Wednesday, June 7, 2017

NJSCBWI17 Conference Wisdom by Diana Ting Delosh

This past weekend I attended the NJ SCBWI June Conference and I thought I'd share some conference wisdom. As usual this conference was both exhausting and inspiring and full of networking opportunities. Some of the following is from attending conferences over the years and some  from this specific conference.

What I brought to the conference: portfolio, 2 picture book dummies (attached to portfolio w/ ribbon per conference specs) and postcards.
• Sign up for all that's appropriate for you. And have the wisdom to bow out of something if you realize it's not, hopefully while you can still get some money back. 

• Clear your schedule for the week before the conference. I had planned to be ahead on my projects but as usual life happens. I was glad I had the last week to catch up on most of the things I wanted to do for the conference without pulling all nighters. On the other end, try not to have anything important the week after.  I still feel like road kill, albeit recovering road kill. Preferably no deadlines due the week you come home. 

• Go with an open mind. Sure I had plans to meet or touch base with agents, editors and art directors. After all, it is a conference known for it's networking opportunities. But I had no expectations beyond that. Which meant no pressure. Yay!

Here's my piece for the 2017 conference Juried Art Show. The theme was: MISCHIEF. Squirrel and Blue Jay are up to some mischief. It also happens to be a a spread from my picture book dummy, A Beast in the Woods, © Diana Ting Delosh. 
Keynote Speaker - author/illustrator Stephen Savage: 
MOVE-  Keep moving on your project, even if it's only 15 minutes a day. That way you don't lose the thread of your project. Move, in the literal sense. Physical movement; helps generates new ideas and solutions.

Portfolio Building - Maria Middleton, Art Director
Your portfolio (physical & online) should have a clear narrative. Ask yourself: What is the story I am trying to tell? Your portfolio should SHOW your answers. IE: I am an illustrator that does _______ style of art. I like to create _____ . This is what makes me special. Be aware of what you want to do and show it. YOU are in charge of your destiny not the art director.

Closing Speaker - author, David Lubar:
Keeps a note posted by his computer: How Badly do you want it? I think, I will do the same.

My Illustrator's Intensive piece for David DeWitt's session.
School Fears © Diana Ting Delosh -Ink, watercolor, digital. 


  1. Diana, it's SO wise not to expect to meet who you plan to 'cause it doesn't always work out. You try, but it's a whirlwind and timing and circumstance aren't always cooperative. I hope you enjoyed it! :) I didn't have time to look at portfolios, but did see your art! Loved it as I did so many. That competition is VERY steep, but the most important thing is the exposure to the faculty :D And a BIG YAY for MIKE CICCOTELLO!!! :D :D :D

    1. Needless to say, I totally agree w/you :)

  2. It was great to meet you Diana!

  3. Really great work on the piece of the girl. Shows such emotion!

    1. Thanks Patricia. 1 of my 2017 challenges is to work on my people.

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience. I got a lot out of your notes---especially to keep moving on a project, even if it's only 15 minutes a day. And also not to have too many expectations. Good luck with all your projects and dummies.