Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

MAKING WAVES: An Illustrator Event

Date(s) - 11/05/2021 - 11/07/2021
12:00 am


Hosted by Alaska, Hawaii, and MD/DE/WV SCBWI

Friday Social: 6-7 pm HST | 8-9pm AKST  | 12-1am EST
Saturday: 8am-3pm HST | 10am-5pm AKST | 2pm-9pm EST
Sunday: 8am-3pm HST | 9am-4pm AKST | 1pm-8pm EST

Join us for two days of craft-oriented presentations, hands-on intensives, optional critiques, and a juried art show!

Illustration and literary agent at The Tobias Agency Natascha Morris
Illustrator and animator David Depasquale
Art Director at Macmillan, Aram Kim
Art Director at Charlesbridge Kristen Nobles
Illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Illustrator Lucas Elliott

Registration closes November 2 at 12 Midnight EST.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5th: Zoom Social – FREE

6-7pm HST/8-9pm ASKT/12-1am EST

Signup required below to receive a link.

The social is optional, but we hope that you’ll join us to say hello to your fellow attendees and get excited for our weekend presentations. We will ask ice-breaker questions and rotate attendees to break-out rooms to get to know each other in smaller groups.


 SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6: Presentations by Industry Professionals

Early Bird Registration until October 1, 2021: $40 SCBWI members | $65 non-members
Regular Registration after October 1, 2021: $50 SCBWI members | $65 non-members
*You must purchase Saturday ticket to be eligible to enter the Juried Art Show

Recording will be available Monday Nov 8 until midnight Sunday Dec 5. 


8-9am HST | 10-11am AKST | 2-3pm EST
Aram Kim, “From Building a Perfect Portfolio to Reaching Out to the Right Person”
DESCRIPTION: Which pieces are ideal to include in a children’s book portfolio? How do you research the right person to reach out to? And how do you reach out? Join Aram Kim as she guides us through the process of getting your work seen by the right people. 

10-11am HST | 12-1pm AKST | 4-5pm EST
Kristen Nobles, “MAKE WAVES in the publishing world with EVOCATIVE IMAGES”
DESCRIPTION:What makes a promotional postcard or website opening image stand out? How can you be sure your work resonates with an art director, editor, or agent? How do publishing teams make the leap from your portfolio to a book contract? Memorable and evocative images! We’ll look at some of my favorites including visuals that led to Sophie Blackall and Jon Klassen’s first book deals.

12-1pm HST | 2-3pm AKST | 6-7pm EST
Natascha Morris, “Thinking Beyond Books”
DESCRIPTION: Often when we are building art portfolios for publishing we focus on very specific things: storytelling in an image. But how can you use that art to think beyond books, to passive income in subrights, or even new avenues of income. Chat with Natascha Morris, and start seeing your art for the potential beyond the books.

2-3pm HST | 4-5pm AKST | 8-9pm EST
David Depasquale, “Designing Characters to Tell Stories”
DESCRIPTION: What makes the characters we see in animated movies, tv shows, books, and graphic novels so relatable? Join character designer David DePasquale as he discusses what really goes into developing the compelling characters we love.


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7: Hands-On Craft Intensives

(Sunday Only Ticket: $0 SCBWI members | $20 non-members)

Cost: $30 per session.
Recording will be available Monday Nov 8 until midnight Sunday Dec 5. 

Morning Session, 8-11 HST | 9-12pm AKST | 1-4pm EST
Connecting Creatively through Collage with Vanessa Brantley-Newton 

Description: Come explore collage with Vanessa Brantley Newton and how it can help you to get unstuck. This is not going to be the traditional portfolio building session, but more of a healing session. There are so many artists who are struggling right now with Covid and all that is happening in the world.  Vanessa loves to help people get unstuck so they are free to create whatever they want.  After all, agents and editors are not just looking for the next trend.  They really want to see your heart, mind, and spirit, and the style that makes you happy.

Supply list to have ready for workshop: 
Preferred Painting Supplies to create your own scrapbook papers (Posca pens, Gouache, watercolors, Acrylic paints, brushes, magic markers, or crayons)
Collection of papers (newspaper, scrapbooking papers, old dictionary pages, pages from old books, magazine pages, and any other flotsam and jetsam papers that you can find)
Drawing tools (pencils, ink pens, gel pens, etc.)
Heavy Card Stock or Mixed Media Paper (anything that will work for holding collage artwork on)
Something to make marks on paper (old hotel room keys or old credit cards, etc.)
Whatever you can think to create with.  Keep an open mind about your art supplies that you’ll need for this class.
Optional: find images that you really love of other collage artists to bring and share.

