Last week we had our SCBWI-NM Illustrator's group meeting for April.
As usual, at 5pm we started with dinner and socializing at a local cafe.
(My "dinner" consisted of sweet potato fries and a black&white milkshake—yay for special occasions ;)
Of course, I didn't get to socialize much since I had to sneak away for a quick discussion with SCNWI-NM volunteers (lots of planning to do!), but I got a few minutes in.
At 6pm, the illustrators headed over to Alamosa Books, where Alan Stacy lead a discussion with us about school visits. Alan grew up in NM, moved to Texas for several years, and recently came back to us. He's been deeply involved with SCBWI for years, and we were so honored he chose to lead this discussion with us.
Alan started doing school visits before he was even published! He was an artist and illustrator, he knew what he wanted to do, and he found a way to get involved—ahead of the game.
He has several recommendations for illustrator school visits:
- Be prepared, call ahead and make sure the school has any support material you may need: projector, mic, various supplies, YOUR BOOK (if you have one).
- Find out how much time you have, how many presentations you'll be doing, and how many kids there will be. Talk to the teacher/s, make sure they know as much as possible so they can prepare the kids for your visit.
- Be interactive—kids crave excitement and attention. You are a ROCK STAR to them, do activities, get them involved, ask them to think!
- Don't be afraid of failing, you are going to fail! But each time you go for it, you'll gain experience and be better prepared for the next time.
- Practice: in front of a mirror or with friend's kids. If you're still nervous, work up to it, start with a kid's day or story time at a local library.
- For K-1st, props work… puppets! Be silly and funny!
- Leave 10-15 minutes at the end of Q&A or Requests (if you're doing demos/drawing).
- Have SWAG handouts: bookmarks, pins, etc.
- Don't limit yourself—think out outside the school; senior groups, convention demos, there are many places to present and get your name out there.
|One of our largest groups this year, we had 13 attendees!|
|Alan has a simple pamphlet with his bio, contact, and descriptions of his|
presentations to promote himself for school visits.
That night's Schmooze was focused on SCBWI-NM—who are we as a chapter, where are we're heading, how we might best reach our very diverse membership (from authors and illustrators just starting out to those very well established in the field).
ARA, Caroline Starr Rose led the discussion; RAE, Chris Eboch, gave us a local history of the group (she's been involved; RA, Linda Tripp, talked about some of the guidelines we have to abide by as part of SCBWI; and I, illustrator coordinator for the region, touched briefly on some of the recent illustrator events and activities.
I think it served nicely to familiarize our group with our regional history and activities—but when the floor was opened to discussion, we really didn't get much feedback.
SCBWI is something like 99% volunteer run, we as a group can only get as much out of it as we put into it! I love our local group and volunteers, and I encourage as many members a possible to get more involved. You want something to change, you want a particular event—we want to hear your ideas! Volunteer some of your time, work with us, and make things happen—it will benefit the entire group. :)
|A VERY large gathering at Alamosa Books' Reading Room—full house!!|