Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Creating Picture Books series, Advice For Young Writers and IllustratorsWriter's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, my poetry for young readers, #BookADay archives, writing/publishing industry surveys, and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives,  and comics for writers (including Keiko and Will Write For Chocolate). Also check out my Print-Ready Archives for Teachers, Librarians, Booksellers and Young Readers.

I tweet about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows. If you're interested in my art or other projects, please do visit DebbieOhi.com. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Entries in montreal (2)


2013 SCBWI-Montreal Conference Report (Part 3): Jill Santopolo, Bonnie Bader, Linda Pratt, Silent Auction and the Illustrator Sketch Crawl

Continued from Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

(Check the SCBWI Canada East website for info about upcoming events; see my conference photos on Flickr and Facebook)

The fabulous Lizann Flatt during the morning announcements.

Continuing my report about the SCBWI-Montreal conference, we're now up to the Last Day. Not having to worry about a keynote talk, I was able to sleep a bit longer before heading down for breakfast. Had a delightful conversation with Linda Pratt and Michelle Jodoin about children's/YA books. Ended up buying Linda Urban's A Crooked Kind Of Perfect for my Kindle as a result. :-)

Philomel/Penguin editor Jill Santopolo talks about her list & what she's looking for

Sunday's sessions focused on wishlists: an open discussion about what Jill Santopolo, Bonnie Bader and Linda Pratt would love to uncover in their submissions pile, plus extra tips for authors and illustrators. 

Bonnie Bader talks about what she's looking for at her Penguin Random House imprints

And no, I'm not posting that info here --- that was for conference attendees only. :-)

I will, however, be posting a few of my conference takeaways tomorrow on the MiG Writers blog.

Literary agent Linda Pratt talks about what Wernick & Pratt Agency is looking for.

After the three sessions, there was a general Q&A with some of the faculty, and attendees were invited to ask anything:


Then we found out who had won various Silent Auction items. Earlier on, the organizers invited everyone to submit items for an auction whose proceeds would be used to help offset the cost of the event. I had (stupidly) missed seeing this notice, else I would have contributed something. :-( 

I bid on a bunch of cool stuff that others had generously donated but got outbid on everything except for these two items:

1) A cuuute weiner dog sculpture made by Michelle McKeon

And (2) this great Chris Jones print:

Photo: Chris Jones.

Chris, by the way, provided the fabulous illustration of the pensive artist at the top of the SCBWI-Montreal conference brochure (the brochure was designed by Peggy Collins):

I also bid on a piece of original art by Niall Eccles, but the fiendish Hilary Leung outbid me AT THE LAST MINUTE. (Insert image of me shaking fist at sky) ;-)

David Diaz contributes a sketch he did at the conference to the Silent Auction.

After that were closing remarks from the organizers, and they also presented everyone on the faculty with gifts. Check out the Thank You card illustrated by Peggy Collins:


Inside, a gorgeous hand-blown pen made from Czech glass, created by Canadian artist Asem Nada:


So beautiful! And what a wonderful souvenir of the weekend.


Some attendees had to leave at that point because of travel plans, but others enjoyed their boxed lunches in the conference room while doing more chatting. Here's what came in the boxed lunch:


Yum! I was so tempted to decorate the blank box but resisted because I wanted to chat with Jasmine (who flew from Newfoundland to attend the conference!!) instead.

After that, people could opt for group manuscript critiques or the Illustrator Sketch Crawl. I opted for the latter, and we decided to settle in Chinatown to do some sketching:


Sooooo fun! Thanks so much to Peggy Collins, who organized the Sketch Crawl. She also invited members of a drawing group in Montreal to join us as well (the woman in the red coat above was from that group, for example).


A few of us took a break during the session to check out a nearby shop that had art supplies as well as some souvenirs, and I bought these sweet silver fish earrings:

Silver Fish Earrings from Montreal

I chose fish because they remind me of the NEW BOOK CONTRACT I received last week, for illustrating Aaron Reynolds's SEA MONKEY AND BOB picture book for Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers (comes out in 2015). They'll also remind me of this wonderful weekend.

Christine Tripp and Ellie Arscott.

Huge thanks to SCBWI Canada East, Lizann FlattAlma FullertonPeggy Collins, Michelle Jodoin and Rachel Eugster. I had an amazing time and will never forget my very first SCBWI faculty position. The other faculty members (Laurent Linn, David Diaz, Jill Santopolo, Linda Pratt and Bonnie Bader) were fantastic, and so was Jennifer Lanthier in her Crystal Kite acceptance speech. I also enjoyed meeting new writers and illustrators as well as reconnecting with those I've met in the past.

Do visit the SCBWI Canada East website for more info about its members and upcoming events.

With Tom McGranaghan.

