Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Summer Springboard for Illustrators 2022 – Come Paint Your Public Face!

Date(s) - 07/28/2022
10:30 am - 12:00 pm


Webinar: Summer Springboard for Illustrators 2022
Come Paint Your Public Face! with Caroline Leech, Marissa Valdez, and Emma Virján
90 minute Webinar
Thursday, July 28, 2022 at 10:30 AM – noon Eastern/9:30-11 AM Central/8:30-10 AM Mountain/7:30-9 AM Pacific

SCBWI Members: $15; Non-members: $25
Includes live webinar and 30 days of recording access.

Optional written critiques following webinar: 

  • Picture book dummy critique: $70.00
  • Portfolio Critique (up to 15 images): $70.00

About the webinar:

Summer Springboard for Illustrators 2022 winds up with a guide to presentation skills and book event planning.

Join YA author/book launch strategist, Caroline Leech, and her guests, author/illustrators Emma Virján and Marissa Valdez, as they introduce you to some exciting strategies for presenting yourself as a professional illustrator. They’ll also share their top tips on how to plan the most effective and, above all, fun book launch events, both online and in-person. They’ll be covering useful topics such as: 

· planning and promoting your own book launch and other events; 
· collaborating with your publishers and authors—even celebrity authors—so you can play an active part in their marketing plans; 
· creating fascinating interactive talks and hands-on workshops for presentation in schools and libraries; 
· how to utilize your own community of illustrators and other book professionals to create buzz around your books. 
You will be sent a downloadable worksheet guide so you can take notes of their advice, and your own ideas, and there will be time set aside for the panel to answer your questions.

About the Presenters:

Caroline Leech is a Scottish/Texan writer, editor and coach, and has been writing professionally for over three decades. Before moving to the USA, she was a Press & PR consultant and trainer in strategic press, media and presentation skills, working with performing and literary arts companies and arts trade organizations across the United Kingdom. Once in Houston, she began to write fiction, and her YA historical novels, WAIT FOR ME (2017) and IN ANOTHER TIME (2018) were published in the US and the UK by Harper Collins. She currently has her first women’s fiction manuscript out on submission. She founded the Inspiring Houston Women blog, serves on the advisory board of Inprint, Houston’s leading literary non-profit organization, and acts as communications consultant for Austin Opera. She has also continued to write feature articles on the performing arts for a number of newspapers and magazines in the US and UK.  Throughout her time in Texas, she has been designing and presenting workshops on creative writing craft, social media strategy, and on interview and presentation skills for individuals and organizations such as SCBWI, Houston Grand Opera, Rice University School of Literacy and Culture, as well as schools in Houston ISD and in the UK.

You can follow Caroline on Instagram @carolinesblurb, on Twitter @carolinesblurb, or on Facebook as Caroline Leech Author.


Marissa Valdez is the NY Times bestselling illustrator of the picture book AMBITIOUS GIRL, written by Meena Harris. She’s a 2016 graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she received a BFA in Animation. She loves to illustrate stories that are overflowing with humor, wit, and totally out-there situations. In her spare time, Marissa gets her illustration inspiration by wandering around natural science museums, watching super-cool dinosaur documentaries, and playing with her two fat cats. AMBITIOUS GIRL (Little Brown, 2021) is her debut picture book as an illustrator. She is also illustrating the young chapter book series ESME’S BIRTHDAY CONGA LINE (Tundra, May 10th 2022), written by Lourdes Heuer, about a plucky girl who is sure she can plan her own birthday party when her Mimi and Pipo forget, and HATTIE HARMONY: WORRY DETECTIVE (Viking, June 28th 2022), written by Elizabeth Olsen and Robbie Arnett, about a cat detective that always finds the perfect tools to calm her friends’ bodies and minds. She is represented by Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

You can follow Marissa on Instagram @marissaarts and on Twitter @marissaillo. 

Critiquing: Portfolios, Picture book dummies.


