I posted a couple weeks ago that I will be teaching two classes this Fall at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, Ohio. One class will be for kids, ages 8-12, teaching them the art of cut paper illustration. And the other will be for teens-adult on how to create a picture book. I was so excited to interview with the Beck and get the chance to teach with them this Fall, and I still am, however, the closer September gets the more I feel like the picture book First Day Jitters. In the book the reader thinks it is the child who is nervous about their first day of school, but in the end they find out it is the teacher…which is exactly how I feel.
Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to try my hand at teaching. Especially about something I love and am extremely passionate about! But as I sat down today to start working on my class syllabus I started to get overwhelmed with all the information crammed into my head about becoming an author/illustrator of picture books. I started making a list that just got longer and longer, until I just had to walk away from the list and take a deep breath.
I have no idea if I will get students who are really interested in becoming published or if they just want to try something new, which I think makes it harder to prepare for. Do I talk about agents? Query letters? Editorial letters? Submissions? The picture book climate? Or do I just show them the basics? My brain just kept rattling off bits and pieces of information. Then of course I sat down to decide which books to bring to class for show and tell, which just left me overwhelmed! I sat there in front of my book shelf wanting to write down every title I have because each one has something to offer.
So I did the only thing I could think of: I went through every step of When Blue Met Egg and wrote it down, from start to finish. Everything from the very first idea I had about Blue, to writing the story, creating the dummy, getting a contract, and sending out the finishes to Penguin. And all the millions of things in between.
I know I have a lot to offer about creating picture books and I hope that who ever does sign up for my class feels the same way. To them, I am very excited to meet you and I suppose if you read this post you’ll know why I look so nervous on our first day of class. See you then!