Eve of SCBWI Sydney 2019

Cindy WM Chong: Illustrator. Artist. Storyteller.

The past 2 years of my life was a build up to this moment, the eve of my first Illustrator Showcase.

Finding my ultimate artistic goal

After watching Bobby Chiu’s little plant people thoughts and philosophies videos, I wondered, what was my ultimate artistic goal? I dug really deep, and then I dug some more. What would I do if I could do anything at all; free from judgement and financial responsibilities? It took me all the way back to my childhood when ‘realistic expectation’ was beyond my comprehension.

I drew often and wrote stories just for fun. It was a humble aspiration, but I soon learned that it was not a worthy pursuit:

“Drawing is a nice hobby but there are no real jobs out there for you.”

“Stories are frivolous. You should study facts. It’s more useful.”

Once I reconnected with my frivolous inner-child, the decision was easy. My stories will be my legacy. The idea that something I create may be shared by my children with their children, made me cry. That’s when I knew. It’s like falling in love. You stop listening to naysayers. You know you’re risking your heart, but you go for it anyway.

Best lesson I learnt so far

In the same video, Bobby Chiu spoke about seeking answers from people who’s been there and excelled. That philosophy melted much of my self-doubt.

When you ask people who have done it, they will tell you how. When you ask enough people, you will have many options to try. The internet has made our world a much more connected place. We have access to professionals at the peak of their game and learn from them through online courses. It is as if all the candy in the world is at our finger tips. We just have to decide which ones we want!

Illustrator Showcase

The SCBWI Illustrator Showcase is where publishers and editors shop for talent. When I found out about it, I gave myself 12 months to put together a folio. The 12 months fleeted by and I realized I was so distracted by my new found creative freedom that my kidslit folio lay neglected. I was angry with myself, and even hungrier than when I first started. My hanger fueled me for the next 12 months...

Tomorrow, I will fly to Sydney and present my portfolio to industry peeps. I understand this doesn’t guarantee me anything, but it’s a giant first step. It wasn’t easy building a portfolio from scratch, without actual briefs or clients. However, with a little savvy from past experiences and the internet as a resource, I feel as prepared as I can be at this moment in time. So regardless of what happens, yay me!

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