In August, I had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Summer SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles, CA. I was fortunate to receive grant funds from the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council to cover part of the expense of the trip. I am so grateful for the grant because it allowed me to focus on soaking in all the information I was learning rather than stressing about finances.
When I got home from the conference, it was time to plan how I was going to share all my newly acquired information with the local community. I have a background in elementary education (by degree only, not by career - ha!), so naturally, I was brainstorming how I could share the information with young people and inspire them to live creatively, educate them about the publishing process, and also allow them to have a local resource (me!) if they have any questions in the future about writing and illustrating.
My first classroom visit was to the 3rd grade. It just so happened that they were learning about illustrators in their reading unit. Have you ever read What Do Illustrators Do? by Eileen Christelow? Well, if not, I highly recommend it. This was the story the class was reading. In preparation for the classroom visit, I read the book and giggled all the way through it - it was so funny!
Back to the classroom visit - I spent my time with the kids going over questions they had prepared for me. A few examples were: How do illustrators know what to illustrate? When do you make a cover? Do you make a dummy? How do you make your illustrations? Do you use paint? I answered all these questions and more. I brought in a few (ok, 15) of my favorite children’s books and showed them different styles and techniques that illustrators will use.
I wanted to do an activity with them, and I thought it would be interesting for them to design their own promotional postcards. I had 50-60 different postcard samples from illustrators at the conference, so I passed them around the room to give the children ideas to create their own postcards. They were surprised that using promotional postcards is one way that illustrators get work!
We had so much fun with this activity and you can see in the photo above that they all did a fantastic job.
A few days following the classroom visit, I received a stack of thank you notes from the children. I have attached a few here so that you can see some of their artwork. What sweet kids! :)