Emma J. Virján is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator living in Austin, Texas. 
Titles for her PIG IN A WIG early reader series are quite long – What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig, What This Story Needs is a Hush and a Shush, What This Story Needs is a Munch, and a Crunch, What This Story Needs is a Bang and a Clang, and What This Story Needs is a Vroom and a Zoom. 
Titles for her CAPTAIN CAT early reader series are a little shorter –  Captain Cat and the Pirate Lunch and Captain Cat Goes to Mars.
Because Emma likes to draw so much, she has also illustrated If This Bird Had Pockets, a Poem in Your Pocket Day Celebration, poetry by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Emma loves visiting schools, libraries, and cafeterias. Her funny, engaging presentations include book readings, Q&A, pictures of dogs and lots, and lots of drawing. Students learn about the writing process, the benefit of a story arc, how to develop a character, ways to generate story ideas, and how to draw using shapes. Emma can often be seen walking her Golden Retriever, Bella, working in the yard, and enjoying breakfast tacos. She likes to travel, and hopes to make it back to Rome because the first time she visited the Sistine Chapel was closed.
You can follow Emma on Instagram @emmavirjan, on Twitter @EmmaVirjan, and on Facebook as Emma J. Virjan. 
Critiquing: Portfolios, Picture book dummies.


To register, fill out the form below. SCBWI members MUST be logged in to get the discounted rate. Registration will close at 11:59 PM Eastern on July 24, 2022.

International members only: If our payment system isn’t processing your credit card or PayPal payment, email to request an alternate method of payment. Please include your name and address in your request.

Access information for the live webinar will be sent on the morning of the webinar and access information on the recording will be sent out the following day. The recording of the webinar will be available for 30 days after the live event. The recording will be for registered attendees only, so if you can’t make the live event, you can register to view the recording.

Those who select add-on critiques must submit their critique material by August 4, 2022. Detailed submission instructions will be sent out following the live webinar to those who register for this option. You do not need to submit anything now.



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Nonmember - $25.00

SCBWI Member - $15.00

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The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy
To register for an SCBWI event, you are required to acknowledge our Anti-Harassment Policy.
Scroll to the bottom to read the policy.

You will then be able to click the checkbox indicating that you have read our policy.


The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free environment for all of its members and will take any and all necessary steps to address and prevent harassment at events associated with SCBWI. Harassment under this policy may include verbal comments, written comments, displayed images, or behaviors such as intimidation, stalking, body policing, unwelcome photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention or advances, and bullying or coercion. 

The SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy applies to all situations of harassment or intimidation at any SCBWI Event. An “SCBWI Event” is any event, meeting or activity that is authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager to be sponsored by, or affiliated with, SCBWI. SCBWI events may include, if properly authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager, the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, the Annual Winter Conference in New York, regional conferences, meetings and meet-ups. This SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy also applies to “SCBWI On-Line Interactions,” which include Zooms, Webinars, online meetings, communications and content posted on, or directed towards, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts or sent through any of the communication tools available on SCBWI’s website, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts under this policy include the official SCBWI accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn.


Code of Conduct

All participants in SCBWI Events and SCBWI On-Line Interactions, including faculty, volunteers, staff, and attendees, are required to comply with the following anti-harassment code of conduct. The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits harassment, including but not limited to the following behaviors:

  • Intimidation, stalking, or following;
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events;
  • Unwelcome sexual attention or advances;
  • Abusive verbal comments;
  • Quid pro quo– sexual harassment that occurs when one in an authority position requests sex or a sexual relationship in exchange for professional consideration or favors;.
  • Harmful or prejudicial verbal comments, written comments, or visual images related to gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, religion, socio-economic status, disability, age, appearance, body size, or other personal characteristics;
  • Inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images
  • Unwelcome or uninvited attention or contact
  • Physical assault (including unwelcome touching or groping);
  • Real or implied threat of physical harm;
  • Real or implied threat of professional or financial damage or harm;
  • Body policing, unwelcome photography or recording;
  • Doxing
  • Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or reasonable and respectful critique made in good faith. SCBWI continues to welcome and appreciate presentation of appropriate controversial ideas, free speech, and creative artistic expression. SCBWI encourages members to hold one another accountable to the Code of Conduct as stated in this part of the Policy and to take the perspectives of others seriously when a disagreement arises.

