This year’s summer conference hosted nine outstanding keynote presentations from authors and illustrators hailing from around the country and brought picture book enthusiasts together. While our more than 200 conference attendees from 16 states are no strangers to learning new things, every aspect of the event gave them something new to take in from keynote presentations to autograph sessions. Here are some fun details and findings from last week.
- Inspiration comes from a variety of places, illustrator Jane Dyer—who has a five-year waiting list when it comes to new projects—shared pictures of her dog, her granddaughter, her dolls and her little lamb that look a lot like the characters and pages of her books.
- The Museum’s Freed Galleria is featuring artwork donated to Mazza from a book by each of the keynote speakers. From colorful illustrations from Barbara McClintock’s A Children’s Garden of Verses and Jeffrey Ebbeler’s Twelve Days of Christmas in Ohio to a graphite pencil illustration from Renata Liwska’s Red Wagon, each piece honors the speaker’s experience at the conference and their shared commitment to the power of the picture book.
- With experience from popular films and TV series like Timon and Pumba and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Drew Daywalt knows how to develop fun and relatable dialogue. Hearing his stories and learning about where his ideas came from gave conference participants insights into how he brings ordinary objects like crayons, rocks and scissors to life.
- To Brian Lies, who worked in political and editorial illustration before children’s books, the main role of the teacher is to inspire wonder and imagination in kids because “Creative solutions are important in any job,” he said, mentioning a plumber as an example.
- Bringing a new flavor to illustration Akiko White is bursting onto the page with a medium unique to her. Inspired by her memories of making cakes with her grandmother as a child, she’s creating illustrations from tools like molding chocolate, isomalt, gum paste and fondant.
- The Museum also hosted dinner with the artists. Guests on Monday night enjoyed Roger Fell’s Famous Gumbo with President Katherine Fell, Ph.D., of the University of Findlay at the Carrothers Home of the President. On Tuesday, guests went out to the Western Equestrian Farm for a cookout and a special demonstration on horseback from Jake Bowman, Farm Business Manager at UF and Museum Director, Ben Sapp. Check out the videos on Facebook.
- Illustrator and graphic novelist Matt Phelan took participants on a behind the scenes tour of his newest genre-challenging comic strip and fractured fairytale: Snow White. Studying film and theatre in college, he took his inspiration from film noir and set his version during the Great Depression.
- Donning the atrium and hallways outside the Museum, kindergarten through fifth graders from local schools put together murals that pay tribute to each of the keynote artists at the conference. Coordinator Matt Bower, elementary art specialist with Findlay City Schools creates about half the murals with students in his classes and works with other art specialists in the district to create displays that mimic the style and techniques of each of the artists.
The top image features the keynote of Marc Tyler Nobleman.