I had the chance to find out more from Patrice...
Lee: Congratulations on your book, MINE!, being awarded the Crystal Kite Members Choice Award!
Patrice: Thank you, Lee. I was delighted receive the Crystal Kite from my SCBWI peers in Texas and Oklahoma. I'm humbled and honored!
Lee: Please tell us about your book!
Patrice: MINE! is a nearly wordless picture book about a toddler, a baby and a puppy navigating the trials and triumphs of sharing. It begins with two adults setting the children down next to a pile of toys. The toddler declares "Mine!" with every toy in reach. The baby is enthralled by the toddler and is unconcerned by his territorial claims. The puppy just wants to play. Mayhem ensues! Eventually, the dog's water dish becomes involved, one toy gets wet, the other toys get wet, the toddler, baby and dog all get soaked. Just when you think things are going to get dicey the children realize, all on their own, that toys are a lot more fun when you have friends to share them with.
Lee: How long have you been involved with SCBWI?
Patrice: I've been an SCBWI member for almost nine years.
Lee: Can you share what you feel you've gained by being a member?
Patrice: It's been great! My first experience with SCBWI was a local conference here in Austin. I didn't know a soul, I just knew I had to be there. I loved every minute of it. The guest speaker was Laurie Halse Anderson (just wow!) and the entire audience hung on her every word. I knew then that I was in the right place. I made friends that day that I still have now.
I have two favorite things about SCBWI. The first is the wonderful friendships I've made over the years thru conferences and our Austin chapter meetings. Now we meet over coffee, sharing our latest "favorite" picture books. Also I'm a member of the Girllustrators, a group of SCBWI friends who share shoptalk and resources. Austin is really a great community of writers and illustrators who help and support each other.
My second favorite thing about the SCBWI are the conferences I've attended in Texas and New York. They are terrific avenues for learning about the industry, teaching you how to get your foot in the door. The keynote speakers are always inspiring! The conferences are also a great place to reach art directors, editors, agents and publishers. For example, I have a picture book in the process now with an art director I met at the last conference I attended.
Lee: There you are, starrring in another SCBWI Success Story! Awesome! Do you have any advice to share with other children's book writers and illustrators?
Patrice: Explore SCBWI and take advantage of all it has to offer! When it comes to your work, try everything! Enjoy! Play! Dig in! Go out on a limb! If you go too far, you can always reel it in a bit. If you don't stretch, you won't know how far you can go.
Excellent advice! Thanks, Patrice!
I also contacted Debbie Gonzales, Austin's Regional Advisor, to hear more about their region, and get the inside scoop on Patrice's win. Here's what Debbie shared...
SCBWI possesses a strong presence in Texas. There are five vibrant chapters in the state, each of which has its own unique charm to it. We all exchange information with one another and support each chapter’s events through promotion and participation. Of course, isn’t that the SCBWI way?
The Austin Chapter always has something going on. If it’s not a monthly meeting at BookPeople, it's a celebration for a member’s book release or clusters of folks in coffee shops hunkered down over their laptops simply spending time together honing their craft. We’re lucky because our PAL members regularly attend meetings and events. They serve as models of success and a testimony of the professional opportunities provided them through membership in the SCBWI. Oftentimes these shining stars can be found greeting a newcomer, which just warms my heart! It’s as if together we grow.
Speaking of working together, being that Austin is known for being such a techie city, we’ve gathered up a bunch of our local gurus and are putting together another digital event on October 6th. We’re calling it Digital Symposium II: the Nuts and Bolts of Success. It’s going to be a hands-on technology workshop for illustrators and authors of all techie levels. Be it blogging or beveling, tweeting or technique sharing, hyperlinking or hashtagging, the intention of this symposium is for the participants to leave with new skills to add to their technological tool belts. Registration is now open. Y’all come on out and enjoy a little bit of Texas hospitality! We’d love to have you. Access http://www.austinscbwi.com to register. We’ll treat you so good, you won’t want to leave.
Regarding Patrice Barton’s recent Crystal Kite win, oh gosh, we’re all over-the-top elated about it! There is not a more deserving illustrator walking on the planet than Patty! She’s the consummate professional and has spent years perfecting her technique, and what a magical technique she has! She’s delightful, amazing, warm, soft-spoken and very kind. I think her mesmerizing illustrations are a reflection of her tender heart. You can’t fake the artistic sincerity of Patrice Barton’s style. No way.
And, in keeping with the spirit of lifting up others, Patty’s a member of a female band of local illustrators who call themselves the Girllustrators. These ladies openly share their techniques on a beautiful group website. Also, Patty has done a series of instructive videos for our Illustrator Coordinator, Mark Mitchell, for his website and his program called How to Be a Children’s Book Illustrator. All of this, and, because of her desire to raise the level of participation and excellence within our community of illustrators, Patty rolled up her sleeves and served as a committee member during our knock-out Regional Conference last February.
Can you see why we’re so thrilled for her? She’s the greatest and most deserving of this prestigious award.
You can find out more about Patrice at her website here.
And more info on Austin SCBWI here!
My thanks to Debbie, and cheers to Patrice for winning the Crystal Kite Members Choice Award for her illustrations for MINE!