We expect all participants at SCBWI activities, meetings, and networking events to abide by this Anti-Harassment Policy in all venues, including sanctioned events, ancillary events, unofficial events, and social gatherings.


Reporting Procedures

Any person who believes there has been a violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy can report the offense in one or all of the following ways:

  • Certain SCBWI Events, including the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles and the Annual Winter Conference in New York, will designate one or more Safety Team Members who will be available during the conference to provide a safe space for members to report an incident. The Safety Team Member will report directly to the conference director or regional advisor in charge.
  • A complainant may submit a complaint under this policy to the Director of Community Marketing and Engagement, the Director of Illustration and Artist Programs and/or your Regional Manager.
  • SCBWI has a dedicated email address for reporting any potential incident of harassment under this policy. Anyone who chooses to report an incident can find the Anti-Harassment Report Form on the SCBWI website (About > Anti-Harassment) or use the following link: Reports should include the substance of the complaint, date, and whenever possible, a list of witnesses or a reference to the relevant URLs, if the offense occurred through an SCWBI On-Line Interaction.

SCBWI will investigate all complaints subject to the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy. If the policy applies, SCBWI will investigate the matter and take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to prevent a recurrence and protect the environment at SCWBI Events. If a complaint is made anonymously, please note that SCBWI will not be able to follow up on an anonymous report with the complainant directly, as SCBWI will not have contact information for the anonymous complainant. Moreover, anonymous complaints may hinder SCBWI’s ability to investigate the complaint.  SCBWI will take steps to protect the confidentiality of the complaint, to the extent possible.  However, complete confidentiality may not be possible in all circumstances.  SCBWI will make every attempt to respond to a named complainant in a timely fashion.

If appropriate, SCBWI may report the incident to local authorities.



The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits retaliation against a member of the SCBWI community for reporting harassment, intimidation or discrimination, or for participating in an investigation relating to any complaint made under this policy. The sanctions for retaliation are the same sanctions available to address any other violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy.



SCBWI takes all allegations of harassment seriously. Complaints will be investigated by SCWBI if they fall within the scope of SCWBI’s Anti-Harassment Policy. Depending on the results of the investigation, SCWBI will determine whether a sanction is appropriate.

Sanctions for faculty, speakers, volunteers, staff or board members may include any of the following:

  • warning the party involved that the particular behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a temporary or permanent basis;
  • withholding of a contracted honorarium;
  • prohibition from future speaking engagements;
  • prohibition from future faculty appointments;
  • expulsion from SCBWI; and/or
  • removal from the Board of Advisors or Board of Directors, when appropriate.

Sanctions for attendees, members, and guests can include any of the following:

  • warning the party involved that specified behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event, without refund;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a permanent or temporary basis;
  • termination of SCBWI membership, without refund; and/or
  • prohibition of future SCBWI membership.

If the conduct at issue involves one of SCBWI’s employees, SCBWI will utilize whatever corrective action is appropriate based on the result of the investigation and subject to SCBWI employment policies and practices.



SCBWI will make every reasonable effort to conduct all investigations into allegations of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of all parties and witnesses. Notwithstanding the above, confidentiality is not absolute, and those with a legitimate business reason to know and be informed of the allegations will be so informed. Parties to the complaint should treat the matter under investigation with discretion and respect the reputation of all parties involved.


If you wish to file a complaint or an anonymous complaint, CLICK HERE to access the Anti-harassment Report Form.

If you have questions regarding this policy, you may send an email to Please include the words "Anti-Harassment Policy" in the subject line. 


I have read and accepted the SCBWI Anti-Harassment policy.