Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The I in SCBWI - Illustrators!

Yesterday saw the visit of illustrators and SCBWI members Anne-Marie Perks and Bridget Stevens-Marzo to Seven Stories, The National Centre For Children’s Books.  They were here to hang the SCBWI Showcase exhibition that was launched as part of SCBWI’s annual conference last year.  Me and fellow north-based SCBWI members (Maureen Lynas, Cathy Brumby, Lucy Farfort and Alex Wilson were there to help, support and of course, socialise with them.

In front of part of the exhibition.
Left to right - Maureen Lynas, Alex Wilson, Anne-Marie Perks, Bridget Strevens-Marzo, Cathy Brumby and Me.
Photo by Geoff Lynas

The Illustrator’s Showcase is an annual selection of images by SCBWI member illustrators. This year’s features new faces and veterans such as Mike Brownlow, John Shelley and Gillian McClure (Gillian also has work in the brilliant Picture Book in Progress exhibition).  All SCBWI illustrator members are encouraged to submit, and those that make the shortlist of accepted entries are selected for exhibition by a professional jury panel. 

With twenty three varied works on display, the show is lovely and should be highly visible being in Seven Stories’ cafe.  Works that stand out for me are Heather Kilgour’s City Skyline, a gorgeous, monochrome fantasy cityscape with animals perched atop of the buildings. The hazy, melancholy of Yoko Tanaka’s bear and blanket, who are no longer needed and Alex Wilson’s evocative Rosie’s Rainy Day.

It was great to meet Anne-Marie for the first time, and it was the second time I’ve met Bridget.  Bridget illustrated a great rhyming picture book by Kristy Dempsey called Mini Racer.  It was a favourite of my son’s when he was about one and a half.  He had two favourite spreads, the first was the end paper of all the characters lined up, where he would identify the all the animals and then kiss the cats when he found them.  His other favourite was the spread where the dog falls off his bike, because there is a "DiggerDigger" there.  We often didn't get any further than this as we would have to go back to the end pages and start again.  I’m writing this in the past tense as he eventually destroyed the book, I should’ve got a new copy for Bridget to sign.

I showed Anne-Marie and Bridget my portfolio and latest manuscript and got some useful feedback on them.  Still a lot of work for me to do but I’m on the right track and judging from the standard of this exhibition I’d be honoured to get my own work in the next SCBWI showcase.