Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Graphic Novel Day: The Whole Picture

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Date(s) - 04/06/2019
8:30 am - 4:30 pm

KU Edwards Campus, BEST Conference Center
12600 S. Quivira - Overland Park, KS 66213


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Illustration Day AND Graphic Novel Writer day IN ONE!

Join us for our third annual Illustration Day—BUT NOT JUST FOR ILLUSTRATORS! Writers are welcome to join us in this full day of Graphic Novel content. Lunch will be provided, along with coffee, tea, and snacks throughout the day. Each of our faculty members will give two 60 minute sessions on a variety of topics related to graphic novel writing, illustrating, and publishing.


Colleen AF Venable will also be doing a small number of individual graphic novel pitch reviews. These will be 10 minute long critique sessions, and will be scheduled throughout the day. More details will be emailed to attendees taking advantage of this opportunity! Sign up soon!


Online registration will close on Monday April, 1. 

SCBWI Member tickets: $95.00

Non-member tickets: $120

Individual pitch reviews with Colleen AF Venable: $45


We are unable to give refunds for any reason. We are a nonprofit organization, and our region is run completely by volunteers. Refunds create additional paperwork, time, and PayPal fees for the region, so we thank you for understanding this non-negotiable cancellation policy.

IMPORTANT NOTE: By signing upfor this event, you acknowledge that audio taping, video taping, and/or transmitting or aiding in the foregoing of any part of the conference (including, but not limited to, presentations, individual sessions, and networking events) is prohibited. Additionally, the material in all handouts and presentations is copyrighted and may not be reprinted, blogged, written, orally transmitted, and/or reproduced without written permission of the copyright holder ONLY. One benefit of attending this conference is gaining “inside” information and opportunities other people do not have access to.



Lucy Bellwood is a professional Adventure Cartoonist, author, and educator based in Portland, Oregon. Her work brings enthusiastic tales of exploration to thousands of readers online, in print, and in person. Her comics are often written and drawn in the field, leading to immersive snapshots of tall ship sailing, whitewater rafting, and cutting-edge ocean science. Her first graphic novel, Baggywrinkles: a Lubber’s Guide to Life at Sea, collects educational stories from her time aboard the Lady Washington. Bellwood’s most recent book is 100 Demon Dialogues, a guide to living with Imposter Syndrome.

Her work has been seen in The New York Times, Boing Boing, Kazoo Magazine, Fast Company, The Nib, Buzzfeed, Anxy Magazine, The Rumpus, Atlas Obscura, and The Hollywood Reporter. Selected exhibition venues include the Portland Art Museum, Light Grey Art Lab, Sequential Art Gallery, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

When not documenting her travels, Bellwood is a regular lecturer at the Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark. She has also appeared as a visiting speaker at the Art Institute of Chicago, Reed College, the Independent Publishing Resource Center, and Columbia College of Art and Design. She currently manages the Mentorship Program at Helioscope, North America’s largest studio of comics professionals. You can find out more about Lucy at You can find Lucy on Twitter at @LuBellWoo.







Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestselling Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, the Eisner Award winning Little Robot, the Mighty Jacktrilogy, and the picture books Julia’s House for Lost Creatures and Nobody Likes a Goblin. Both Zita the Spacegirl and Mighty Jack are being developed for film by 20th Century Fox. His YA novel, The Princess in the Piazza is set for release in 2020. Ben lives, works, and practices archery in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. You can find Ben’s blog at Ben is on Twitter at @BenHatke.







Colleen Ann Felicity Venable previously worked for First Second Books designing hundreds of graphic novels including Caldecott Honors and National Book Award Finalists. Along with working as a designer Colleen is an author and maker. Her latest books include the upcoming YA graphic novel Kiss Number 8 (illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw), the quirky counting boardbook One More Wheel (illustrated by Blythe Russo), and the Maker Comics: Build a Robot (with Kathryn Hudson). Her graphic novel series Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye (illustrated by Stephanie Yue) was nominated for an Eisner for Best Publication for Kids. In 2017 she was named a Publisher’s Weekly StarWatch Top 5 Finalist. You can find Colleen’s website at Colleen is on Twitter at @colleenaf.




Graphic Novel Day Workshops

Success and Your Soul (Mini-Lecture + Group Discussion): As creators, we are often grappling with a host of ideological challenges that can tie us in knots. Maybe you’re struggling to make ends meet while working on a creative project, maybe your readership is smaller than you’d like, or maybe you’ve “made it” by some external metric but still struggle to explain why things feel hard. What can you do when everyone else keeps telling you how lucky you are to be following your dream? In this session, with Lucy Bellwood, we’ll explore the seasonal cycle of creative work and discuss how to set goals that reflect our true values, empowering us to feel more nourished by our creative practice.

Make it Pay (Lecture + Q&A): Our culture has never done a great job of talking about money, but we’re entering an era when honest conversations about financial sustainability are vital to the diversification and resilience of our communities. This session, with Lucy Bellwood, gives an honest look at various methods for financing a creative career, from crowdfunding to mainstream publication. We’ll tackle subjects like “How do people get paid for making comics,” “How much is an average graphic novel advance,” “What does it really cost to print a graphic novel,” and more conceptual stuff like “Am I really a cartoonist if I also have a day job” (YES). This session will also dive into some best practices for building financial stability on variable freelance income. Bring your burning money questions and let’s work through them together!

The Joy of Terrible Ideas: How do you find joy in the process of creating everyday? In this session, Ben Hatke will help us to refine our perspective for the days where it feels like the only thing we’ve made is a mess.

Graphic Novels, Beginning to End: Ben Hatke will take us through his own process of making a graphic novel from start-to-finish. This detailed talk will cover story structure, visual development, outlining, thumbnails, and onward.

How to Develop a Graphic Novel Pitch: Have you ever wondered how to package a pitch for your graphic novel idea? In this session, with Colleen Venable, we will discuss expectations from publishing houses, standards for submission, and how to make sure your idea is ready to share with publishers.

Graphic Novel Script Writing, the Hows and the Whys: The process of writing graphic novels is different than writing other book formats. But comics also offer lots of possibilities that prose cannot. In this session, Colleen Venable takes us through the process of writing a graphic novel, from formatting your script to working with an artist.