Rebecca has come to our conference for a few years now and we noticed she got hired by a few of our visiting art directors. We interviewed here to find out what she likes about the conference and how it’s helped her career!

Rebecca at work

Why did you come to the conference?

The first time I came to SCBWI I had just graduated from a BFA program and was hoping for some guidance on bridging the gap between being a student and a professional. The advice from guest speakers and the portfolio review with local publishers really helped me get my start. Since then, I’ve loved coming back each year to hear new speakers and meet other artists and art directors in the area.


What did you hope to get out of it?

Each year I hope to get new work or a new client out of the conference. Even if that doesn’t always happen, I also look forward to the valuable advice from guest speakers. SCBWI invites fantastic ones each year and I always come away with new perspectives, tips, unexpected ideas, and helpful advice. I feel reenergized after the conference is over and inspired to do and be better.


What did you do to prepare for the conference? Specifically, what did you do for your portfolio?

Aside from bringing a notepad or sketchbook to take notes in, most of my preparation is putting together a portfolio. I review it each year in the week or so before coming, updating it with my strongest work. I also try to limit the number of pieces to about ten and make sure that the portfolio reflects the kind of work I want to get. I have friends look over it with me before coming to make sure it flows well as you flip through it and that each piece belongs there. It’s hard to cut stuff, but I think having a heavily curated and smaller portfolio works better than trying to include every project. I also make sure that the first and last pages (the pages the portfolio is most likely to be left open to) feature my strongest pieces.


Why would you recommend the conference to other illustrators?

The SCBWI conference is the perfect size, especially for me. It makes it easier to meet other artists in the area (which is helpful – I spend most of my time working from home and in my own little bubble). The smaller setting helps it from getting overwhelming. It’s easier to engage with the guest speakers than at larger conferences like ICON and there are plenty of opportunities to meet and greet the visiting art directors. It’s an amazing value for the price and one of my favorite conferences each year.


How did the conference lead you to get illustration work?

The portfolio show they do each year has been extremely helpful. It has connected me with several clients who saw my portfolio at the conference and later contacted me for work. Beyond getting my portfolio in front of new art directors, I also get to reconnect with old clients who come back from year to year in a more direct way than an email or a mailer. It’s helpful for building up repeat clients.


See Rebecca’s work on her website

Thanks, Rebecca! We look forward to seeing you again this year!

For more information on this coming conference click here.

To regester for the conference click here.

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