NOTE: In this class, first we’ll paint our own papers so you will need painting supplies: Posca pens, Gouache, watercolors, Acrylic paints, brushes, magic markers, or crayons.  We will take about 15 to 20 minutes to make a few of our own papers first.  You will also need a stash of papers that you have collected, like newspaper, scrapbooking papers, old dictionary pages, pages from old books, magazine pages, and any other flotsam and jetsam papers that you can find. You will also need to put together a small collection of supplies: scissors, glue sticks (or some form of adhesive), whatever tools you like to draw with (such as pencils, ink pens, gel pens, etc.), mixed media paper or heavy card stock (anything that will work for holding collage artwork on), something to make marks on paper (old hotel room keys or old credit cards, etc.), and whatever you can think to create with.  Keep an open mind about your art supplies that you’ll need for this class.


Afternoon Session, 12-3pm HST | 1-4pm AKST | 5-8pm EST

Going Further to Refine your Design: A Procreate Workshop with Lucas Elliott 

Description: Join illustrator Lucas Elliott as he shares his experience with the program Procreate and learn how you can utilize this expansive program in your own art-senal. This session will focus on more intermediate uses of the program such as Lighting and Shadow, Adjustment tools, GIF creation and more. This session is open to all, but recommended for intermediate users who have had some experience with the program. 

Supply list:
Apple Pencil

ENDING Zoom Social – FREE

3:30pm HST time/ 4:30pm ASKT / 8:30pm EST

We will get together for an informal online social. We will talk about what we learned, observed, want more of, and say goodbye to our new friends (and possibly share contact information, if you’d like to follow each other on social media). Signup required. 



Cost: $50 each.

Critiques are available to SCBWI Members only.  Not a member yet?  Join here!

Critique registration will close on October 17.

Where to submit: After signing up send your materials/links for critiquing to

Submission Deadline: October 17 (no refunds for missed deadline).
Written critiques will be returned using the SCBWI Gold Form by November 17.

What to Submit: 

  1. Natascha Morrisfull picture book or first 10 pages for writers, PDF of 3-5 images, link to website portfolio, PDF 3-5 pages of picture book dummy, or PDF of 3-5 pages of a graphic novel
  2. David DepasqualeONLY PDF of character design (1-3 pages) or 3-5 images for portfolio review; NO dummies or storyboards
  3. Aram Kim: portfolio review, PDF of 8-12 images
  4. Kristen Nobles: PDF of portfolio OR picture book dummy

File specifications: Please submit standard .pdf or .doc files as specified, or a link to your online portfolio that can be opened on any computer. File name must include your name (for example: JaneDoe_BearsBigBooboo_Dummy.pdf). Keep file size under 5MB. For online portfolios, all images to be critiqued should be seen on the same page, as in a gallery on a website, for example

NOTE: Please do not sign up for coveted and limited critique slots if you are unable to make the deadlines outlined. We will be unable to issue refunds for missed deadlines.



Cost: $15 registration fee (you must register for Saturday in order to register to participate in the contest/show)


Awards (2): Best in Show and People’s Choice

Prize: $50 VISA gift card for Best in Show; $25 VISA gift card for People’s Choice

Jurors (Best in Show): Natascha Morris, agent at Tobias Literary Agency AND Aram Kim, Art Director at Macmillan


  1. Upload your work to the Padlet by midnight on October 31st.
  2. Format: jpg OR png
  3. No bigger than 5MB
  4. Only ONE entry can be posted
  5. Can be color or black and white
  6. Include your name as the title on each entry, and one link. 
  7. Please give only TWO votes (or likes), which count towards the People’s Choice award. 


  • Each entrant will make a new original piece based on the prompt, and upload it to the Padlet site by Oct 31st. The gallery will close to entries on midnight on Oct 31st, Alaska time. If you are not familiar with Padlet, it is a simple program to use. Here is a short instructional video:
  • Anyone registered for the Saturday event is allowed to enter.
  • The gallery will be open for viewing the whole weekend, attendees are encouraged to leave positive comments under entries. 
  • Likes count towards the People’s Choice award.  The People’s Choice award will be awarded to the entry with most likes. Attendees are encouraged to only give 2 likes to their top two favorite pieces. 



Natascha Morris joined The Tobias Agency in 2020 after previously working at BookEnds Literary. With a B.A. in English Literary Studies and a M.S. in Publishing, Natascha is a self-described “publishing nerd.”  She spent most of her childhood in a leather chair with her nose in a book, and her passion for stories across genres, coupled with her desire to find amazing talent, drove her to make the transition from editorial to literary agent.

Natascha’s editorial philosophy stems from the idea that all books should be well written and entertaining, and that all children should see themselves and their lives in books.  Some of her books include ALA award winning Queen of Physics by Teresa Robeson, Grandpa Grumps by Katrina Moore, JLG selected We Wait for the Sun and Oona illustrated by Raissa Figueroa, and The Library of Lost ThingsA Cuban Girl’s Guide to TeaTomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey.



David Depasquale is a character designer and visual development artist currently working at Gaumont Animation. He was born and raised in New Jersey, and moved to NYC in 2006, where he attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, graduating with a degree in illustration in 2010. He moved to Los Angeles, California in January 2015, where he began his animation career as a Prop Designer. He has since worked at and with studios such as Netflix Animation, Titmouse, Disney Television Animation, Chronicle Books, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros, Cartoon Network, and Bento Box, on shows like Arlo the Alligator Boy, Harvey Girls Forever!, Animaniacs, Central Park, Sesame Street, and a number of projects still in development. 

