In April I attended a Schoolism Live workshop. I bought the pass in December of 2015, can you imagine? So, I was very excited to attend and meet artists, whom I admired for years online, in person. It was a two day workshop with saturated and energizing talks given by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi from Tonko House (Have you watched "The Dam Keeper" yet?), Mike Yamada, Marcelo Vignali, Terryl Whitlatch and Bobby Chiu himself. Although many of the speakers work in animation and movie industry, their tips on storytelling flow, composition and character design can be applied to picture book realm as well. These two days were a turning point for me. They breathed so much energy and purpose into me, that I spent the rest of the year doing twice as much art as I usually do. And I also was able to figure out my goals, using Bobby Chiu's method of imagining your future self and tracing back the steps you need to take to get there. If you are able, I highly recommend attending their Seattle workshop in March 2017.
In September I took a "Illustrating Picture Books" class with amazing Dr. Mira Reisberg and awesome Knopf/Random House editor Julia Maguire. This was an avalanche of knowledge and challenging 5 weeks of sketching, thumb-nailing, character design and putting together a dummy book! I learned a lot thanks to my fellow peers' critique and kind advice, webinars and one-on-one consultations, and I am still reading through all the invaluable class materials. But, most importantly, I connected with a lot of good supportive artists, whose creative advice I can now count on when I need one.