Picture Book Academy Recap

Picture Book Academy On Saturday, November 5, 2016, at the Best Western in Westminster, MD, our SCBWI region held the first picture book day in a few years. It was a great success and was organized and conducted by our Regional Advisor Emeritus Lois Szymanski and Illustrator Coordinator Rebecca Evans, with Event Coordinator Sarah Maynard.

Henry, Joyce and Jonathan made a fun panel

Henry, Joyce and Jonathan made a fun panel

Henry Cole, award-winning author/illustrator of many books, including Spot, the Cat, gave the keynote address titled “From Nature to Novels.” In it he spoke of his career journey and the influences and contacts he’s made along the way, and how important it is to maintain those connections.


Henry Cole

Henry Cole

Joyce Hesselberth

Joyce Hesselberth


1445558173773Joyce Hesselberth, designer, illustrator and co-owner of Spur Design in Baltimore also writes and illustrates children’s books, such as the award-winning Shape Shift. She gave an informative and entertaining talk titled “So, You Want to Make a Picture Book.” Joyce, who is on the faculty of Maryland Institute College of Art, spoke of her very different path to the children’s book field and how her other projects inform her process.



Liz Kossnar

Liz Kossnar

Liz Kossnar, who joined the Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers editorial team in November 2013 and is now Associate Editor, gave an enthusiastic talk. Liz discussed the “Next Goodnight Moon: Why Knowing What’s Out There Matters & How to Find Your Hook.” Her presentation was a big hit, and we’re honored that she was our guest.





Jonathan Bean

Jonathan Bean

Author/illustrator Jonathan Bean talked about “Picture Books and the Formal Elements of Communication.” Though his talk was mostly about the elements of illustration, there was also a lot for writers to absorb. Jonathan’s latest book is This is my Home, This is my School.





Katrina Damkoehler, an art director, designer, and illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY, and now Senior Designer at Random House, spoke about “(Almost) Wordless Picture Books.” This talk was very helpful for everyone!

Katrina Damkoehler

Katrina Damkoehler









There were two separate panel discussions to round out the day; one was about process, and the other focused on publication.


Those who attended came away with valuable information and made some new connections. I look forward to the next picture book event!

About susandilldetwiler

Freelance illustrator living in Baltimore
This entry was posted in Author/Illustrator Events, Conference Information, Regional News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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