Wednesday, June 29, 2016

NJSCBWI 2016 Approaches - by Diana Ting Delosh

It's almost been a month since the 2016 NJ SCBWI June Conference a good time for me to reflect on my experience and what worked.

Jabberwocky, Boy Meets Octopus - Final Illustrator Intensive Art
© Diana Ting Delosh
Ink, Watercolor, Digital
Lists & Plans help. I marked out the prep weeks and the deadlines for the illustrator's Intensive sketch and the Manuscript for my 1-on-1 with an editor and any items like getting my postcard printed a month ahead in my Moleskine Weekly Notebook. This year I swore I wasn't going to the conference zombified although the last few weeks I was lucky if I got more than 5 hours sleep a night. Still all in all not totally zombified. There are degrees of zombification.

I want to draw momraths gyre and gimble in the wabe  - © Diana Ting Delosh
 Find the Joy. My illustrator's Intensive was with Annie Ericsson, Designer for G.P. Putnam & Sons and Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Young Readers Group and the assignment was to illustrate a passage from C. S. Lewis' nonsense poem, The Jabberwocky. As per my usual process, I doodled a few ideas and concepts and was originally going to go with a more conventional approach. But I wasn't feeling the love. I reviewed my doodles and changed course and went with my idea of treating it as a boy's dream sequence. I believe my joy shows in the final illustration.

Boy & Sea critters on my desk.
Photo © Diana Ting Delosh
Always Have a Plan B or C... because things go awry and time keeps ticking. Sometimes I approach my illustrations like a traditional painting and sometimes I approach them more like a collage.  In this case I was glad I created my Jabberwocky illustration as separate icons as I was able to rearrange them for my Juried Art show Piece. I had planned on doing another illustration for the JAS theme, "Arise and Go Forth..." but time was running out. Plan B was to use some element from the Jabberwocky but add a mermaid and a whale and a gull or just the mermaid and a gull or... Plan C - rearrange what I had already created.

Juried Art Show  - Arise © Diana Ting Delosh
Conferences are like Christmas. You plan and prep and create like crazy. Finally the Conference weekend happens - it's amazing Good FUN, Info Overload time and then it's over and you go home. I didn't want it to end but all good things must. And like after Christmas blues I had a bit of post conference malaise. Back home, you catch up on your sleep, sort through all your conference notes, handouts, cards. Do your follow-ups. Ease back into your studio routine: create, promote, submit.

It's an Investment. Back home you may ask yourself the pragmatic question, Can you quantify it? Don't, unless you happen to have gotten lucky and landed a contract, agent, etc. Aside from the wealth of info crammed into two days there are a lot of intangibles. There's a lot of really good networking and submission opportunities at this conference but you need to follow up. Remember it's cumulative. Create. Promote. Submit. And every now and then leave the studio to practice your people skills.


  1. Nice post, love the Jabberwocky piece!!

  2. I loved your illustration for the NJ conference exhibit! It made me happy each time I passed it. I may love your version for the Illustrator Intensive even more! The swirling water gives it a lot of energy! I enjoyed reading your post! Good luck!