SCBWI Mentorship Friends

One of the many things that I love about being a part of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), is that with each conference and event I meet new wonderful writer/illustrator friends. This has become more significant since I’ve been a part of the Summer Conference Mentorship Award, in 2010. I’ve made some of my closest illustrator friends, Debbie Ohi, Kimberly Gee, and Andrea Offermann during my year being mentored, and we created the Kidlit Artists group blog. Each year new mentees receive the award, and our circle of friends gets bigger. To help us all connect, one of our mentors, illustrator David Diaz has hosted an illustrators’ retreat at his beautiful home in California these past two years (which we call Lost Weekend). We bond over all the things unique to being children’s illustrators – talking about techniques, art materials, books, writing, working with publishing professionals, building great portfolios, etc.

Lost Weekend, Photo by Debbie Ohi at

For more on Lost Weekend, check out these great posts:

Lost Weekend With David Diaz (Part 1): A Retrospective From A Veteran Mentee – by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Lost Weekend With David Diaz (Part 2): More Highlights & Why I Will Always Be A Mentee At Heart – by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Lost Weekend 2012: A Kidlit Hobnob! – by Jen Betton

I spent the month of January introducing the newest crop of SCBWI mentee friends over on the Kidlit Artists blog, and they are an equally talented and sweet bunch. Go over and check out their interviews, where each of them shares a bit about their experience of the mentorship program and how it’s helped them to grow in their work. It’s fun to hear details about each of their experiences.

Jen Betton Interview (

Lisa Anchin Interview (

Maple Lam Interview (

Karyn Raz Interview (

Brian Won Interview (















I’m exceedingly sorry not to be joining them all this weekend as they romp around New York city for the SCBWI Winter Conference, and to visit with publishing houses (set up by David Diaz). It’s sure to be an amazing time! I chose to forgo this year’s trip to help chip away at some building debt – and so last night, in honor of missing this wonderful conference (did I mention Shaun Tan??), I paid the price of that trip to my credit card. Not nearly as fun, but it felt good all the same.

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