SCBWI Narrative Art Contest
The annual SCBWI Narrative Art Award is an opportunity for artists to stretch their skills in visual narrative and sequence. The winner receives free tuition to the Virtual Winter Conference and has their work displayed during the portfolio show. This year’s theme was “Silver Lining,” something I’m sure we’re all looking for lately. It was a fun challenge for our critique group and intriguing to see everyone’s take. Enjoy!
Weaving With a Different Loom
Below is an article I wrote for the first WWA SCBWI newsletter, reflecting on our season kick off keynote by Kevin lewis. The newsletter should be making its way to you next month, but here’s a sneak peak.
On Saturday, October 10th, WWA SCBWI kicked off the 2020-21 season with a keynote from author/agent extraordinaire, Kevin Lewis. Kevin began his talk by sharing this quote by Barbara Bader, “A picture book is a text, illustrations, total design; an item of manufacture and a commercial product; a social, cultural, historical document; and foremost, and experience for a child.” He followed this up with a striking analogy for the work we do as writers and illustrators for children. He compared this work to weaving textiles. Indeed, text and textiles, he revealed, share a common root word texere, which means to weave. You wouldn’t presume to know how to use a loom just because you own a blanket, he argued, and you shouldn’t presume to know how to make picture books just because you’ve read them.
What really struck me is how Kevin expanded this analogy to beautifully describe the need for cultural competency in our work. You may be adept at using a traditional European loom, but you can’t use it to successfully weave kente cloth. Instead, you need to be immersed in a culture to achieve the level of competency necessary to fluently weave its textiles.
During the Q & A period at the end of the talk, I asked Kevin what creators could do to “learn a different loom.” Research is paramount and it’s important to enlist expert readers, but he also touted the importance of empathy in the process. Truly listen to the group you want to represent, empathize with their perspective, and apologize if you’ve done harm.
There are a number of resources out there for kidlit creators who want to ensure their work is inclusive and culturally competent. The SCBWI website has a page on Diversity Resources that links a number of helpful blogs and articles. I also highly recommend this series of articles written by We Need Diverse Books team members for NanoWriMo 2014.
We have a charge, as authors and illustrators for children, to ensure our work is socially, culturally, and historically inclusive. With awareness and empathy we can ensure we weave beautiful experiences for children.
Last month, Polina proposed a new drawing challenge: create an image for a holiday card using a style different from your own. While most of us missed that last part (oops!), many of us took on the challenge of depicting a seasonal image. Notable among these: Leanne’s image was used in SCBWI’s 2020 Recommended ReadingContinue reading “Happy holidays from The Broad Strokes!”
The state of diversity in kid lit and the need for sensitivity readers. by Ellie Peterson On Saturday, Dec 14th, Broad Stroke Ellie Peterson will be moderating a panel of sensitivity readers for Western Washington SCBWI’s December monthly meeting. Recently, she wrote an article for Pen & Story discussing the state of diversity in kidContinue reading “Why Sensitivity Readers?”
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