Workshop Descriptions


What’s the Story? with Anne Appert

(Illustrators – All Levels) PB, GN. Have you ever started to sweat when an agent, editor, or art director asks if you have a story to go with an illustration in your portfolio? Let’s make that answer always yes! This workshop will guide illustrators from a standalone illustration to a fleshed out story idea. Learn tips and techniques for brainstorming, writing, and pushing ideas beyond initial inspiration. Participants should bring 2-3 pieces of their own work and something to write with to put these tips and techniques into practice!


What Story Does Your Character Deserve? with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

(Writers - All Levels) PB, CB. As book creators, our characters are like our children -- we conceive of them, mold them, and help them figure things out. Unfortunately, just like real children, our characters don't always thrive in the situations we put them into. This workshop will help participants first evaluate the characters they've created for younger books (picture book through chapter book) and decide where the characters truly belong. In addition, we will discuss strategies to add facets and complexity to their characters that will enhance the overall narrative.


Show Some Restraint: Creating the Sparse Picture Books for Today's Market with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen & Leeza Hernandez

(Writers–All Levels) PB. A perfect picture book requires synergy between words and illustrations, but these days, the market is looking for the words to do more with less. It takes a particular set of skills to create a multifaceted, yet sparse, picture book text that gives the illustrator a full vision but allows them to use the art to bring the book to a new level. (Knowing how to effectively deploy art notes is very helpful in this task.) The presenters will share the knowledge they've acquired over very long careers to help both authors and author-illustrators build this particular skill set and enable them to craft, draft and submit these types of picture book manuscripts.


From Portfolio to Profit: Monetizing Your Kidlit Illustrations with Leeza Hernandez

(Illustrators – All Levels). For kidlit illustrators and today's competitive landscape, it's essential to explore additional avenues for generating income and expanding your creative business. In this workshop, we'll explore various income opportunities available to illustrators, with a focus on leveraging your kidlit portfolio as a springboard for success. Through insightful discussions and practical examples, participants will: - Gain an understanding of the different income streams available to kidlit illustrators, including online sales, art licensing and merchandise. - Learn how to effectively showcase and market their kidlit portfolio to attract potential clients and opportunities. - Receive tips and advice on building a sustainable and profitable creative business using their kidlit illustrations as a foundation. Whether you're a budding illustrator seeking to monetize your artwork or an established professional looking to diversify your income streams, this workshop will provide you with valuable insights and actionable strategies to turn your passion into profit.


Three's Company with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Leeza Hernandez & Rachel Orr

(Writers & Illustrators – All Levels) PB. One of the most common questions most writers or illustrators have when they're starting out is "How do I get an agent?" But a much better question is "How do you know if your agent is the one?" In this workshop, an author, an illustrator and an agent will discuss how to find, forge and foster a successful working relationship—including how to set expectations, how to collaborate and how to handle any moments of heartbreak


Creating Buzz with Your Local Bookstore with Adria Karlsson

(Published Authors) PB, MG, YA. With so many books available in bookstores, how do you get yours to stand out? Join author/illustrator, Adria Karlsson, as they discuss how they built relationships with local independent bookstores using a combination of planned bookstore “tours” and dropping into local bookstores when they happened by. They will discuss tips they learned that helped get those indie bookstores to champion their books in their physical stores and their social media accounts. Attendees will leave this workshop with the tools to find their own routes for bookstore tours, knowledge about approaching bookstore owners and sellers, information on what to bring with them, and insight into what to expect.


Creating Strong and Unique Voices for Your Stories with Andrea J. Loney

(Writers-All Levels) PB, MG, YA. In a crowded and competitive publishing market, it’s important for your book to hook an agent, editor, or reader immediately. Learning how to develop a clear and distinctive voice for your story is an essential skill. And with AI-generated content entering our field, we all need to find ways to beat the competition by incorporating uniquely human qualities in our writing — the kind that make readers feel seen, understood, and connected. In this interactive workshop, learn proven techniques for developing strong narrative voices and compelling stories that could only be written by YOU.


Making the Most of an Author Visit with Robin Newman

(Published Authors) PB. A school has invited you to speak with their students. What should you do? What should the school do? This session will help you put your best foot forward before you ever set foot in the classroom, and will help you create a successful classroom presentation for when you ultimately do.


Illustration Bootcamp: Tips and Tricks to Advancing your Children’s Book Portfolio with Christina Rodriguez-Unalt

(Illustrators – All Levels) PB. Find out what agents and publishers are looking for and learn how to incorporate new portfolio development tools into your craft. Whether you are an experienced book illustrator or new to the children’s publishing market, this hands-on workshop will help you bring your portfolio to the next level. Topics include overcoming creative block and using classic art principles to advance your visual storytelling techniques. Participants will leave with their next 3-5 portfolio/ book ideas and should bring sketchbooks, pencils, paper, or hand held drawing tablets.


Scaffolds and Skeletons: Making the Most Of Different Story Structures with Laura Sassi

(Writers – Beginners) PB. In this workshop, we’ll explore various frameworks that picture book authors use to structure their stories including classic narrative, cumulative, circular, journey, abc/counting, parallel and mirror. We’ll pair each structure with at least one mentor text and then spend time looking at the strengths and pitfalls of each structure. The purpose of all this? To help us, as writers, choose the best structures for our particular stories. The workshop includes practical practical, hands-on exploration and application to our own writing so bring your WIP!


How to Deepen POV for Emotional Impact with Yvonne Ventresca

(Writers – All Levels) MG/YA. How do readers become immersed in stories? Often, it’s through a sense of connection to the main character. This workshop explains specific techniques for deepening point of view. Learn how to create more immediacy in your storytelling by adding effective interior monologue, eliminating filter words, and avoiding common pitfalls that lessen emotion. Yvonne will share specific examples and provide tools you can use immediately to deepen the impact of your own work.