Currently, he lives in Burbank with his boyfriend and their dog, Banjo.



Aram Kim is a writer, illustrator, and designer of children’s picture books. She was born in Ohio, raised in South Korea, and now lives in Queens, NY, happily surrounded by diverse food and culture. By day she is an Art Director at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, where she designed and oversaw many award-winning picture books, including 2021 Caldecott Medal Winner We Are Water Protectors and 2021 Caldecott Honor Winner A Place Inside of Me. She has worked with both debut illustrators and established illustrators on a wide range of children’s books. As an author/illustrator herself of acclaimed picture books, she is closely connected with illustrators and enjoys learning from them and working with them. 

When she is not working as an art director, Aram writes and illustrates her own stories. Her published books include Cat on the Bus (Children’s Choice Reading List 2017, New York Public Library Summer Reading List 2018), No Kimchi for Me! (JLG Gold Selection 2017, Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Book of the Year 2018, A Baker’s Dozen Award 2018), Let’s Go to Taekwondo! ( JLG Gold Selection 2020), and Sunday Funday in Koreatown ( JLG Gold Selection 2021).

Find more about Aram’s work at


Kristen Nobles has worked in children’s literature for over twenty years as a publisher, art director, and designer at well-respected, independent publishing houses including Candlewick Press, Chronicle Books, and Page Street. Currently, as an Art Director at Charlesbridge Publishing, she loves to collaborate with debut talent on strong characters, stories with humor and heart, or a surprising spin on the tried-and-true subjects of kid books like trains and unicorns. She graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in Communication Design and Art History, and has pursued further studies at SVA, Harvard, and Mass Art. With 2 kids under 2 years old, Kristen spends her free time napping – whether in their 1915 built home outside of Providence, RI, or lakeside in a cozy cottage in Maine. Visit


Vanessa Brantley-Newton is a self-taught illustrator, doll maker, and crafter who studied fashion illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology and children’s book illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She is an author and illustrator of Let Freedom Sing and Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table, and has illustrated numerous children’s books, including Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer, New York times best seller King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, and One Love by Cedella Marley. Vanessa has also written and illustrated her own books,  Just Like Me, Grandma’s Purse, and a new release, Becoming Vanessa

Vanessa makes her nest in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, daughter, and a cat named Stripes. To learn more about Vanessa and her artwork please visit and visit her on Facebook at vanessa newton and on Instagram at Vanessa Brantley-Newton


Lucas Elliott is an illustrator in Anchorage, Alaska. His work has been published in the graphic novel Moose, IDW Comics, and Upper Deck Entertainment. He holds a BFA in Painting from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and currently teaches Illustration at the University of Alaska Anchorage. When he’s not working on his next book, you can find him frolicking with the moose he’s befriended with his wife and canine companion. You can find out more about him at his website







The Alaska, Hawaii and Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia chapters of SCBWI encompass a wide range of creators. Our priority is to reflect this representation and serve all members of our local community. In addition, we aim to help the children’s book industry and our local chapter build a bigger bookshelf, by creating a welcoming environment for creators while striking down barriers to access. In an effort to broaden access to resources offered by Alaska, Hawaii and Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia SCBWI chapters, we invite applications to our 2021 Making Waves Awards.

Submissions open now and deadline to submit is Sunday, October 31, 2021.


This award seeks to address financial barriers amongst creators in our regions for whom attending the conference is a financial hardship. ONE award will be granted.The MAKING WAVES COMMUNITY AWARD includes the following:
♦ Attendance to the entire live 2021 online event which includes access to all presentations and workshops (critiques are not included)

This award seeks to lift the voices of underrepresented creators through attendance to our event. TWO awards will be granted, to an illustrator who self-identifies as a member of a community which has been underrepresented in the children’s and young adult literature. We welcome all definitions of underrepresentation.

Please note: the submissions themselves are not required to reflect an underrepresented or marginalized population, only the creator.

Each VOICES RISING AWARD includes the following:
♦ Attendance to the entire live 2021 online event which includes access to all presentations and workshops (critiques are not included)

All applicants must live within Alaska, Hawaii or Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia.
-Applicants may apply for more than one award, but may win no more than one award.
-Applicants do not have to be members of SCBWI to apply.
-There is no fee to apply.

Submissions are now open and the deadline to submit is October 31, 2021. Winners will be announced by November 2, 2021. Any winners who are already registered will receive a full refund.


Please submit work samples, which includes the following:
-Up to three (3) fully finished illustrations appropriate for the children’s literature market in JPEG format, each no more than 5MB in size.
-Name the illustration files “LastName_FirstName_Title.jpg”
-E.g.: “Smith_Jane_MakingFriends.jpg”

Please email Gael Abary, Illustrator Coordinator at with your entries and any questions.

We look forward to receiving your submission. Good luck!