Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

  • Shiho Pate creates both warmth and a kind of simplistic imperfection in her work that is both endearing and enduring. Recent kudos: on the heels of her SCBWI national Feature in September —
  •     How long have you been a member of SCBWI? What’s the most impactful thing you have learned from being in SCBWI? I’ve been a member of SCBWI since 2017. I joined with my good friend Meggan Haller (a writer) because we wanted to create a picture book together. She suggested that we go to the SCBWI conference in LA so we joined SCBWI and went to the conference! We quickly learned that this is not the way that you go about getting published but we both learned so much. The most impactful thing that I have learned from SCBWI is that you need to be in a constant state of evolving. Be able to take critiques and be willing to give back as well. Revision is important. Also, having a community to work with so so valuable to improving one’s craft. What medium(s) do you use to illustrate?    I started out working primarily in watercolor and ink. After the LA conference 3 years ago, I picked up an iPad Pro and downloaded Procreate. I’ve been working in Procreate and Photoshop ever since. I will sometimes create textures and patterns with traditional media, and then scan it in to work digitally.   What is your illustration process? I do a lot of research on the place and/or figures that will be included and I keep it in a folder on Pinterest. Once I have enough, I begin with sketches of the people or animals that I want to include in my illustration. I may do some full color sketches to get an idea of what palette I want to use. Then I do thumbnails sketches. I choose may favorite layout and work out the color palette. Once I have a few color studies, I create the spread or image.   How long have you been illustrating? How did you first get into illustration?   I was a studio artist and art instructor for 15+ years. I’ve worked for art museums and cultural centers, as a High School Art Teacher and Adjunct Instructor. We moved to California in January. Before the pandemic, I decided to focus on freelance illustration and work towards getting an agent for writing and illustrating children’s books. The pandemic has slowed me down a little, but I’m still working towards my goal. Are you self taught or did you study illustration?  I studied Photography and Painting at the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa for my undergraduate school. After undergrad, I went to NYC because I was accepted to the New York Academy of Art M.F.A program, with a small scholarship. I toured the school and decided that it was not what I expected (also it was very expensive) and I wasn’t sure if that was where I wanted to spend my time or money. I stayed in NYC for 6 months and worked as an assistant to an art gallery in Soho. I missed home (and trees) and ended up moving back to Alabama. At the time, I had family in Savannah, GA and my cousin recommended that I apply to SCAD. I toured, applied and was accepted in the M.F.A. Painting program with a Fellowship. If I could go back and do it again, I would have studied illustration, but it took me a long time to figure out exactly what creative field I fit into.   Do you have a dedicated art space?  Unfortunately, I no longer have a “dedicated” art space. We own a small beach cottage under 1000 sqft. Currently my space is the dining room table. My 6 year old is doing virtual school and she has taken over my studio space, which was the back corner of our living room. :) What would be your dream book to illustrate?   My dream book to illustrate would be one that I have written myself. My goal is to become an author/illustrator. Are you working on any fun projects now?  I’m working on a story that I wrote about a jellyfish who has lost his glow. Its a story about feeling isolated and how friends can help you through a dark time. Do you write children's books as well or have any plans to do so?   Yes! Becoming an author/illustrator is one of my goals. I’m currently taking a course with the Highlight’s Foundation that includes a critique group with the faculty. Its an 8 week course and we are on week 3. I’ve already learned so much and am feeling more confident as a writer. Any tips for illustrators that are starting out? Join SCBWI. Learn as much as you can about the industry and keep making connections. I’ve found that children’s book people are so great. I mean, we make books for kids so its no surprise. Do you currently have an agent?  I don't have an agent but I plan to start submitting soon. Have you had any books published? I illustrated Yellow-Speckled Blackbird written by Dylan Pritchett and published by MacClaren-Cochrane Publishing, that was released in February of 2020. I also illustrated Sophie’s New Song, written by Michelle Whitfield and will be self published by the author this year. I enjoyed working on both projects. With MacLaren-Cochrane I worked directly with the art director. I like having deadlines because it keeps me moving. I didn’t communicate with the author and I’m not sure what he thought about the illustrations, honestly.  When I worked with Michelle Whitfield, we were able to talk to each other and work on revisions as a team. She was very easy to work with so it made the job fun. I’m not sure that everyone has that experience working with an author who plans to self-publish. I understand why traditional publishers keep authors and illustrators separate when working on projects. Tell us 5 interesting things about yourself. 1.) I love birds/bird watching. I’m that person who has to stop on a walk to figure out what kind of bird is hiding in the bush/tree and take a picture or video. 2.) I’m pretty good with facial recognition. If I see you once, I will always remember. Especially with movies. My husband likes to quiz me. We will be watching a detective show and I’ll notice that the perpetrator was a child actor from the 80’s. Just as an example. I used to win bets against my brother when we were kids. 3.) My favorite place to explore is Yellowstone National Park near Jackson Hole, WY. I can’t wait to take my kids there. 4.) I have met and shaken hands with Betty White. 5.) Pride and Prejudice (the one with Kiera Knightly) is my all time favorite movie. I like to put it on in the background while I work. The music, the cinematography. I think I’ll go put it on right now. Where can people find more of your work? Website: Instagram: Twitter: __________________________________ To see our Previous Get to Know Our Illustrators, click here.
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About Us

Twitter: @SCBWI_SoCal
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Our region includes Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside and Long Beach. We have sunny beaches, snow-capped mountains, and scenic deserts. We are also home to incredible writers and illustrators who mingle and hone their craft at monthly meet-ups and critique groups, an annual retreat and an

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  SoCal SCBWI fans showing support for Steve Bramucci’s DANGER GANG #2! The signing took place at the most awesome children’s bookstore in SoCal, Whale of a Tale.   Monthly meet-up critique groups sharing resources for children’s writers!