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Aug. 8th, 2012

06:01 pm - "Whoa . . .uh-oh! That's what makes you beau-ti-ful!" ♩♫♪

This is that time of year when I start going through my pictures from the SCBWI Summer Conference, reliving highlights as I discover what I got, all while listening to ridiculously poppy, boppy music (which helps me weed). The experience gets me high, even as I'm sure everyone else is either winding down or has already come back to reality.

Can't wait to share the pictures! In the meantime, please enjoy another delightful, illustrated recap of the Summer Conference--this time by my good friend Ken Min. Ken is an award-winning illustrator who has summed up the full range of what one experiences at the Summer Conference through personal examples, and illustrates his favorite takeaway by putting it into practice immediately--which inspires me. Check out Ken's "SCBWI 2012 Summer Conference Manifesto" here.

♥ ♩♫♪!
"Whoa . . . uh-oh! That's what makes you beau-ti-ful!!"

Aug. 7th, 2012

02:40 pm - SCBWI 2012 Summer Conference Pictures Are Coming!

Well, what do you know. All kinds of ideas are coming to me today as a direct result of the SCBWI 2012 Summer Conference, and I've been stymied a long time. Thank you to all of the good friends and faculty I had meaningful conversations with this weekend! And to all of the friends I'm going to have revelatory conversations with, going forward!

Photos are coming soon! In the meantime, check out this lovely illustrated recap of Mary Peterson's Conference takeaways. Mary is the wonderful illustrator behind such picture book delights as Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch, written by herself and Jennifer Rofé, and the forthcoming Wooby and Peep, written by Cynthea Liu, and was on the Summer Conference faculty this year.

Mary Peterson"s 2012 Summer Conference Takeaways

Says Mary,

Another fun, exhausting, exhilerating, hilarious conference! I love seeing so many old friends and making new ones. The images above were scanned from the notes I took over the weekend. Credits for each bit of wisdom...

1. Personal observation
2. Linda Pratt, Literary Agent
3. John Klassen, author/illustrator
4. Arthur A. Levine, Arthur A. Levine Books
5. Tony diTerlizzi, author/illustrator
6. Rubin Pfeffer, Literary Agent

Shared with permission from


Nov. 24th, 2010

06:25 pm - SCBWI-LA Illustrator's Day 2010 Photos are Up!!

Hello, Everyone! Photos from SCBWI-LA Illustrator's Day 2010 are up!

Illustrators Day 2010-3 Illustrators Day 2010-4 Illustrators Day 2010-1 Illustrators Day 2010-37 Illustrators Day 2010-15 Illustrators Day 2010-72

Illustrators Day 2010-36

You can view the full SCBWI-LA Illustrator's Day album on Facebook here:
and on Flickr here:

Captions in the online albums were provided by Ken Min, superstar illustrator and my very good friend. Thanks, Ken, for organizing the event, and for asking me to photograph it!

Illustrator's Day was a fantastic conference held in San Gabriel last Saturday, featuring illustrator Brian Floca, agent/author Jennifer Rofé, Art Director Rich Deas, Editor Abigail Samoun, and illustrator Dan Santat as speakers; with door prizes, portfolio displays, awards announced, hilarious hijinks, and touching surprises. Check out the photos to relive the excitement, or to glimpse what it was all about!

With thanks again to organizers Ken and Milla for the wonderful job they did this year, as well as to all the hardworking volunteers they recruited. The entire day was inspiring and delicious. (Speaking of delicious, several of us went out for dumplings at Din Tai Fung afterwards . . . yum, yum.)

Cheers, and Happy Holiday Week, Everyone!*

*gobble, gobble

Apr. 15th, 2010

01:55 pm - SCBWI-LA Writer's Day 2010 Photos Are Up!

Saturday, April 10th
San Gabriel, CA

Agnes Parker . . . Girl in Progress, by Kathleen O"Dell
Robin Mellom and Jill Corcoran at SCBWI-LA Writer"s Day 2010Going Bovine, by Libba BrayLee Wind and Eve Porinchak at SCBWI-LA Writer"s Day 2010Old Cricket, by Lisa Wheeler. Illustrated by Ponder Goembel 
Books by this year's Writer's Day speakers include: Agnes Parker . . . Girl in Progress, by Kathleen O'Dell; Going Bovine, by Libba Bray (winner of this year's Printz Award!); and Old Cricket, written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Ponder Goembel.
Also pictured above: Robin Mellom with her agent Jill Corcoran (another of our esteemed speakers today!), and authors Lee Wind and Eve Porinchak, kickin' it at lunch.

Hi, Everyone!

