This is my summary of Loren Long's keynote speech at the LA SCBWI Conference, 2010. Hmmm...the end of day one and my notes were a little on the brief side, I think!
Father of two boys, 12 & 14. Comes from Cincinnati. Otis is his most recent picture book – he wrote and illustrated it.
He asks himself: Why do I want to be published? What do I want to give this world?
In 2004 he knew nothing about children's publishing. It was a daunting task to illustrate his first story. He knew nothing about the author of the book. LL says that you have to take the text from the author and OWN it. He thought: “If they can do it, why can't I?” (illustrate children's books).
2003 - Long did one drawing. He had the mood of a book, right there. Uses acrylic paint. Spends 2-3 months on sketches. 4-6 months on final art. He does 2 books a year, but it takes him 1 ½ years :) First picture book illustrated in his late 30s. “I Dream Of Trains”.
Walt Whitman - 'When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer' - sparse.
Illustrated 'The Little Engine That Could.'
Emotional Hit – which part of your book has it? Strive for it. Mood and emotion are key. High/low moments, happy/sad, vulnerable. LL likes to imagine the music that might play alongside a sketch.
Need emotion in your characters – heart and soul, essence.
Duck character illustration shown – LL sang 'All By Myself', the song that he imagines playing alongside it :)