Friday, November 30, 2012

Lost Weekend With David Diaz (Part 2): More Highlights & Why I Will Always Be A Mentee At Heart - by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Continued from Part 1 of my Lost Weekend report...

Juana Martinez-Neal (who won the overall SCBWI-LA Portfolio
Showcase earlier this year) talks to us about her process.

Just like last year, one of my personal highlights of Lost Weekend was seeing how others work.

Jen Betton gives a demo of her process.
It's one reason I LOVED the Illustrators' Intensive at the 2011 SCBWI Summer Conference, where we got to watch pros like David Small, Paul Zelinsky, Marla Frazee, Richard Jesse Watson, Kadir Nelson, Denise Fleming & Jerry Pinkney doing hands-on demonstrations of how they work.

Karyn Raz talks about her process.
It was so funny to hear so many of us at Lost Weekend say before our demos, "Oh, my process isn't going to be that interesting." Other people's process is always more fascinating than our own. :-)

I still experience imposter syndrome sometimes, mainly because I never went to art school and also have little experience with non-digital art materials. I also know there are some pro artists out there who look down on those who draw digitally.

I give a demo of how I draw (using a travel-size Intuos tablet).
Thanks to Jessica Lanan for the photo!
One of things I love about our Mentee group (and I'm talking about all the Mentees, not just the Mentees from my own year) is that everyone is open and interested in different techniques, different approaches.

Maple Lam gives a demo of how she works.

What I found during Lost Weekend: that it didn't matter whether some of us worked digitally, some non-digitally, or with a mix of both -- I learned something new or found inspiration in every single Mentee's demo/talk. Even seasoned pro David Diaz said he had learned some new things. :-)

Jessica Lanan gives a demo of her process one evening by the fireplace.

I was chosen for the SCBWI Illustrator Mentorship Program in 2010. Back then, I was total newbie in terms of professional illustration. Since then, I've been learning more about the craft and industry through working on I'M BORED (written by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by yours truly, published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers) as well as from other illustrators.

Lisa Anchin gives a demo of her process.

I know I still have SO much to learn. Which brings me to the title of Part 1 of my Lost Weekend report, where I call myself a "veteran Mentee."

Brian Won gives a demo of how he works.

I will always be a Mentee at heart, no matter how many books I publish in the future, because:

1) I always want to be learning, to be experimenting and stepping outside of my creative comfort zone. 

2) I love being part of the mini-community created as a result of the SCBWI Illustration Mentorship Program, with the opportunities (both official and unofficial) to get to know and learn from other illustrators.

Portfolio display on Saturday night, during the party. I forgot to
bring mine, but enjoyed browsing everyone else's.

Another highlight: seeing Jen Rofé and Rubin Pfeffer again.

Jen, who is a literary agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency, was the one who nominated my YA novel for the Sue Alexander "Most Promising For Publication" Award last year. Although it didn't win, Jen's encouragement reminded NOT to forget about my dream of having my middle grade and YA novels published someday. I love Jen's enthusiasm and energy.

Eliza Wheeler and her literary agent, Jen Rofé (Andrea Brown Literary Agency)
Eliza Wheeler & her agent,  Jen Rofé

Plus Jen signed Eliza on as a client after she and Eliza had a chance to chat at last year's Lost it was great to see this come full circle when she and Eliza chatted about some of Eliza's current projects during the Saturday night party.

Brian Won, Rubin Pfeffer, David Diaz and Christina Forshay.

As for Rubin Pfeffer...well, I adore Rubin. I remember being so intimidated by him just before our first meeting in 2010, when he was one of our Mentors. But then I saw him with an iPad (they were brand new back then) at the table as I approached for my consultation, and I knew it was going to be okay. We shared our iPadgeek excitement, and Rubin gave me some excellent career advice.

Andrea Offermann talks about her process.

So many more highlights, but I've already been rambling on too long. In case you missed it, do read Part 1 of my Lost Weekend report.

You can also read what other attendees have posted about the event:

Lisa Anchin
 (Class of 2012) - Lost Weekend
Jen Betton (Class of 2012) - Lost Weekend 2012: A Kidlit Hobnob
Maple Lam (Class of 2012) - Lost Weekend 2012
Jessica Lanan (Class of 2011) - Lost (and Found) Weekend

Alice Ratteree gives a demo of her process.

Huge thanks to David Diaz for his generosity in sharing his knowledge, his time and his home. It was a wonderful event that none of us will ever forget.

David Diaz shows his process at Lost Weekend
David Diaz gives us a demo of his process.


TOP ROW (L to R): Brian Won, Arree Chung, Lisa Anchin, Jessica Lanan, Karyn Raz, Jen Betton, Erin O'Shea, Lorraine, Bonnie Adamson, David Diaz, Alice Tillotson Ratterree, Andrea Zuill, Heidi Sheffield

 BOTTOM ROW (L to R): Eliza Wheeler, Christina Forshay, Maple Lam, Andrea Offermann, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Juana Martinez-Neal

Debbie Ridpath Ohi illustrated I'M BORED, a new picture book written by Michael Ian Black and published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers (just found out that the book was picked as a Notable Children's Book Of 2012 by The New York Times Sunday Book Review, yay!). She is currently writing and illustrating more books for S&S, and tweets from @inkyelbows. Her blog about writing & illustrating for young people:

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