Saturday, 28 April 2012

What's happening at the SCBWI Conference?

With an excellent range of topics, this Conference session is going to be lively and informative.  
What Makes a Best Seller?
Creating a best seller in today’s competitive market ... what are the ingredients? What
makes a series succeed? What does a mass market publisher look for? What are the different
elements for success in picture books, children’s and young adult literature?
Date: Saturday June 30 Time: 3-3:45
Speakers: Katrina Germein, Meredith Costain, Chris Kunz and Deborah Abela (participating
Katrina Germein is a picture book author who writes stories that delight readers of all
ages. Her first book, Big Rain Coming, is an Australian best seller and remains in print
around the world more than a decade since its release. Katrina has won Notable Book
Commendations from the Children's Book Council of Australia and in 2011 her book My Dad
Thinks He's Funny was Highly Commended in the Prime Minister's Literary Awards.
Katrina's latest story, Somebody's House, will be published by Walker Books
Australia in 2013. Aside from writing, sunshine makes Katrina happy and so does swimming in
the sea with her three children.
Meredith Costain is a versatile writer whose work ranges from picture books through to
'tween' fiction and narrative non‐fiction. Her books include Bed Tails, the Year
in Girl Hell series and Musical Harriet, which was adapted for television by the ABC.
Doodledum Dancing, illustrated by Pamela Allen, was an Honour Book in the CBCA awards.
Meredith lives in inner-city Melbourne with a menagerie of pets who frequently wrangle their
way into her stories. Her latest books Everything to Lose and Catch Me If I Fall are
novelisations of the ABC TV series Dance Academy.
Chris Kunz is an Associate Publisher of Children's and YA Books at Random House
Australia. She has created the Bindi Wildlife Adventures series and the RSPCA Animal Tales
series as well as looking after some wonderfully talented Random House authors including
Jacqueline Harvey, R.A. Spratt and Martin Chatterton. Before books took over her life, Chris
script-edited and wrote for children's television, working with the BBC, Southern Star
and Wark Clements. She has a Masters Degree in Theatre Studies.
Deborah Abela is short and not very brave which may go some way to explaining why she writes
books about spies, ghosts, soccer legends and children living in a flooded city battling sea
monsters and sneaker waves. She is a best selling author of the hugely popular Max Remy
series and her latest book is, Ghost Club: The New Kid, and is the first in a new series.
She is an ambassador for the National Year of Reading and the Premier's Reading
Challenge. She's won many awards for her books including the 2012 USBBY Outstanding
International Book Award, USA, shortlisted for the KOALA, YABBA, Aurealis & the Speech
Pathology awards, but mostly she hopes to be as brave as the characters inside her books. 

Friday, 27 April 2012

An artist's process is not at all pretentious ... Lesley Vamos, illustrator

Hello lovely bloggers - Before I begin I just want to give a little thank you shout out to Sheryl for inviting me here as guest blogger, thus helping to kick things off in preparation for the imminent and exciting SCBWI conference in June! I represent the illustrator contingent - although, as this over written entry will suggest, I like to fancy myself part of the author group too - the part that is yet to find their story… 

However as I'm an illustrator first and author second it was suggested that I give you a little insight into my art process. For those that don't draw, this will hopefully help you get to know me a little better, and for those that do - maybe this will give you some ideas. I've chosen to use the SCBWI conference logo I did as I think it's the most relevant and it's the only illustration I can actually show at the moment. 

First I did some research into what was happening this year in the world of children's books and found the biggest thing that came up was that this year happened to be the national year of reading. Immediately I started to sketch out what came to mind when I thought of the love people (especially kids) had of reading. How we read, why we read and even where we read. I also explored different way to represent love, I didn't really want to go with the traditional love heart. 

Below are some of the sketches from this brain storm, as well as some colours I had in mind to enhance the mood of the illustration. I wanted warm passionate colours that also tied in with the logo already designed for the NYR.

Then I pulled out the sketch that I thought best represented what I was trying to communicate with the logo and started to flesh it out. After drawing it a couple of times and deciding how much detail I wanted to include, I did the final line work and colored it in grey scale. The grey scale helped me figure out which parts of the logo I wanted to stand out! 