And here are some other SCBWI-Montreal conference reports I've found online (if you have one, too, please do post the URL in the comments):

2013 SCBWI Canada East Conference report by Chris Jones


2013 SCBWI-Montreal Conference Report (Part 1): crepes, Bookstore Bash readings, comfort zones...and my opening keynote (!!)

Pin I designed for this year's conference, crafted by Alma Fullerton.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

I just got back from the SCBWI Canada East conference in Montreal. Huge thanks to Lizann Flatt, Alma FullertonPeggy Collins, Michelle Jodoin and Rachel Eugster for creating such a wonderful event! I've posted my photos on Flickr and on Facebook.

Peggy Collins, Alma Fullerton, Jennifer Lanthier (Crystal Kite recipient) and Lizann Flatt

This was my first time attending a SCBWI regional conference, which was much smaller than the national conferences in LA and NYC. To those of you who find the national events somewhat overwhelming, I strongly encourage you to attend regional events like this one. The size made for a less intimidating atmosphere, with more opportunities to meet industry professionals in a quieter setting.

Hanging out by the koi pond on Saturday night. This casual gathering (open to all attendees) included Laurent Linn (Simon & Schuster), Linda Pratt (Wernick & Pratt), Bonnie Bader (Penguin) and Jill Santopolo (Penguin).

After I arrived on the Friday, I met up with some of the organizers and faculty at Creperie Chez Suzette in Old Montreal:

Linda Pratt (Wernick & Pratt agency), Jill Santopolo (Philomel/Penguin), Alma Fullerton, Bonnie Bader (Grosset & Dunlap, Price Stern Sloan/Penguin), Lizann Flatt

I helped them finish a decadent caramel-ly crepe (yummmm).  My room was ready when I got back to the hotel, yay! I checked in, unpacked, and then headed downstairs to see who was around.

Top row, L to R: Lizann Flatt, Kelley Fairbank, Niall Eccles, Ellie Arscott, Caroline, Jasmine, Alma Fullerton. Bottom row, L to R: Alice Yen Yong, Robin Walton, me, Laurent Linn.

Some of us met in the lobby and introduced ourselves before having a fine dinner at a Chinese restaurant (Laurent Linn and I split a Magical Dancing Shrimp dish...ok, I can't recall the exact name) and then heading off to the Bookstore Book Bash.

SCBWI-Montreal conference attendees were invited (along with the public) to a book reading by SCBWI authors/illustrators at Babar-En-Ville, a children's bookstore in Montreal. I met Maya Byers, owner/buyer at the store, as well her son. Maya was already familiar with my sister and her books!


So enjoyed hearing readings from so many different types of children's and YA books, including authors Rachel Eugster, Jennifer Lanthier, Caroline Pignat, Urve Tamberg, Peggy CollinsJill Santopolo (who is also an editor at Penguin), Alma Fullerton and Lizann Flatt.

Also great to meet Carol-Ann Hoyte in person at last...


as well as other familiar names/faces.

I felt a bit of pressure reading I'M BORED in front of my art director for the first time! But Laurent said I did fine:


Thanks to all who came out to the Bookstore Bash! It was a great way to start off the weekend.

The next morning, I woke up extra early to test out my tech set-up before my opening keynote. I wanted to make sure my slides worked with the projector ... and they did (*whew*). I had a brief brain spasm at one point during setup and forgot how to assign Keynote presentation to a different monitor, so woke up Jeff with a phonecall to ask him something he had already explained the day before. I do have a patient husband. :-)

Registration table, manned by Ellie Arscott & Peggy Collins.

After the welcome and opening announcements, it was my turn! As some of you may know, I was nervous about my opening keynote. I've always avoided public speaking, mainly because I used to have a bad stammering problem when I was younger (it was a struggle even saying "hello" on the phone). Although I'm fine these days, it still crops up occasionally and especially when I get stressed or tired.

I started to say yes to public speaking invites, though, because I figure it's good for me and my career. I try to step out of my comfort zone on a regular basis, to do things that terrify me every once in a while, because it keeps me from getting too complacent.

Giving my opening keynote at SCBWI-Montreal! Photo credit: Urve Tamberg.

My sister, who is super-experienced at speaking in front of both grown-ups and young people, gave me some tips, and so did some of my Torkidlit friends. My husband helped me finetune my talk as well as providing tech support.

And guess what? Not only did my talk go well (according to later feedback), but after the initial few moments of sheer terror, I actually (*gasp) started HAVING FUN. I talked about my career path, what I've learned along the way, advice I wish I could give my younger self, and some tips on how to get the most out of the conference.

Here was an example of what NOT to do:

Above: one of the slide sequences I created for my keynote. J = Jill Santopolo and B = Bonnie Bader, the two editors on the SCBWI-Montreal faculty. :-)

Continued in Part 2