Photos from SCBWI-LA Writer's Day 2010 are up! Check them out on Flickr by clicking any of the images above, or by clicking the foregoing link. Feel free to use these in your blogs or anywhere, and please credit me if you do (Rita Crayon Huang). I've also added these photos to Facebook here. You're welcome to tag yourselves and others there--or to untag yourselves, if that is your will. Better yet, if any photos make you uncomfortable, let me know and I will pull them immediately. (The necessary disclaimer every time I post photos from SCBWI.)

This year's Writer's Day was absolutely amazing. I've inserted tidbits from my notes in the captions on Flickr, but the highly unoriginal bottom line is that this day was terrific. All the speakers were so warm and engaging, and packed their sessions with practical insights. And delivered them hilariously!!

Do you doubt it? HarperCollins Editor Rachel Abrams, picture book goddess Lisa Wheeler, agent of fabulousness Jill Corcoran, middle grade master Kathleen O'Dell, and YA queen (and Printz-Award winner) Libba Bray? The line-up was incredible. Congratulations to Claudia and Edie for putting together another amazing Writer's Day, along with all the other volunteers!

HarperCollins editor Rachel Abrams at SCBWI-LA Writer"s Day 2010Lisa Wheeler at SCBWI-LA Writer"s Day 2010Jill Corcoran reviews query letters at SCBWI-LA Writer"s Day 2010Kathleen O"Dell at SCBWI-LA Writer"s Day 2010Libba Bray at SCBWI-LA Writer"s Day 2010
The SCBWI-LA Writer's Day line-up this year: Just brilliant.

A doubly hearty congratulations goes out to my good friend Ken Min for winning this year's SCBWI-LA Scholarship Contest--for his illustration of the cryptic line, "Sometimes I wear them to lunch." I started going nuts when they began describing the winning drawing, and the room blew up when they announced Ken's name. Ken's a well-liked guy!

Ken Min"s award-winning, darkly humorous illustration of the line "Sometimes I wear them to lunch."
The winning illustration of this SCBWI-LA Writer's Day Scholarship Contest. Posted here with permission, and described by the anonymous judge (who is a very "hot," high-profile art director, they tell us) as filled with a dark humor that's immediately appealing to kids. Check out more of Ken's great art at

Mary Peterson and I called up Ken during lunch and spilled the news. (Were we not supposed to? I hope he acted surprised later!)

Mary Peterson with her new book, Piggies in the Pumpkin PatchLibba Bray and Rita Crayon Huang (me) at SCBWI-LA Writer"s Day
Mary Peterson with her newest book--hot hot hot off the press--Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch. This one she co-authored and illustrated, and it is so much joy--as are all of Mary's books.
Several of us also got to chat with Libba Bray at lunch. What fun! This next photo was her idea, heh:

Libba Bray and Rita Crayon Huang at SCBWI-LA Writer"s Day

(Thank you, Lee, for taking these on my camera!)

While we're on the subject of contests, I would like to say that I got so nervous when they started announcing manuscript prizes at the end of the day. My prize from winning last year's Middle Grade Fiction category was attending this year's Writer's Day for free (yay!!), and a sympathetic dizziness overtook me when they started up again. (Or maybe I was just feeling the buzzing and dizziness of the contestants around me?)

Congrats to Graeme Stone for winning the YA Fiction category this year!! I just knew he was going to win. And congrats to Paula Mayerson and Jenni Bielicki for their Honorable Mention and big win, respectively, in the NonFiction category--both for picture books. Well done!!

Graeme Stone, winner of this year"s SCBWI-LA Writer"s Day contest in the YA Fiction categoryPaula Mayerson"s beautiful picture book receives an Honorable Mention for NonFiction at SCBWI-LA Writer"s DayJenni Bielicki"s picture book wins the NonFiction category at SCBWI-LA Writer"s Day
Graeme Stone, winner of this year's SCBWI-LA Writer's Day contest for YA Fiction, embraces the school's COUGARS emblem, which I normally try so hard to avoid photographing.
Paula Mayerson gets called up for her NonFiction Honorable Mention (Westside Represent!! GO, PAULA!!).
Jenni Bielicki's picture book wins in NonFiction!!

Once again, to view all photos from Writer's Day and read recaps from the sessions, go to Flickr here, or to Facebook here.

Enjoy your day, everyone! Cheers!


P.S. If you'd like to view my photos from other SCBWI events, including past Writer's Days, check out my "SCBWI Events" Collection on Flickr. I'm not an official photographer, but I like doing it. My photos from the past two SCBWI Summer Conferences have also been posted at the SCBWI Web site.

