Massive, and I do mean massive blog coverage of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) National Conference in Los Angeles at  The Official SCBWI Conference Blog.

The team-blogging effort was led by Alice Pope, who edits the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market, the annually updated directory published by Writer’s Digest Books.

I also recommend Diandra Mae’s blog Taking Flight for her attentive,  fun  coverage of her experience as an attendee of the four days of panels, workshops, talks and socials .

Before we  get into the blogs,  though, here’s a clip of the great picture book artist and creator Tomie dePaolo being interviewed by SCBW National Executive Director Lin Oliver about the “art of the picture book.”  No, the video’ was not part of the conference but part of an SCBWI “Master Class.” But these are two personalities who loom large over the org.

If you’ve not yet heard of SCBWI or know much about it, here’s an interview from the SCBWI website where Executive Director (and prolific children’s author and producer of movies based on children’s books) Lin Oliver does a good job of speaking for the now global organization.

D’s a talented illustrator in the Houston area — a former 7th grade teacher now active with the  Houston chapter of SCBWI .  Her posts put you in the shoes of someone packing her bags and heading out to Los Angeles for the big event.

She catches many good quotes and observations in her blog  Taking Flight, like David Weisner’s remark in an illustrators’  Q&A:

“…He did mention that with all of these portfolios he is asked to view at art schools around the country, he’s noticed that there is a serious lack of drawing ability that often hinders brilliant and wonderful ideas. ‘Take a figure drawing class for goodness’ sakes!’ He reminds us that this ”is not about making precious drawings, it’s about learning the craft’ because ‘observational drawings are at the heart of everything we do.’ ”

I  enjoyed reading what she says about the first ever Illustrators’ Social at the national conference. D writes,“What a wonderful concept! Cecilia Yung, David Diaz, Priscilla Burris were there to facilitate the chaos of portfolio sharing, card swapping and chatting. They talked a little about how we illustrators were only 15% of the attendees, and we needed to band together for support.”

So here are her reports:  Day One , Day Two , Day Three,
Day Four
. Thank you, Diandra Mae  for some wonderful reporting.

The SCBWI LA Conference team blog includes the  Golden Kite Awards/2009 Conference Portfolio Awards along with art from the winners of the SCBWI New York Portfolio Exhibition and the Tomie dePaola Award.

Alice Pope on her own Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market blog (on August 12) includes  a transcript of her own tweets throughout the four days. They’re entertaining  even if you’re not familiar with all of the authors’ and editors’ names.

You can read all tweets from all persons who tweeted in real time on  the event at this Twitter site. (Or you can pull them up on your own twitter page by searching for:  #scbwi09.)  The tweets are nano-quotes from the artist/writer/editors/ agent panels and talks,  breadcrumb trails of “kid publishing” thought.

Team blog carries reportage on talks by the wonderful (Caldecott Honor) illustrator Marla Frazee, Dan Yaccarino,  Scholastic Executive Art Director Elizabeth Parisi (on book dummies), Golden Kite Award winner for illustration (for Last Night,  Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Hyewon Yum — and more from David Weisner, like how, for those  lily pad piloting frogs of  his Caldecott Medal winning-Tuesday,  he found frog skeletons to study.