|We are excited to have Michael Rex presenting at our “Digging Deep into the Picture Book Creation Process” workshop this weekend. Our Eastern PA SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator, Berrie Torgan-Randall, tells us a little bit about him.|
Last year I received a self-addressed envelope in the mail. It was a letter I’d been anticipating all summer. The previous two summers I had received similar envelopes with polite rejection letters enclosed for my submission to the RUCCL (Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature) conference. This time the letter contained good news—after trying for three years to be accepted, I was finally invited.
I had heard from other artists I’d met at SCBWI events that artists and authors were being “discovered” at the RUCCL event. I had submitted my dummy for Queen Tess and the Big Mess and other art samples required for the conference. I thought I was going to be matched with an agent or editor and got myself all worked up thinking that this would be my chance to find the perfect agent or, better yet, get a contract.
I was initially disappointed when I was matched up with author-illustrator Michael Rex because he is not an editor or an agent. But what I have learned through my years of trying to get published is, if you keep an open mind and go with an attitude of learning, you will grow. I learned more from Michael in that one-on-one session than I could have possibly imagined.
Mike is an incredibly warm person. He made me laugh, he made me feel good about my art, he had helpful suggestions to improve my dummy, and best of all, he encouraged me to continue to grow. Mike is a highly successful author-illustrator. He has written over 40 books including the New York Times best seller Good Night Goon and his latest book, Eat Pete. He has a chapter book series, he performs lively school visits, and his graphic novels have been turned into an animated series! I am honored that he was able to spend time with me at the RUCCL conference—I really could not have asked for anyone better.
Berrie Torgan-Randall is the new Illustrator Coordinator for Eastern PA SCBWI. She has been passionate about children’s literature since she was a little girl and has fed her desire by becoming a children’s librarian and by pursuing a career as an illustrator and writer of children’s books. You can visit her website at www.berrietr.com.