The SCBWI Conference is a superb opportunity to focus your creative craft and hone up on the Industry with leading illustrators, agents, art directors, publishers and editors covering the breadth of children’s illustration. Come and discover fresh perspectives for your illustration practice, connect with the best in the business, and share your experiences with fellow artists and writers. Leave inspired, recharged (and a little bit wiser!) about the best career on the planet.
Author & illustrator Jim Field is our keynote this year, and will be talking about his fascinating career to date and his route into books via animation. Jim Field is an award-winning illustrator, character designer and animation director.
From music videos and title sequences to advertising and picture books, Jim has worked on a variety of projects. He grew up in Farnborough, worked in London and now lives in the French countryside with his wife and young daughter.
His first picture book, Cats Ahoy written by Peter Bently won the Booktrust Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2011. Since then, he has won multiple awards including Oscar’s Book Prize, Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards and the Lollies Book Award.
He regularly collaborates with Rachel Bright (The Lion Inside), Kes Gray (Oi Frog!) and Julian Gough (Rabbit & Bear). He has also illustrated children’s books with Michelle Robinson, Jeanne Willis, Steve Cole, comedian David Baddiel and J.K.Rowling. Jim’s debut author-illustrator picture book Monsieur Roscoe – On Holiday is a bilingual book that introduces first French words to young children and is now available in 12 countries. In 2021 Jim illustrated the number one selling children’s book The Christmas Pig written by J.K Rowling.
Our fabulous keynote speaker Jim Field will extend upon his speech in a breakout session, How Illustrators Collaborate with Writers – Allowing SPACE to Create. Hear how award winning, top-selling illustrator Jim Field approaches each book, whether there is collaboration or a brief from the writers. He will discuss how writers can allow ‘space’ for the illustrator, and any key changes or challenges that emerge as a result. He’ll also share how editors and designers are involved in the process and how this approach might change when working on self-written titles such as Monsieur Roscoe.
We will also be having an Inside Look at the Art Director, Editor and Agent’s Desk with a panel comprised of Ness Wood (Art Director at Orange Beak Studios), Emma Layfield (Picture Book Development Director for Hachette Children’s Group) and Arabella Stein (Director at The Bright Agency). Illustrators and picture book creators will gain a unique behind-the-scenes insight into what factors influence professionals in choosing and matching the right illustrator to each project. The panel will talk you through a recent project (a picture book, young fiction book and/or book cover) that they’re passionate about, and share insights into how they found the talent, and how they developed the project.
Get a close-up look at the role of the Industry Professional working hand-in-hand with illustrators and picture book creators to create strong content for young readers.
Our fabulous keynote Jim Field will return on Sunday to host the workshop, Storyboarding Your Picture Book: Jim will encourage you to think like a filmmaker when approaching storyboarding your picture book, exploring the importance of a good composition and how it is fundamental to carrying the visual narrative of a story. Using references from books, art and film and also his own projects.
Illustrator Wisdom – From Pencil to Print: Author illustrator Paul Morton will share his artistic know how learnt whilst illustrating his BUG BELLY Early Reader titles. How do the hand drawn pencil illustrations go through various digital processes before ending up as the final printed book?
Caryl Hart will lead two hands-on workshops for Picture Book Illustrators and Author/Illustrators
From Idea to Manuscript: Techniques for Generating Ideas and Developing Meaningful Stories that Real People Want to Read: In this session, we will explore some techniques for generating and exploring new ideas, helping you turn your notions into well-rounded, multi-layered stories. We will use oral storytelling games, mind mapping and Play Trays to help get your ideas flowing, help you explore topics and themes, and create narrative. We will then discuss how to flesh out and organise your ideas to create a story that real people will want to read!
Picture Books to Change the World: As creators we have a wonderful opportunity – and a duty – to influence our reader’s thoughts, actions and values to create a more inclusive, kinder and fairer world. In this session, we’ll look at some of the ways you can challenge yourself to create stand-out books that will truly help build a better future. We’ll start with a little social experiment, then talk about gender stereotyping, privilege, fairness vs equity, diversity & inclusion, modelling pro-social behaviour and reading for empathy. Caryl will give participants guidance on how to develop their own self-awareness, knowledge and understanding of these topics.
Illustrator 1-1 portfolio reviews
Perhaps the most important 20 minutes of your conference! You, your portfolio, one-to-one with a leading industry professional for 20 minutes of direct feedback and empowering constructive criticism. Get your work right under the noses of Art Director Ness Wood from DfB and Orange Beak Studios, Picture Book Director Emma Layfield from Hachette Children’s Group, Agent Arabella Stein from the Bright Agency or Agent Penny Holroyde from Holroyde Cartey Ltd. Please see the Professional 1-1 Reviews page for full details.
Please note – Portfolio reviews must be booked in advance and cost an additional £40 (or £45 for non-members) in addition to your Conference attendance fee. A booking link will be sent to all interested attendees once the review bookings open (so best to book your conference ticket asap). These are very popular so book quickly to avoid disappointment..
Other Events and Activities:
Meeting up with old friends, making new ones, quelling those newbie nerves, the Friday Fringe night offers a whole host of activities to get you in the mood for the weekend’s conference, including a dinner social and quiz night. Further details can be found here.
If you would like to attend, please select this option when booking for the conference and you will be notified when the Fringe registration opens.
Illustrators show us your sketchbooks
Often the most creative and experimental work happens between the covers of your sketchbooks and notebooks. Sharing and letting others study them presents an intriguing look into the creative process that is often the groundwork for many a children’s illustrated book. We will create an Illustration Wall of sketchbook work to be displayed in the Business School throughout the conference and are looking for illustrators to take part.
If you would like to be involved, please follow these guidelines.
• You may submit up to 3 jpg scans. Resolution – 300 ppi at actual sketchbook size. Those chosen will be enlarged to A3 prints
• Include your name and short title in the jpg file name For example: Paul Morton-bear character studies #1.jpg
• Please choose work that fits one of the following categories:
• Character development – human, animal or other</span
• World building – scene settings real or imaginary
• Book cover development
• Include your name and contact details in the email
• Send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than Monday 10th October.
By sending your scans you are agreeing to SCBWI printing your work to be exhibited at this year’s conference.
We will select the best to include in the Illustration Wall of sketchbook work to be displayed in the Business School throughout the conference.
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Book Saturday Night Party Here (incl MBL)
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Illustrations © Jim Field 2022