Monday, May 21, 2012

SCBWI conference and Mondays with Mira - First Seduction then Deconstruction - Dog Food

I'm thrilled to say I have a very short video today about idioms, vernacular language or sayings, dogs and playing with food. Short and sweet. But I have a rather longish post about something really exciting that I was involved with this weekend -

The SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) first ever Illustrator's Day conference for our region. I had the honor of helping to organize this with my illustrator co-coordinator Kris Aro McLeod and wonderful mentoring and assistance from our Northern California Central regional advisers Erin Dealey and Patricia Newman. We also had fantastic help from Catherine Felt (assistant RA) and Robin Howard and a great panel of published peeps including Lori Mortenson, Kim Zarins, Lea Lyon, Patti Newman, and Joy Allen. Super informative and very fun.

Because it's really hard in our area to get illustrators to show up we ended up broadening it to be for both authors and illustrators so each got to learn from the other. This created some challenges for our illustrious guests who really rose to the occasion.

We had Rotem Moscovitch from Disney Hyperion (who is one of the stellar editors from their award winning trade book (rather than mass market Disney characters) side of their publishing, literary agent Mary Kole of Moveable Type Management and and Ashley Wolff author illustrator of over 60 books. Wow! The talent was amazing. We also had great audience participation which also helped make it very successful.

Ashley is an old friend who recently returned from doing a school visit in India (way to go Ashley) and she brought me back a magical parasol from India.

Well it turns out I really needed that parasol. The night before I had terrible insomnia and when I did finally fall asleep in the wee hours had the worst nightmares that I've had in years. The conference room was tripple booked and I was trying to get football players and performing kids and 6'5" tall drag queens out the room so we could have the conference and I wasn't being prepared to introduce the guests and had flesh eating bacteria on my face and of course I ended up naked, except for a piece of foam in front of me, and really grungy underwear wherein I said "well the lesson in this is always wear your best underwear because you never know if you might end up like me." (How's that for a run on sentence? : )

I'm happy to say that none of this came true but when I introduced the faculty I used the magical parasol and it really gave me strength and confidence (thank you Ashley). Whenever I was flagging, I touched the parasol, getting energy and inspiration and remembered how lucky I am that I have so many fantastic friends and get to do meaningful work. I had to do a lot of thinking on my feet and had a few embarrassing moments but not too many. Cannot tell you how relieved I was when it was over.

And here I am with Ashley. This photo doesn't do her justice. She's an incredibly beautiful amazon.

For anyone interested in learning about picture books is a fantastic resource and I'm delighted to be part of this organization. I'm also delighted to be teaching in-person and online courses like the Hero's Art Journey which explores the classic narrative arc underlying most fiction and mythology in our own lives while teaching very beginning to professional artists and children's picture book people lots of art and life skills using fine art and you guessed it - picture books. It's totally unlike anything else out there and includes video interviews with Ashley and lots of other amazing folks. The journey starts in only 2 weeks on June 4th, visit for more information or if you are ready to sign up use this half off link for only 99.00 And if you have any questions feel free to email me at


Sandie said...

Thanks to you and your crew. It was a wonderful picture book event. I think Ashley is an amazing illustrator. It was fabulous to hear her honesty with her career. I enjoyed every minute of the local artists (illustrators/writers) panel discussions.
Loved it all. Hope to see more of it next year.

Julie Hedlund said...

This sounds like an amazing event Mira! Now I need to get my own parasol! :-)

CarmenMicsa said...

Great event enhanced by your energy, brilliance, and a magic umbrella, Mira. I'm proud of you!

Mira Reisberg said...

Sandie - your presence always makes an event more wonderful. And yes Ashley is awesome as were the other speakers.

Julie, judging by the magic you create, I think you already have a magical parasol, it's just invisible.

Carmen - thank you : )