Once it was in grey scale and I had translated the colours I had drawn in pencil to a digital palette, I started applying colour to the logo basing the placement on each colours grey scale equivalent. This is when the team came in - and where having other illustrators to talk to about your design work can be extremely helpful! Based on their feedback and ideas I took the logo back to sketch form to incorporate them and then took it to final colour as I already knew which colours were going where… 

Well that 's pretty much the long and short of it. As far as logo design goes this was probably one of the easier ones I've worked on as my client included myself - My process tends to change depending on who I'm working with and what we're working on. I prefer things this way as it means I get to work through new challenges every time and keep things fresh and most importantly fun ^_^ 

Have a great weekend everyone! 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

"Why I like coming to the SCBWI conference" ...Claire Saxby, author

Claire Saxby
Today, I asked award-winning author, Claire Saxby why she keeps coming back to the bi-annual SCBWI Conference.
I missed the first Australian SCBWI Conference. I think SCBWI was just coming on my radar, although I’d discovered and been a keen attendee at several CBCA Conferences. But I was there with boots on for the second and third SCBWI conferences, and am eagerly anticipating the upcoming one!

People talk about the conference being ‘boutique’ and ‘intimate’ and certainly in terms of numbers it is. It is also like going to a three day party. People you know via email, phone, reputation and/or association are all in the same place, sharing their stories, their knowledge. It’s a place to meet, re-meet, learn and share. It’s what SCBWI is all about. But lest that make it sound like just a social event, it’s also a place to hone your craft, discover opportunities, and explore new ways to create.

This year will be extra special for two reasons. It’s the first conference I’ve attended since winning the Australian and New Zealand Crystal Kite Award for my picture book, There Was an Old Sailor (illustrated by Cassandra Allen, published by Walker Books). What a thrill to get the early morning phone call from Lin Oliver from the US! This is a peer-voted award which makes it extra special. Since winning, I’ve made connections with Crystal Kite winners around the world, as well as gaining a lovely silver and blue sticker for each book.

I’ll also be presenting at SCBWI for the first time, on a panel talking about picture books, specifically There Was an Old Sailor, my most successful picture book. If you want to know if there is a ‘formula’ for creating a winning picture book, come and listen to Corinne Fenton, Nina Rycroft, Tegan Morrison and me in discussion with Frane Lessac.
About Me:
I write fiction, non fiction and poetry for children. I write about the ocean, the land, the people and animals who live there, real and imagined. When I’m not writing, I’m reading. I also work one day a week in a lovely independent bookshop in seaside Williamstown. I was as disappointed as most people would be to discover that a bookshop worker never has time to sit and read at work. I review books for I also help Corinne King with SCBWI Victoria gatherings.

Details of my work can be found at my website

Monday, 23 April 2012

Serendipitous Sharing with Authorpreneurs at SCBWI

Hazel Edwards
Well-loved author, Australian Society of Authors board member and SCBWI conference regular, Hazel Edwards gives her thoughts on the value of attending conferences.
 I love serendipitous meetings of ideas at conferences. Although there's a formal program, it's the informal meetings over coffee or even early morning walking in the park that's great. It's where at the last SCBWI conference, I met Maria Gill from New Zealand.
As a result of that exercise, Maria and I have been Skyping all year and next Saturday I'm doing a web chat on 'Authorpreneurship' from my Melbourne study to her Kiwiwrite4K  conference in NZ. We've had a practice with the equipment organised by Massey University, so my face and voice will appear on the right conference wall at the right time, (allowing for 2 hours difference) and we're all learning new technology together.
Serendipitous exercise!

Australian Society of Authors is publishing 'Authorpreneurship' in print and e-book format in June, so I'll be able to share both the content and the experience in my SCBWI sessions in Sydney, as well as in Qld workshops in mid June.

I think it is the interstate and internationalisation of creators which is so exciting. We can collaborate with colleagues, where ever they live. And we can share in person at a conference, but continue that relationship electronically afterwards. And recommend opportunities which may suit them.

Even though I'm format-challenged, I'm actively asking colleagues how they cope with new technology, to enable them to write and illustrate more effectively.  We are all learning together, and this conference is an opportunity to share the REAL challenges we face. And to admit our 'stuff ups' too.

E-books are another area of challenge. And since the SCBWI meeting where illustrator Jane Connory and I talked of how rights-reverted, proven titles might be re-formatted as e-books sold from author sites like mine, with merchandise ,we've been working together on 'Project Spy Kids' and Frequent Flyer Twins' literacy mysteries series

Attending a conference gives an opportunity to see how others present their ideas. I learnt from an illustrator how to have a generic PowerPoint of visuals, but vary the comments according to the type of audience. And add some witty visuals.

So attending a SCBWI conference is an investment in ideas and colleagues at a time of rapid change, where we all need to develop new skills, but are unsure which ones.