Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers 2012

I promised to post about the 2012 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference held in Sandy, Utah at the Waterford School Campus. I have helped at this conference multiple times over the years and this year was asked to be the illustrator faculty member teaching morning workshops and a few afternoon sessions. Every year I am amazed at the vast amount of knowledge, expertise, and market information that is shared at this conference. This year was no different.

My friend and award-winning author Carol Lynch Williams works SOOOOOO hard each year (for 13 years and going now) to bring together professional authors, illustrators, agents, editors, with beginning & advanced writers and illustrators. There is no other conference I've ever been to that provides what this conference does. I'm so glad to be a part of it and so thankful Carol is willing to devote so much to it year after year.

This year's faculty for the week-long, morning workshops included Carol Lynch Williams,  Cynthia Leitich Smith, Greg Leitich SmithA.E. CannonAnn Dee Ellis, Mette Ivie HarrisionMatt KirbyTrudy HarrisTim Wynne-Jones, and myself (although my class only lasted from Monday through Wednesday).  We also took turns presenting afternoon sessions on different aspects of our craft.

I enjoyed teaching the aspiring artists in my illustration workshop sessions each morning. There was so much to cover and so little time. I only hope I could help guide them enough and that they could catch those bits of knowledge that I wish someone had told me when I was starting out. My assistant was very helpful and kind as was the entire class. It was a great teaching environment. And I had the most amazing class (Thanks for the lilies and red car-pet). Here are some pics from the class (Thanks to Laura Randle for snapping some great shots).

watercolor illustration demo

The class after our lunch together. Poor Bruce (my assistant) was the only guy. I don't think I've ever seen that happen in an illustration class before. He held his own though. :-)
Half-way through the week, I especially enjoyed listening to Trent Reedy's keynote address. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.  He spoke about his experiences that led to him writing "Word's in the Dust." Amazing! I can't wait to read his next book "Stealing Air" (the ARC of which I snagged at ALA). I just need to find some time.

The King's English Book Shop came in to sell books (a hard job when there are so many authors involved in one signing).  They are a fabulous independent bookseller in Salt Lake. If you are ever here, you should stop by their shop.

Editors Ruth Katcher, from Egmont USA, and Alexandra Penfold, from Paula Wiseman Books, and agent John Cusick, from Scott Trimmel Agency also delivered great speeches, answered questions in classes, and provided selected critiques. Ruth and Alexandra have actually attended different conferences in Utah before that I was assisting with and it was so great to see them again and catch up. It was great to meet John and all the other authors I've never had the pleasure to interact with previously. I feel privileged to have been part of such a talented and kind group of people.


  1. Julie,
    Just want to thank you again for the great workshop. Your information was so helpful. If you have a smidgen of time would it be possible to email me the hand-outs? I wasn't able to get them before.
    Thanks-Ester (etswest@gmail.com)

    1. It was great to have you in the class, Esther. I can email the handouts.


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I'm a freelance illustrator working in the children's book industry. I love kids and raising my own 4 children. They are the inspiration and the passion behind all I do in art and in life. See my website at JulieOlsonbooks.com

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