SCBWI Weekend on the Water

Kidlit, SCBWI, Uncategorized
Weekend on the Water 2018

Weekend on the Water 2018

The SCBWI in Western Washington offers writers and illustrators the chance to go on a retreat every year. Location is the magical campus of  IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, right in front of the doorstep of Seattle. The ferry ride itself is a great adventure with views of the Puget Sound, the islands, nature and of course the Seattle skyline.

Day 1


So, Friday, November the 2nd my journey started when fellow illustrator Gretchen v. Hansen picked me up at home and we shared a ride to the island. The weather was nice and we arrived at IslandWood in time to check-in and get our welcome-package. The guest rooms are in different lodges that have names like the “mammals den” or “vertebrae inn”. I haven’t slept in a bunk bed for years, but if I have to I definitely would choose one in IslandWood! Every bed has little peek-a-boo windows and wherever you look and go you’re surrounded by nature and history (the mattress was a bit firm for me, but others like it that way!).

The retreat opened with Beth Bacons friendly and welcoming words, followed by delicious dinner and the first talk of the weekend by illustrator and author Jennifer K. Mann. With the motto of “art/work-life balance”, she told us many things about her life and her way to becoming a published author & illustrator and gave us a good list of tips to achieve our goals. I took many notes that I will have to revisit and internalize! After this, some people enjoyed their time together with drinks and talks while others felt inspired to create. I sat in front of the fireplace in my lodge and did some drawing.

Day 2

55DFBD59-9BD7-445C-9E18-64ADD63B8ECCWhat kicks off your day better than a walk through the woods to get some delicious breakfast and then listening to the second talk of the retreat?! Author Kirby Larson told us about her experiences when it comes to work-life balance and her way to create. More great information that my brain still tries to soak up! After sitting around we put on our rain boots and met with Frank, one of the nature guides of IslandWood. He reminded me of Santa or the Professor in Jurassic Park – either way, he is a great guide (and I want to hug him)! For almost 2 hours Frank walked through the woods with us, gave us time to take pictures, fed us information about trees, animals, the campus and its history, showed us the two amazing tree houses and guided us over the suspension bridge. This is truly a nature-Disneyland! Unfortunately, time was running, it kept raining and fog hang between the trees, so I had no time for making drawings on the walk, but I took a ton of pictures!  After lunch (again, delicious!) I went with my fellow artists to the Learning building to meet Jennifer K. Mann and to learn many things about working with collages as an illustrator (while the writers had a workshop with Joni Sensel). She showed us her favorite books and works of other illustrators, shared her stash of crazy amazing paper scraps for making collages and guided us through the process of letting go & keep gluing. IMG_8332We kept creating, talking, learning and experimenting the rest of the day and suddenly it was time for dinner (again so delicious!). After dinner a big part of the group went to the “friendship circle”, a covered structure with circles of seats around a big fire pit, to get some S’mores and listen to the 5-minute-readings of the open-mic night. I went back to my desk and kept on working on my collages until the people from IslandWood made me go so they could lock the building at 10:30pm! Time surely flies when you’re working so concentrated and you’re in the “flow”. Did you know that walking through a dark forest at night, while there is wind blowing, it almost feels like being underwater and waves are crushing in the tree crowns above your head?

Day 3

IMG_8461After breakfast, check-out and paying for the books (thanks to Eagle Harbor Bookstore for trusting us) the writers got to listen to another talk (by Beth Bacon) while the illustrators went back to work in the studio. We got some more insights on creative processes by Jennifer K. Mann and after the last meal on IslandWood, the group started to clean up and say their goodbyes as more and more people left the campus to get home. On our way home Gretchen and I came into a lovely sun-shower (that’s what they call rain showers while the sun is still shining up here) and admired a big and very colorful rainbow over the Puget Sound while we were boarding the ferry. We found some good spots in the front and enjoyed the journey over the waters. Suddenly the captain interrupted the humming sound of the ferry engine with an announcement that made many of us jump from our seats: Orcas ahead! We went outside and saw a pod of Orcas swimming and splashing around, what a “pod” of cold we had found!! Being able to observe these majestic creatures in this “in front of the door wilderness” makes me incredibly happy. To get some sprinkles on the cake a man with his pet-pig crossed our path in Pioneer Square! What a day!


