The SCBWI-MI Spring 2009 conference was an incredible experience. It was so motivating to be surrounded by such nice, creative people. The speakers were all inspiring; but, none so much so as Henry Cole (illustrator and author/illustrator). His work is INCREDIBLE. He has mastered a variety of unique styles and his art is just filled with life and color.

My portfolio critique with Henry was...surreal. His generous compliments, mild criticisms, and thoughtful suggestions were tempered by hilarious accusations and playful disparagements. He also called me an "ignoramus" (oddly enough, this was the second time in that same 24-hour period that someone had called me an 'ignoramus'). He was very encouraging and offered sage advice that I have been trying to follow. He also gave me some things to think about in the coming months. Specifically, he asked the question:

"Do you want to do this [illustration] for the rest of your life?"

I'm still thinking about that one. But for now, I am committed to building a more representative portfolio (as per suggestion). I've been sketching quite a bit the past couple days.

I think my next move will be to assemble and submit a dummy of "The Woodcutter." Henry introduced me to a very impressive editor at Peachtree, so I think I might give her a shot first.

So, the conference was a great time and I met some really cool people. I wore a suit and tie...which was a miscalculation on my part. I guess these things tend towards casual. Oh well, lesson learned.

And Henry, if you ever read this, thanks again.