James Ransome was a professor of mine at Pratt Institute many years ago and told me about the Highlights Foundation workshops. I couldn’t afford to go because I had been working for several years on a picture book I was writing and illustrating that had yet to sell. Thanks to a generous scholarship from the Foundation, I was able to attend the Illustration Intensive and then parlay my time out east into a stopover in New York City for some important meetings before heading home to Los Angeles.
I found Highlights refreshing and invigorating (at I time when I was quite frustrated.) Connecting with other illustrators was such a blessing. Illustrators are few and far between–getting to spend a weekend with a bunch of them was novel and wonderful!!! The mentors were able to offer me encouragement and advice (and have remained friends and supporters!)
The food was DELICIOUS. (I was pleased by the beer fridge too…) and cabin 16 was AWESOME! It was the perfect wilderness writer fantasy. I was absolutely certain that Bigfoot was off in the woods nearby.
The GREAT news is that I finally sold my book!!!! Here’s the announcement from Publishers Weekly a few weeks ago:
Thanks SOOO much, Highlights Foundation, for believing in me and giving me the scholarship. This workshop was the perfect stepping stone at just the right time and helped me make it across what felt like a raging river.
I am forever grateful.
P.S. Here’s an inscription I found in the guest book of cabin 16, by my agent! I took that to mean I was exactly where I was supposed to be.