Now that I am back home, slowly unpacking my art supplies, looking at my finished and unfinished collages and projects, sorting through pictures and revisiting my notes… I can’t believe how many things I have experienced during this weekend without once feeling pressured or stressed. IslandWood is a truly magical place, the scent of pine needles and the forest with its sights and sounds make it so easy to forget that there is an outside world. The work of SCBWI members and volunteers is incredible and I am so thankful for their engagement and energy that it’s hard to find words for it. I learned so many things by listening to other creative people, by talking to authors and fellow illustrators, while walking through nature and by learning from talented people and creating more art. It was worth every cent and I would go back in a heartbeat. I achieved more than I hoped for and I hope to be back next year!


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Inktober / Drawlloween

art, Art Challenges, Uncategorized

This year I will participate once more in the art challenges #INKTOBER and #DRAWLLOWEEN on Instagram. It’s a personal challenge for everyone that wants to take part where you get a prompt list with 31 words that should be addressed in the artistic work. I chose to combine the two lists of Inktober and Drawlloween to challenge myself. I will only use Pen & Ink on paper and try to make up little stories to go with the illustrations.

Here is the prompt list for #INKTOBER :

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Here you can see what Mab Graves put on her list for #DRAWLLOWEEN :

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I have already so many ideas in my head and I can’t wait to bring them all to paper! I have created an album that I will update with my newest creations!

I definitely encourage everyone to check out the hashtags on social media to see all the great work of other artists.

Let’s ink!

PS: Here is a pretty nice post about #Inktober! 


SCBWI Monthly Meeting September 2018


Today I got up a bit early and headed to the Seattle Public Library in Downtown Seattle.

Every time I get there it takes me a bit to orientate and focus, as the architecture is just so intense – I love it there. After a few minutes I went to the Auditorium to check in and get a good seat. The different organizers of the SCBWI monthly meeting talked about their agenda and future events (like the “weekend on the water” in November) and then Jolie Stekly came up to the podium and talked about the publishing world and some basics when it comes to publishing children’s books (& young adult literature) and included a little get-to-know-your-seatneighbor activity.

I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot, I also took lots of notes of books to read, things to research and ideas how to become better in my art and what to do with it.

I can only recommend the SCBWI to everybody that wants to write or/and illustrate children’s books.

Seattle Art Fair


Seattle, the beautiful emerald city in the Pacific Northwest isn’t just home of delicious food and breathtaking landscapes, it’s also the place where you can spend many days wandering through the Century Link Event Center, admiring art of all kinds and talk to lots of people from the creative industry.

This year the Seattle Art Fair impressed with a huge selection of galleries, museums, and cultural institutions, interesting talks and art walks.

I spent more than 2 days at the fair and its additional program and my head feels like it’s overflowing with all the things I’ve seen an learned.

I wanted to enjoy the art and not worry about taking notes or preparing anything (as I was in the middle of a move), so I will share some of my impressions with you.


The sad reality of life.

Private Life, Uncategorized

With a heavy heart, I carry the news of my beloved big brothers death. He died unexpectedly at the age of 38 in a paragliding accident, he leaves behind his wife and three kids, his family, friends, colleagues, and students.

Accepting the death of a loved one is SO, SO hard. It’s final. There are no second chances or maybes left. And there is still so much love to give.


I overcame my first shock and I am confident to pick up creating more again soon. The last weeks showed me a new side of life, one I never wanted to see – but it was not my choice to make. So here I am, sad and grieving. My love and my loss will find its place inside of me and my art.


In loving memory of my brother ❤️


Corinna Scholtysik.


Addendum (October):

Now that the day my brother died is almost half a year away I can finally start to feel like myself again and I picked up my creative tools. I am very motivated to work through all of this and to make more and better art today and in teh future.

On my way through my grief a friend recommended a book. I didn’t think much of it when I klicked the order-button, but it helped me so much, that I don’t want to be silent about it.

The books title is “It’s ok that you are not ok – Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture that doesn’t understand” by Megan Devine.

It’s a non-judging help through the hardest of times with the knowledge of someone that not only earns a living as a therapist. She also (unfortunately) knows from her own experience, what it means to lose a loved one and all the crazy things that come with this loss and grief, how your life changes and how you as a person might change.

If you read this and you are also experiencing grief and/or loss, I feel you. And I am sorry that you have to go through this. But you can do it. You’re entitled to your feelings and all of them are valid. There is love.