Saturday, January 23, 2010

Call Me McGonagall

... cause I'm a professor! Well, kinda! I taught my first workshop at Pacific Northwest College of Art today, and I think it went pretty well! Children's book folk are such kind people, though, it could be kind of hard to tell. Here is a picture of the PNCA building, in the uber-trendy Pearl district:

Just hanging out in that area makes me feel all hip and trendy- and for me, that is saying something. The workshop today was a 2 1/2 hour deal called "Children's Book Publishing 101". I built upon two talks that I have given before at SCBWI conferences & modified them to fit the program. The first half of the class included a breakdown of the different genres (mass market, middle grade, teen, picture book, etc), and a brief rundown on terminology (gutter, f&gs, bleed, etc). Then on to my beloved Powerpoint! 

The first bit was about molding your idea for a picture book into an actual, real-life book, from early dummy stage through publication. Included a heartfelt reading of "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!", and many tellings of rejection letters.

After a 15-minute breather, on to part 2:
Wherein I described how, back in my days as a high-flying, high-rolling designer at Greenwillow (think Don Draper from Mad Men) we would choose illustrators for different projects. I dove right in to the basket of promotional postcards we'd receive daily:

and I outlined which postcards I'd set aside, on this particular day, as keepers. 

I think I know what question is burning on your brain at this moment: "Vicki, tell me, on your first day as a 'college professor'... whatever did you wear?!?!?"

Good question! I mulled this one over for a while, too! I wanted to strike the important balance of mature, but still artsy, but not too young, but still stylish and bestowing an air of knowledge and know-how. This is what I came up with:

Wait, it looks less frumpy in the "after" picture:

"After" because, I felt like I deserved a new haircut after my exciting day. Sharon can't believe it's really me, despite the fact that- as a friend once observed- my hair is much like Kirsten Dunst's (sp?) in that vampire movie, when no matter how she cuts her curly locks, they always grow back the same. I had a heckuva time finding a new stylist to replace my Louisa, but I really liked Marina right off the bat. And I'd say the salon is even as cute as the old Beehive in Brooklyn!

After a few months of sporadic postings, look at me now- I can't shut myself up! But if you're still hanging with me... Any suggestions for topics you wish you could see covered in a children's book course??!? My 8-week class in Children's Book Illustration begins in March!


Lauren Castillo said...

Congratulations on the workshop, Vicki! And the Children's Book Illustration class! No doubt you will be inspiring lots of young creatives:) HAVE FUN!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the workshop, Vicki! If I were taking your course, I'd love to see marketing covered - there is such a difference between expectations and the hard reality that not many aspiring illustrators know about. It's one of the toughest areas of the biz and can always be improved upon.

雙魚 said...


Adam said...

Hey, congrats there, Professor Jamieson.

How funny that you explain your collegiate fashion rationale...I've always had my own personal rules of thumb, which took some mulling over with the very same logic.

'Cause when one gets used to this whole drawing/painting life, just dressing like someone who lives inside a house can be a challenge...

Vicki said...

Thanks!- and thanks for the suggestion, Christina. I agree, marketing really was something I never learned about in school. Adam, I never really thought about it, but it almost seems like it would be harder for men in this situation! Tie or no tie seems like it would be the biggie.