Monday, January 14, 2008

Tomek Bogacki

I belong to a great illustrator's group that meets every other month somewhere around the city (CBIG- you can see the website here). Actually, I am currently serving as co-prez, which tickles me, because the last time I held any sort of "office" was as Historian for the Keyette club in high school, a position I was quickly fired from. Not to worry, I do not see history repeating itself for this gig! The other co-prez is a fellow Bloomsbury author, Manya Tessler- her book Yuki's Ride Home released this past week! You can check out her adorable website here.

Anyway, so in these meetings, we usually have a guest speaker, usually an editor, art director, author, or illustrator. I cannot tell you how helpful these meetings have been for my career. I met my first Bloomsbury editor at one of the CBIG-sponsored portfolio reviews. I showed her my book dummy, and within a week or two, I received that wonderful call that they wanted to publish my book. I've met several great editors and art directors through this group, and while obviously not every single one wants to publish my work, I feel like I have an extra connection with a few people now, and I feel like making a one-on-one connection is so important in children's publishing. Not essential, but definitely helpful.

Tomek was really engaging, and it's always inspiring to see another illustrator's work processes. He began his career in Poland, which made my current work struggles seem a little insignificant (really, who knew children's books could be censored?!?!?) I think my favorite book of his is "I Hate You! I Like You!" It's very simple, yet touching and full of character. His work is beautiful, and taught me there's a lot I can simplify in my own work.

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