time.

    Ginger *:)

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  2. Giselle, I'm so happy for you, it sounds like you had a great time! Actually, Ronnie Herman was the same agent I had, too! Small world, huh? Isn't she great? I loved her, too, and have kept in contact with her as she said that I could through fliers and postcards for future consideration if she ever has an opening (which she says she does not right now). And I think both years I was there they also had the same techical issues! Strange that they can't seem to figure that out year after year! But I, too, will be there next year and absolutely can't wait now after hearing about your experience! So very happy for you! Did you get many fliers taken out of your portfolio? I thought that was one of the most exciting parts of the day as we (the group I was sort of hanging with) eagerly retrieved our portfolios and staring counting our fliers to see how many were gone! It's a great feeling to know there are art directors and buyers out there that now have a little piece of your work in their possession and liked it enough to take one! Anyway, again congrats! Sounds like you had a terrific time!

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  3. The promo pieces of course! How could I forget it was the first thing I checked when I picked up my portfolio. I can't say exactly how many but there was definitely a big dent made. At least half were gone I'm happy to say. Didn't get any notes on the on the index cards though. Ronni actually mentioned to me that during my one on one most art buyers don't bother with that. They just take the promo pieces. Very exciting all in all

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  4. Hi Giselle -
    Sounds like you had a great time - and thanks for sharing - hopefully you'll get some work out of the conference - somewhere down the road - ya never know.
    Congrats on the great critique with Ronnie too - that's so helpful and wonderful for you.
    Get some rest and thanks again. Chris

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  5. Yes, I found the same thing. I didn't come across anyone who had a note left in their portfolio and they also mentioned to us that this was unlikely. Great news about half of your promos being gone! It must have put you on cloud nine! :)

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  6. Giselle, Thanks for letting us know how your conference went. Its exciting to hear since I have yet to attend one myself. It nice to get a sense of what to expect and realize how much we have yet to learn. I wanted to go to the one this year in Ontario but I may have to wait till next year. I'll probably be a bit more prepared anyway, since this is all so new to me. I'm glad you had a consult with someone who could really give you great insight into the workings of the publishers and art directors mind - and sharing it with us here.

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  7. I am just wondering.... should I leave the little envelope in the front of the portfolio that is where reps can leave their cards? I have the promo sheets tucked into the inner flap of the portfolio, but I added that little envelope for business cards. I could easily take it out.

    Ginger *:)

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  8. Ginger,
    I would leave it in .You never know someone might want to leave you a comment. Best of luck. I'm sure you'll have a great time. It's too bad we are all not closer to each other and could meet at the same conference. Wouldn't that be really cool! I'm hoping to meet up with Gina next year at the NYC one.

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  9. Next year in NYC ... isn't that in February? I may try to get there also. *:)

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  10. Ginger, I would leave it in, too. Like Giselle said, it can't hurt! I think Giselle is talking about the Illustrator's conference she just attended which is always in April (am I correct?). I definitely plan on going again next year, I was really sad all day knowing it was going on and I wasn't there! :( The mid-annual February conference is the national SCBWI one and is open to authors and illustrators and is VERY expensive! Still not ready for that one and from people I've spoken to, it was OK but probably not worth the money. It sounds very similar to the Illustrator's Conference in April except much less for illustrators (focusing more on authors), longer, and more money. For now, I'm just sticking to the April one. Although SOMEDAY I'd like to go to the annual Los Angeles Conference!! :)

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  11. Thanks for the info and the advice *:)

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  12. Hi everyone- thought I'd chime in about the NYC Illustrators Conf.
    From what Giselle has said, and from what I've heard a few other illustrators say in the past - Illustrators Day in April is a great conference to attend - most everyone says it's worth it - and it is a lot cheaper then the others - and not as long - a good thing all around.
    I was bummed about not being able to attend this year and last year due to family illness - so, Gina, I'm sure we weren't the only ones sad that day. But, I'm glad Giselle was able to make it and share such encouraging news.
    Now that Spring is here, things are looking brighter and I'm putting my pennies away now so I can attend next year in April for sure. Hope to see some of you there - that would be fun. TFN - and bonsoire - Chris

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  13. Wow that would be cool! Let's hope it all comes to fruition and at least three of us can be there Chris!!

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