Sep. 21st, 2009

11:52 pm - Seventh Anniversary

From my wedding vows, seven years ago:

Seven years we have been together. And they have gone so fast, and every year has been so different, and so fun, just thinking about how fast it's gone almost causes me to panic. I know another seven years will go just as fast, and then another seven; and one day we'll celebrate our 25th anniversary, and one day it will be our 50th. I want all my years to be with you, and I shall love you always.

I've now been married to Damon for as long as we were a couple before. In fact . . . Damon and I have now been a couple (married and not) for as long as we spent as arch enemies. (14 and 14 years.)

It goes really fast.


P.S. I dusted off our wedding cartoon for the occasion. (Click here if you don't see a video embedded below.)

Created by the super talented Tony Wang. This originally framed the slideshow that played at our reception.

Cheers, Everyone, :)
(d &) r

Apr. 24th, 2009

10:27 am - Elevator Conversations! A Birthday Card by fomato

So this is hilarious and a half.

Remember when I blogged “7 Random/Weird Things About My Significant Other” a while back, wherein I changed the rules of a meme to focus on Damon instead of me? Well, that post turned out to be a favorite among friends, including all kinds of people I had no idea were reading. Everyone liked how D loves elevator conversation.

Our friend Emmie Hsu, of fomato cards, asked “permission” to use the idea for a birthday greeting card. Then, out of the blue, she sent us the card last week.

I love it!! Both Damon and I love how it turned out so much!

I now present to you . . .

elevator conversations
by fomato cards




Click here to see “elevator conversations” on the fomato cards Web site

Click here for the main fomato site, where you can find all her masterpieces!

She tried to work in D's favored “Days of the Week,” but it didn't fit—at least not in this card. She got more input from our friend Calvin and used Frankie's “Living the dream.”

I love all fomato cards so much, you guys. I use nothing else. They are hilarious, gorgeously illustrated, high quality, relevant, totally indie, and smack of Asian American pop culture flava.

(Yes, I said flava. You have no idea how much I resist yo.)

So get thee to for a hi-larious reading experience! Each card is short, punchy, and perfect for someone you know. Before you know it, you’ll have read them all. You’ll wind up ordering, too, because her cards totally inspire that “I-have-to-get-this-for-So-and-so!” reaction.

So much greatness,

A few more of my favorites:
   facebook intervention
   ramen noodle festival
   chinese food
   sushi lesson
   school o dissatisfaction (This one's perfect for pessimists, optimists, and people who love mangoes)

Here is Damon’s favorite:
   screw you

Which ones are yours?

Photos from Writer’s Day are still coming! This is one of the rules of writing: Never deliver what you promised. That keeps readers coming back.

Thanks for all the congrats, though—here, on Facebook, and everywhere!

Now get to!

Damon’s favorite is apparently fomato’s current bestseller. I am mortified.

Mar. 28th, 2008

10:02 am - Art Friday: Original Quiss Comic #2

(Whenever I haven't posted something by Friday, I'm going to share random art from throughout my life. Today I present to you . . . )

Original Quiss Comic #2 (From 1989)

(Tsk. I'm using Quiss to provide extra content for this blog, and it turns out she's also scrounging.)

To read the original, Original Quiss Comic, or for more of an explanation, click here. Or click on the "Quiss" tag below to see all posts featuring Quiss (so far just these two).


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Mar. 21st, 2008

12:08 pm - Earth Art, Part I: The Magic Word

This week's post is "Part One" of a two-part "Earth Art" series.

When I Was 16

Huang, Rita Crayon
1991, colored pencils on paper, 19 x 25 inches (12 x 18 inches in a 4-inch mat supplied by my high school art teacher, whose name was also Rita)
This drawing has sat against the wall on the floor of my bedroom at my parents' house for the past 16+ years.

Whenever I think of this drawing, I remember two things:

1) My high school art teacher lent me her own, brand new set of Prismacolor colored pencils to take home and try out overnight, right at the end of that school year—a privilege which blew me away. And,

2) Someone once offered me 15 dollars for this drawing.

A senior I didn't know hunted me down before 1st period on the last day of that school year. She must have seen it on the art room wall earlier that morning or the day before (it was only up those two days), and she loved it. She started at 10 dollars and went up to 15 right away.

She didn't have much money, and she was moving away forever in the next two days, so I had to decide right away. She showed up between all my classes, raising her offer, and she totally begged and borrowed from all her friends until, by the end of the day, she had gotten up to 50 dollars. She swore that if I sold her this drawing, she would cherish it and frame it and keep it on display and do everything in her power to take the best care of it, and that "it would be loved" all the days of her life.

