I remember attending my first SCBWI meeting in 2011, unpublished and feeling a little overwhelmed not knowing anyone.
Our lovely Regional Advisor/Author Susanne Gervay and Author/ Co- Regional Advisor Chris Cheng, were very welcoming to new members and generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise about children’s books. Meeting other SCBWI members, both new and seasoned, who were passionate about their craft was inspiring, and it was very easy to make friends.
There was a lot of discussion about the Biennial Sydney conference which was being held the following year. It would be including an ‘Illustrator portfolio showcase’, which was open to all illustrator members published and unpublished. It all sounded so amazing, and I remember submitting my portfolio without any expectations.
The 2012 Sydney conference was the first I attended, which was so exciting, inspirational, and by the end exhausting. It was a wonderful experience drenched in the company of illustrators, writers and children’s book professionals.
Exhibiting in the Illustrator portfolio showcase was an incredible opportunity, and one I’ll never forget, having received my first contract to illustrate a picture book ‘10 Silly Wombats’ by Ed Allen, with Scholastic Australia (Published 2013).
The 2014 Sydney conference was just as exciting, brimming with helpful information and enthusiastic presenters. To be involved with organizing the Illustrator Portfolio Showcase has been great fun, and very rewarding hearing that so many more opportunities for illustrators have opened up as a result of the showcase and online gallery!
Joining SCBWI has presented so many fantastic opportunities, and I’m learning so much as my journey continues as an illustrator. I’m currently illustrating my first picture book with Penguin Australia, to be published in 2016.
Andrea Edmonds, Illustrator