March 9, 2024 at The Skirball Center : “Bud to Blossom” was the theme

What a wonderful day! There were incredible speakers such as Ariel Richardson, Karol Ruth Silverstein, Henry Lein just to name a few. The absolute highlight for me was meeting my critique group in person after 3 years of zoom calls!! We all gave hugs right away. We formed our critique group during Covid lockdown. Although things have opened up since, this was the first time we could coordinate our schedules. It was fabulous to see these amazing ladies LIVE – lol.

There was a breakout session where I could meet other illustrators attending writers day. It was fun meeting new people and potentially forming an Illustrators SCBWI Mingle in the Valley! Here is a picture that was snapped by @jesscooperillustration of us (see below).


Henry Lien , author of , PEASPROUT CHEN, FUTURE LEGEND OF SKATE AND SWORD, gave a great talk on SCENE CRAFT. He used a wonderful scene in DUNE. The scene where the small box induces pain while a needle, the Gom Jabbar, is held to the characters neck. Who would have thought breaking down a scene like that would be helpful for picture book writing?! But it was!! Truly fascinating to hear Henry Lien speak even if he was virtual due to being sick with covid. I will try applying the craft to picture books and will seek out THE ARRIVAL by Sean Tan based on Henry Lien’s recommendation.

Karol Ruth Silverstein, author of CURSED, gave a wonderful talk about using the word disabled. She was a fabulous speaker! When she mentioned DEENIE by Judy Blume, I couldn’t help but relate since I wore a brace for scoliosis in my formative years too. I will have to give it a read!

Ariel Richardson, Senior Editor at Chronicle Books, opened Writers Day with a wonderful analogy of the Bud to Blossom theme as it related to the slow publishing world and the varied blossoming times in ones career. Her sociology major really shone through and she was very inspiring with the quotes she shared from her personal bulletin board. The quote I related to most was “Quiet the world so you can hear your own voice.” She recommended reading many books, but the one that stood out for me was THE CREATIVE ACT: A WAY OF BEING by Rick Rubin, so I will seek that out. I attended her Marketing talk later in the day as well, where she shared many great tips!

One of her recently edited picture books is below (released 2023) , WOVEN OF THE WORLD. Lovely!