The SCBWI conference 2014 kickstarted my illustration and writing career. I’d been pottering on the fringes for a while and had decided to set myself a proper goal: enter my folio for the Portfolio Showcase. I also sent my folio off for the Inaugural Five Mile Press Illustrator Prize. Then my family and I went to Scotland for a few weeks…
Back from holiday, I found my folio returned with a sheet of encouraging comments from various publishers. This gave me the courage to get in touch with a few of the names on the list. I flew up to Sydney to meet with some lovely publishing teams, and realised they were dedicated, warm professionals that I could happily work with.
And then I found my folio had been shortlisted for the Five Mile Press Illustrator Prize!
So my professional life completely changed in mid-2014 – it was a total whirlwind. I won the Five Mile Press Prize, and gained several clients soon after. Suddenly, I was illustrating wonderful projects for Scholastic, Lothian Hachette and Omnibus Books, along with two of my own picture book projects.
Right now, I’m doing the inky drawings for James Roy’s funny and gentle ‘Chook Doolan’ series published by Walker Books. Things have settled down a little now (they had to!) and this is where I’m particularly grateful to SCBWI for support, friendship, structure and helping keep my feet on the ground. It’s lovely to be able to write and draw all day, but it can also be isolating. The SCBWI meetings are energising and helpful. And now I know loads of like-minded souls to catch up with for a cuppa when it all gets a bit much.