Saturday, September 15, 2012

Say Yes: Dan Yaccarino - Keynote

Dan Yaccarino kicked off the 2012 SCBWI Midsouth Conference by honoring us with an excellent keynote.

"There is nothing I would rather be doing than writing and illustrating picture books," said Yaccarino.

He has written and illustrated over 50 books as well as created games, toys and puzzles. He also works on television shows.  He has worked in the industry over 25 years.

What helps him face challenges and gets him to the next level of my career is the word YES.

Dan didn't have formal art training or art education growing up.  He did go to art school and left himself with no net whatsoever.  It was being backed up against a wall and fear that allowed him to produce things on demand.  When he graduated, he began to pound the pavement; he put together two portfolios because he wanted to be an editorial illustrator and begin to drop them off.  He did this for 2-3 years.  Within a few months he was working reguarly for the New York Times Book review and Business Week, etc.  He was able to move into Manhattan.

A friend had published picture books and she suggested he work with picture books. He hadn't considered working with picture books, but when asked if he had ideas, he said yes.  He soon had book contracts.  He enjoyed the medium and it opened up a lot for him creatively.

He wrote his own books and worked with other authors; he also worked in advertising.  He was asked to direct storyboards and do the thirty second spots.  He said yes and created spots for Garden Burger.  This got him thinking about television.  He pitched his first television show and was asked to produce the pilot, which was Oswald.

He also worked with little Golden Books on Mother Goose.  He illustrated Mother Goose and a Little Boy with a Big Horn. He also did a fully-illustrated chapter book called Where the Four Winds Blow.

Other books include Good Night, Mr. Night, The Birthday Fish, Every Friday, Go Go America, etc.

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