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Level Up!

A monthly webinar series focusing on craft. Designed to help our members improve their writing, illustration, and all their creative endeavors. The cost is only $10 for premium members. Every webinar will be recorded and available to view for one month. 👉 IF YOU HAVE REGISTRATION ISSUES CONTACT LAURA AT 📌 Registration will close 3 days before the event.

Monthly Webinars

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Laugh Out Literature: Creating Humor in Picture Books with Isabella Kung

Humor sells! It's no wonder that many editors and agents have funny or quirky picture books on their submission wishlists. In this presentation, Isabella will discuss: Why humor is important, what's funny to kids at different ages, how she created NO FUZZBALL! and NO SNOWBALL! As well as dissect different techniques used in 25 successful humorous picture books. ~~~~ Isabella Kung is the author and illustrator of NO FUZZBALL! (Scholastic, 2020), about a fuzzy feline Queen that was described as an “expressive, endearing little chunk of well-meaning evil” by Kirkus Reviews. Its sequel, NO SNOWBALL! (Scholastic, 2022), introduces an adorable interloper to the Queendom! Isabella also illustrated over 120 cats for the board books 123 CATS and ABC CATS by Lesléa Newman (Candlewick, 2021), which were listed in Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year 2022 edition.~~~ Her illustrations have received accolades from institutions such as the Society of Illustrators, Spectrum Fantasy Art, 3x3, Creative Quarterly, and SCBWI. Outside the world of publishing, Isabella teaches illustration and watercolor classes at Storyteller Academy and Etchr Lab. Isabella resides in San Francisco with her husband and two adorable – you guessed it – cats! She is represented by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary.

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The Promise of a Good Beginning with Erin Dionne

⭐ Writers know that a strong beginning is critical for any story: It sets the story in motion, hooks a reader/agent/editor, and establishes character. But beginnings do so much more. In this online session, we'll explore the promises and expectations that beginnings communicate to our reader. We'll assess how to carry over those promises to the middle of our novels, and see them through at the end. With some short exercises and lots of questions and examples, audience members will leave with the tools they need to keep their promises of strong beginnings. ⭐ Erin Dionne has published middle grade novels, picture books, chapter books and nonfiction. The first two titles in her spooky new Shiver-By-the-Sea chapter book series, BELLA & THE VAMPIRE and THE WERE-WOOF (Pixel + Ink) are available now. Her essay collection, BAD CHOICES MAKE GOOD STORIES: Conversations About Writing (Table for 7 Press) details her experience of nearly fifteen years in the publishing industry and two decades of teaching writing. When not writing, she’s a professor at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA. 📚

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Building a Visual World with Chamisa Kellogg

Once illustrators receive a manuscript, they have the incredible task of dreaming up a whole visual world. What would it look like if you illustrated Little Red Riding Hood, for example? What year is it set in, and where? This early stage of the picture book illustration process is a vital part of what makes a story feel real to readers. In this workshop taught by author-illustrator Chamisa Kellogg, we'll take a look at how some of today's working illustrators have created unique worlds for their books, as well as stories that have been told and retold, each time in a new and interesting way. We'll then spend some time dreaming up our own worlds for a classic story, diving into personal experiences to make our own unique interpretations through mood boards and sketching, or even a written description. We'll end the class by sharing screenshots or photos of our mood boards in the chat, with time for a short Q&A at the end. 📌 Tools required: sketchbook and/or a personal pinterest board, photoshop, procreate or other image collage tool. 📝 Both authors and illustrators welcome! 🎨 Chamisa is an illustrator, art director and animator based in Portland, Oregon. She has illustrated several picture books, most recently THE PIE THAT MOLLY GREW by Sue Heavenrich. She is currently working on her first author-illustrator book (due out in 2025). Chamisa's go-to illustration style is lush and textural with notes of nostalgia, dreaminess and play. When she’s not making art you might find her gardening, buying too many books, or snuggling with her pup, Orca.