I've been a member of SCBWI since about 2014 when I was still living in New York and setting new goals to break out in children's publishing. I absorbed a lot of the information on offer, and was working at the time towards a MFA but didn't quite feel like I had enough of a children's style to set myself apart from the amazing illustration community already out there. When I left my job and hometown and moved to Tasmania in January of 2015, I really dove further into creating more work and getting it in front of people. Naturally I uploaded my children's oriented pieces to the SCBWI showcase online and used "The Book" to get in touch with publishers directly.
In January of 2016 I got an email from POW! Kids Books, an imprint from the art and photography publisher, Powerhouse Books in New York. The editor wrote that they were working on a new book and the author, Cynthia Leonor Garza, had submitted my name as her choice illustrator for it, and magically the editor agreed! She later informed me that she found me through SCBWI searches, and that led them all to my website.
We held a Skype meeting together from all different parts of the world, and we discussed the look and feel of the story, scene and characters. I spent several months on the artwork which consisted of watercolour and digital painting techniques. Working with a small publisher provides a bit more attention and openness to the design of the book, so I was pleased to be able to do the lettering and design for the cover as well. The team at POW! picked stunningly rich papers and exciting text placement for the inside and it was published and distributed worldwide in March 2017! This book is both Cynthia's and my debut book, and what an amazing first experience it has been!
It has been reviewed by Kirkus, The School Library Journal, and many other fabulous people. I have SCBWI to thank for putting me in the right place at the right time.