|Reworked illustration based on feedback received during the 2016 conference.|
The May SCBWI Canada East conference is still 3 months away but I’m already making preparations. Are you attending? Undecided? Either way, ask yourself this question: What do you want to get out of a conference?
- For my first conference I wanted to enjoy the experience, learn as much as I could, and get a feel for how my art would be received.
- Last year my goal was to get as much feedback as possible on my illustration and writing as well as to learn what needs improvement in my art.
- My goals for the conference in May? Practice my networking skills, receive further feedback, reconnect, share, & give back
Knowing what you want to get out of a conference will help you decide when choosing between conferences or between streams/workshops when registering. As a writer/illustrator I often struggle choosing between the author sessions or illustrator workshops. Wouldn’t it be great to be in two places at once?
To ensure you achieve your goals I recommend turning them into specific & SMART goals. Yes, I actually sit down & write it out!
Here’s mine from last year:
- Gain as much feedback as possible by:
- entering a portfolio with PB Dummy,
- purchasing portfolio review & ask about areas for improvement
- Purchasing a manuscript review using a different manuscript,
- entering first pages session using a third manuscript
- Reconnect & Make new connections by:
- taking & sharing sketchnotes (this is a great conversation starter!)
- participate in sketchcrawl
I got a lot out of the conference last year but I think I would have gotten even more from it had I taken the time to repeat this exercise for my portfolio review. With only 15 minutes, coming prepared with questions would have been helpful for myself and the art director.
|The same illustration in my 2016 portfolio with it's ho hum background.|
There are things you can start doing now to reach your conference goals. Especially for illustrators!
What can you do now?
- Start preparing manuscripts, portfolios, & dummies (if you don’t regularly update your portfolio, now is the time to review - cut your weakest pieces, make note of what you want to add to your portfolio - this might mean revising an older piece, adding in new works already completed, or planning new works that might be good portfolio pieces)
- Networking - calculate when you’ll need to order business cards/postcards
- Anticipate time needed to complete pre-conference assignments for illustration workshop! Starting your other conference preparations now will give you more time once the assignment is sent out.
- Make note of the deadlines!
- Have a look at other resources available on conference preparation (google 'conference preparation SCBWI).
Please comment with any other tips or advice!
|My redesigned business card.|