, , , , , , ,

By Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison

SCBWI Summer Conference Report, by Tricia Candemeres

The 46th SCBWI Summer Conference was quite a special one. I won an SCBWI grant that covered the expenses, and I wanted to both live up to the honor and embrace the opportunity.

Vanessa Brantley Newton started us off and lifted us up – first with the hokey pokey, then with her stories of diversity, adversity, and dreaming bigger, and ended with the most stunning rendition of “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.”

From that high bar, it became one amazing keynote or breakout after another. My friends and I split up and compared notes later.

Some highlights:

  • Sean Qualls reminding us to keep showing up.
  • The “Transforming Life into Art” writers sharing tough, deeply personal stories.
  • The sneak preview for the movie based on “Shades of Gray” by Ruta Sepetys.
  • Marvin Terban’s funniest words for kids: underpants, poop, and fart!
  • The awe-inspiring Portfolio Showcase.
  • And of course, tea with Judy Blume.

Illustrator Raúl Colón demonstrates his color layering technique during his intensive.

So much to take in. I’ll just fill in some of the gaps with favorite conference quotes:

  • “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” – Vanessa Brantley Newton
  • “Teach children humor as a vital life skill.” – Marvin Terban
  • “The secrets that make you feel alone in the world are the very things you need to share in stories.” – Kat Yeh
  • “Storytellers have been part of the human experience from the very beginning – and I truly believe that even the ones drawing the pictures on the wall of the caves had imposter syndrome.” – Zareen Jaffery
  • “Your story matters. Great minds don’t think alike.” – Nancy Paulsen
  • “Will I still love this manuscript AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN?” – Rubin Pfeffer
  • “Kids are ready to take stuff on – go there.” – Alex Gino
  • “Make the Mommy Promise. Mommy will not save the day in my story.” – Tammi Sauer
  • “You can have all the talent in the world, and if you’re not determined, you’re going to let something stop you from doing it.” – Judy Blume

And finally:

“Team Marla” and friends: Top row: Danielle Heitmuller, Heidi Aubrey, Gail Buschman, Nicole Allin, me (Tricia Candemeres), Judy Faulkner, Molly Ruttan, and Nina Moldawsky,  Front row: Helen Yoon, Joy Dabby, Annelouise Mahoney, and April Zufelt

• Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is that quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher, as quoted by Laurie Halse Anderson in her closing keynote.

On Monday, the Illustrator’s Intensive was an information packed day of demonstrations and hands-on activities, featuring Ramon Hurtado, Vanessa Brantley Newton, Marla Frazee, John Rocco, Leuyen Pham, Raúl Colón, and Javaka Steptoe.

Over the past few years I’ve connected to a tribe of incredibly supportive SCBWI illustrators and authors, (we all met through a Marla Frazee workshop, so we call ourselves Team Marla), and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing this conference with them. We really are all on this journey together!

Tricia Candemeres is a children’s book author and illustrator living in southern California with her husband and two children. She worked in broadcast and graphic design before making the leap to illustration. A NYC transplant, she studied at FIT and School of Visual Arts in NYC as well as Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. You can visit her work at triciacandemeres.com and follow her on Instagram @tcandyart.


CenCal Writer Retreat 2018:

Bravely Crafting Picture Books with Heart
January 12-14, 2018
La Casa de Maria Retreat and Conference Center, Santa Barbara

Join Tammi Sauer, award-winning author, for a productive and fun picture book retreat. She will unveil her favorite picture book writing secrets. You will delve into the most important picture book components (character, conflict, word choice, among others) through discussion, examples, and engaging exercises.

Learn to build heart and humor into your manuscript.

For more information, go to https://cencal.scbwi.org/events/cencal-writers-retreat-2018/



For information, go to http://cencal.scbwi.org

December 2, 2017
Holiday Party, Bakersfield

December 10, 2017
Holiday Party, Santa Barbara

January 12-14, 2018
Writer Retreat: Bravely Crafting Picture Books with Heart, Santa Barbara


Book Talk is a monthly book discussion group taking place on the SCBWI Central-Coastal California listserv. Discussions begin on the first of each month, facilitated by Lynn Becker. To become a member of the listserv, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/SCBWI-CCal/

NOVEMBER: Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, by Rita Williams-Garcia (MG)
Clayton wants to play harmonica in Cool Papa Byrd’s band but, when his grandfather dies, his mom forbids him to play the blues.

DECEMBER: My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier (YA)
Che loves his brilliant younger sister, even though he seems to be the only one who knows how dangerous she really is.

JANUARY: Leave Me Alone! by Vera Bristol (PB)
An old woman wants a quiet place to knit, but grandkids, goats, bears, and aliens won’t leave her in peace.

For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become a member today! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.


Images provided by SCBWI Central-Coastal Region and Tricia Candemeres.