Illustrators' Day Wrap-Up from Scholarship-winning Connie Lynn Reilly

I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend Springmingle ’14 as the Liz Conrad Scholarship winner. The conference left an unforgettable impression on me.  
      Over the years, in addition to receiving formal training and mentoring from several renowned artists, I have made a point to educate myself in various forms of art. Fine art portraiture and figurative painting have been my major focus throughout my art career, but the last couple of years, I have been learning more about illustrating children's books. I've learned what I could from various books and other sources, but realized I still needed feedback on my illustration work. Therefore, in 2013, I did a mentorship with Michael A. Austin, which opened the door for me into the world of imagination and illustration.
      Receiving the scholarship has been so encouraging to me as an artist. Illustration is a new journey in my art career, and it was so helpful to hear confirmation from professional illustrators that I am on the right track.
     I was shopping at Dillards department store when I received a phone call. I did not recognize the phone number from the call and was listening carefully after I answered "Hello". The caller identified herself saying "Hello Connie, this is Elizabeth Delumba from SCBWI Southern Breeze" and it took me a second or two to understand who was calling me. I could not have been more thrilled when she said "You have won the Liz Conrad Scholarship". I could not believe my ears. The sales girl was smiling as she saw me jump up and down with excitement from the call. Wow! It made my day, made my week, made my month. Well, the feeling will last a very long time, maybe a lifetime!
     The conference faculty was superb. Everyone was extremely open and willing to share what had taken them a lifetime to learn. There was so much great information given, I felt like writing a book afterwards and it seemed as if I had attended a complete children's book illustration and writing course. I know I will be referring to my notes for a very long time.
      One last word of thanks, to Stephanie Moody, who took a portrait class from me several years ago and turned me on to SCBWI. Thanks, Steph!

      Connie Lynn Reilly is an international portrait and figurative artist including corporate, children, adults, business, family, animals, and historical art. She works in the mediums of oil, pastel, watercolor, and colored pencil. www.ConnieReilly.com See Connie's winning entries - CLICK HERE.

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