I should have given it to her for free. Based on the articulate, aggressive way she was coming after me, I could totally see this person becoming the head of her own nonprofit organization in ten or fifteen years, and how this drawing would still be in a frame in some corner of a cluttered office while she fielded calls and put out fires, her head in her hand, trying to keep her do-gooding business afloat. Her organization (based on what this drawing was of and how it struck such a chord with her) would probably benefit children or the planet.*

(* What's more, in twenty-five-to-forty years' time, the business would be doing much better, and there would come a day when a staffer would point to this drawing [which would now be moved into a bigger office but would look oddly homemade and faded amongst the organization's many awards and articles] and ask. And the woman would sort of—but fondly!—remember.)

This seemed awesome to me—and a lot better than whatever would happen if the drawing came home with me.

But I took it home anyway, where its fate has pretty much been exactly what I also envisioned—except that it so far amazingly hasn't gotten ripped or trashed.

I recognized at the time that true artists at our school always seemed to give their art away for free to anyone who liked it. I didn't understand why, but I was a hoarder and taker, so I knew this was so. Now here was a person going gaga over something I had made—but I hadn't made enough art in my life to let go. It felt really anticlimactic not to rise to the occasion.

When I planned this drawing, I'd hoped it would read as a peace symbol. (See it? Do you see?) That, to me, was "the point" of the rainbows-earth-kids drawing, but no one got it unless I told them. Even when I pointed out the peace symbol specifically, my friends and art teacher just sounded polite.

It wasn't until later that day, when the school year was over, that it occurred to me I should've asked that girl whether she saw it.

I imagine that would've made the difference.


I was recently reminded of this drawing by an event some friends and I attended, which will be the subject of my next post. However, due to travel plans, I won't be able to post "Part II" right away, so next Friday we'll have another Original Quiss Comic instead. It will be like a commercial break. ;)


I also remember it was a struggle not to make all the "children" in this drawing left-handed, since I was using my own hands as models. The orange crayon, in particular, looked broken at the end of the both-hands attempt.

This seems fitting now, because I'd always supposed the "yellow" hands represented me.


Feb. 15th, 2008

01:33 am - Art Friday: Original Quiss Comic, #1!

I have an idea.

A couple friends recently told me their favorite post in this blog was when I illustrated that "Fortunately, Unfortunately" story. (Haha, thanks!! That was really fun.) So, during weeks where I haven't posted anything by Friday, I'm going to share art (either that's very old or new), hopefully to keep you entertained. (This will be embarrassing for me, which, by my best guess, is what you will actually find entertaining.)

Here is the the first Quiss comic I ever did, a small stack of which I recently stumbled across at my parents' house. Did you know I used to be a cartoonist? Me, neither; I forgot! I did these in ninth grade to entertain friends, and, eventually, our high school newspaper asked me to do a couple for them, too. I had no idea why they were interested, but it was very pleasing.

Original Quiss Comic, #1 (20th Anniversary Edition)

(Clearly I had intentions of coloring this panel.)

Some of you guys whose blogs have lapsed lately, I know you have old art threads kicking around, too. Maybe you could share on your blogs, too!


The Quiss comics I found aren't the ones the newspaper ran. I'll look for those.

Dec. 4th, 2007

02:57 pm - Robert's Snow: The Last Round!!! (Auction 3 Ends This Friday, Dec. 7, 5 PM E.S.T.)

If you roll over these images, you should see the snowflakes' titles and artists' names pop up (though I've noticed this feature doesn't work in Firefox).

Once again, just "a few" of my favorites:

Loch Kindness, by Scott MagoonSupportiveness, by Randy CecilSkippyjon "Snow Flake" Jones, by Judy SchachnerThree French Hens, by Laura Huliska-BeithGilbert says "Hi," by Diane deGroatPaddington at Paddington Station, by R.W. AlleyFlower, by Grace LinChillax! by Dan SantatJingle Pig Rock, By Jarrett J. Krosoczka     A Cozy Night for Cuddling Up, by Juli KangasThe Great Crab Hunters by Kelly MurphyWithin Reach, by Joy AllenChowder"s Snowy Bounce, by Peter BrownWishing, by Jui IshidaHopper Holiday, by James T. WilliamsonBird and Flowers, by Kristina SwarnerGrace, by Linda S. WingerterBe Strong, by Meghan McCarthySnow Taxi, by Selina AlkoYikes! by Mo Willems

Bid bid bid bid bid bid bid.

I lifted these images (fronts and backs) off the Auction 3 page of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Robert's Snow Web site. Too many wonderful snowflakes to post here! Go to Auction 3 and get tempted by them all!


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