Monday, February 21, 2011

SCBWI... Conference... Yadda, yadda... whatever.

So the big Austin SCBWI conference was this weekend, and man did it suck. Not the conference itself - it was fine - but my experience of the conference, for which I had very high expectations. Let's go back a moment and revisit last year. 2010. My first professional conference. I walk in scared, timid, and green as the grass which waves in spring. My "portfolio" was scant, I had no expectations. About mid-day one of the guest speakers, Mr. Mark McVeigh (an agent in New York with extensive publishing experience), approches me and compliments my work. We briefly chat and he hands me his card. "Holy horse turds," I thought, "I've been discovered my very first try!"

The encounter was ultimately fruitless (for reasons I won't go into), but nonetheless had been tremendously encouraging, and perhaps set me up to expect a certain level or recognition at these events. This weekend that recognition did not come; I was not appreciated by industry professionals, nor did I win 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in the portfolio contest. Overall I was disappointed since I feel my work has improved enormously over the past year.

But this is just my injured ego talking, and that's okay - I'm not going to pretend it doesn't exist. I'm gonna whine and sulk and throw my spaghetti at the wall. After that, I'm going to blog about all the GOOD which came from this conference, from which I did learn a lot. So stay tuned.

"Blue Period"
Unappreciated portfolio piece, consequently how I feel. 


  1. Been there kiddo!- Felt like a spec of a tick turd in a field of flowers. I was publicly trashed in front of a crowded room at the NYC conference in 2008. I was asked by an agent at Curtis Brown down to their offices the same year- only to be told I needed to "cook" longer and had my emails and phone messages never returned.
    This year- I won an art showcase award- got up on stage,back at the same NYC conference- first one I've gone back to.
    Sticking to it- is a super power. These conferences are like being a Mario Bro. We hop over obstacles and climb and jump and flip- but we get hit with stuff too. Just keep playing and moving up the levels!!

  2. Dallion, feel what you need to feel right now, but know that you are an amazing artist. prolific, witty, full of sophisticated heartfelt humorous ideas. I have had a very bad conference experience too. We'll talk about that one in-person. I wish I could give you a hug.

  3. Been there, too. At the national conference, you can feel a momentary drop in energy after the portfolio award announcement as 300 or so illustrators inwardly sigh...then perk themselves back up to applaud the award winners. Now I just embrace the small moments when someone says something nice about a piece and (try to) ignore the "big prize". That said, throw some spaghetti for me! You've got a fabulous sense of line and humor, are a natural with watercolor, and that portfolio will have its limelight moment.

  4. Thanks for the support guys! You are all amazing artists - it's comforting to know you've been tick turds too!

  5. Totally can relate to feeling post-conference blues. It seems like every doubt I ever had comes crashing down on me the moment a conference ends. Thanks for the honesty. Always nice to know others feel the same. BTW, love your stuff!