It's been 20 hours since I stepped off my New York flight, finishing up my trek to the SCBWI Winter Conference and I wanted to share a few insights I had while traveling. I'm just going to cover the basics of how I prepared for the conference. For a really great post on how an SCBWI conference goes down - check out Debbie Ridpath Ohi's blog post. It was so awesome meeting her at the conference - and yes, she is just as sweet as you think she is.
I've done multiple types of portfolios in the past: handmade portfolios, single sheet portfolios, and a Pina Zangaro portfolio. For this conference, I went back to my buddy Juana's blog post on assembling a portfolio and ultimately took a gamble on doing a Blurb BookWright book. Though the template and BookWright program could improve, I was shocked how great the final product came out. I went with a smaller size (8x10), as I wanted the feeling of an actual picture book. I chose a matte finish to my paper as shiny paper makes the actual viewing of an illustration difficult. I selected 12 illustrations, some were double page spreads, some single pages. I did put titles below my images, with the corresponding books or magazines they were for. But I kept all text small and in light gray. The downside to this type of book is that you can't swap out images later. But they're not too pricey, so by next year I plan to make a new one. A Blurb book would also be a great way to present your dummy.
POSTCARDS / BUSINESS CARDS
Well, this is where I goofed up a bit. After a thorough and entertaining talk from Lucy Ruth Cummins, I will want to redo my latest postcard. The next postcard will NOT have any text on the front (just a single image) and the back will have contact info and social media info. Same can be said for the business card - make it easier for people to find your work.
I'm a native Californian and now an Arizona transplant so I had a crippling fear of the cold in NY. Having my flight (and a reported 2700 other flights canceled) due to a snow storm did not ease my worry. So, what does one pack when going from 82° to 30°? I went to the Hive Mind and sweet Collen Kong-Savage came to the rescue. Long-Johns! Thermal Underwear! Whatever your region calls them, get them. Thankfully I got a pair at Target and they were perfect. Here are few other travel wardrobe necessities
- Comfy jeans
- Waterproof jacket (got one from Eddie Bauer)
- Boots with a good tread (no slipping on wet streets!)
- Warm hat/beanie
- Manageable warm scarf (it was freezing, not the time for me to make fashion statements)
- Messenger bag (doubled as purse, I LIVED out of that thing)
- Warm sweaters/cardigans to layer over clothes
- Small umbrella
The thing with the NY conference is you go from extremes all day. Inside listening to speakers, you get warm, so have layers to peel off. Then you go out for lunch - and at the Grand Hyatt you actually never really have to go outside, you just make your way to the bottom floor that takes you to a passageway to Grand Central Station. The passageway and Grand Central are still cold so do dress warmly, but it's worth it. This was what sold me on New York. I ate lunch and breakfast there every day. You receive amazing information during every lecture and session, but it will be overwhelming. I loved getting out, watching people, and letting my brain decompress.
Use a shuttle! A short walk from the Grand Hyatt is a shuttle that leaves every 30 minutes to Laguardia or JFK. Don't be a newb like me and pay $40 for an Uber. Pay $18 for the Grand Cental Terminal Shuttle and get there in about the same time as an Uber.
Enjoy it! I met Twitter friends that I would never get to meet. I met a hilarious author that turns out wrote the PB my friend is currently illustrating! This is such a friendly warm industry, everyone wants everyone to succeed. I gained a whole gaggle of new friends and a wealth of amazing children's book knowledge. Totally worth it.