Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2019 Fall Retreat – What to Expect/Bring for Your Track


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What to Expect/Bring for Your Track

Illustrator Track 

 Katrina Damkoehler

Developing initial concepts for middle grade covers and plotting-out picture book layouts can be daunting. In this Illustrator Intensive, attendees will be given the same starting information and art direction as in real world illustration assignments. We will spend most of our time reviewing best practices, working on rough sketches, and laying the groundwork for final art.

What to Bring: I will make several picture book and middle grade projects available to attendees a couple of weeks before the intensive, along with instructions for which materials to print out and bring to the intensive. Attendees should come prepared with sketching materials (paper, drawing utensils of choice) and printouts of their chosen project(s).  Smart phones or other internet-enabled devices would be helpful (for research), but are not required.

Attendees should choose a manuscript they are unfamiliar with (don’t Google the covers!). We will spend some time at the end of the intensive comparing the different artistic approaches used for the published works vs. the sketches created during the intensive.

Picturebook Track

Carter Hasegawa

Here’s what you can expect to learn: Look at and improve your opening lines, identify key elements in successful picture books, and strengthen your pitch letter. 

What to Bring: I would like attendees in the picture book track to bring: current work(s)-in-progress; a text of their own that they feel is ready for submission; and whatever it is you need to take notes and to write creatively. We’ll be doing a lot of group work/discussion, so please be prepared to talk and share your work.

Novel Track
(includes Chapter Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult)

Ann Rose

During our time together I’d like to go over key components to successful manuscripts, discuss the importance of character goals and motivations, get some eyes on your query and first pages to make sure you are stepping out with your best foot forward, and basically mold discussions/work to the needs of the overall group. This will be my first time working in this type of setting so I’m looking forward to getting to know each of the attendees and learning about their work.

What to Bring: 

5 copies of your query letter
2 copy of a 1-2-page synopsis
The first 30 pages (or three chapters/whichever is more) of your MS with five extra copies of just your first page (250-300 words) – work should be double spaced