Intensive Intensives in New York

It has begun ….

Many of the SCBWI regional team arrived late Thursday so we had a short meeting, then dinner feasting on pizzas before a quick stroll across the road to Broadway – there really is no place to see a Broadway production like Broadway itself and this year’s choice was extra wonderful – Matilda. This was just the perfect musical for a collective of writers and illustrators. The cast – especially the children were absolutely phenomenal. how the heck do they remembers those lines, those notes to sing and the exact spots to stand … especially when one wrong foot and the small square platform rising from the stage could have the person toppling into the orchestra pit.  So glad I was able to stay awake — and the walk back in the dripping rain helped too.

Matilda backdrop

Matilda backdrop

And now, the 15th SCBWI Winter Conference begins this day with the Writers and Illustrators Intensives … a day full of craft in art or words. There were some amazing creations coming out of the workshop rooms and most of the people seemed to be having fun! Intensives are an optional extra and the folks are able to spend the day workshopping and critiquing and discussing their work with some of the stars of the craft and also industry heavy weights from the publishing houses here in New York. Participants really get to get up close with these folks and do some deep and intense work – this is really working on the craft. It really is quite an  exceptional day – a very intensive day too!

One of the highlights at every SCBWI conference would have to be the Portfolio showcase for which I have but one question. Where for goodness sakes do these disgustingly creative artists work out how to do what they do? To me a tube of brown paint is a tube of brown paint but to these illustrators it is a tree trunk, a bird’s wing, a darkening sky, the rough earth … and on so much more.  The showcase is an opportunity for the illustrators to have a private showcase of their work for members of the publishing community. Following the private (and juried) viewing, the Portfolio Showcase was open for all to see – with wine and cheese (and cranberry juice for us non-alcoholics!). The trouble was getting the folks to leave … there was lots and lots of networking going on! And we also were able to toast my amazing talented friend Kristi Valiant as she showed us the proofs of her new picture book written by Danielle Steele (yes she who is the romance writer).

So – what have I spent most of my day doing since I have not an illustrative bone (or muscle) in my body? Discussing websites and the solutions to some of the problems – hours of discussion!

And this is glorious. The hotel has gone out of its way to make this gathering feel welcome … just look what they have added to the two elongated white marble heads that grace the foyer:

dr seuss on hotel sculptures

dr seuss on hotel sculptures

SO the pre-conference day, the intensive day is done.

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