Matt B Lewis
Date of Success:
When he’s not wrestling wild BUNYIP’s in the Australian outback, Matt B Lewis spends his time writing and illustrating children picture books, such as ‘Monsters in My Garden’ and 'Dun Dun did it!'.
Matt B is passionate about the environment having studied a Master’s degree in Environmental and Business management and has tertiary qualifications in Education, Project Management and Information Technology.
Matt B is a welcomed guest at schools and creative events empowering children to be inspired through his foundational approach to the illustration process.
Matt B lives, breathes and creates in Queensland, Australia with his wife and two amazingly creative kids.
WHAT CYA CONFERENCE DID FOR ME
I published my first children’s picture book ‘Monsters in my Garden’ in October 2016 . In February 2017 I published my second children’s picture book ‘Dun Dun did it!’ , this is when I realised that illustrating and writing kids picture books was what I truly wanted to do, so I looked at what events / conferences were around, I found the CYA conference in Brisbane, it appealed to me as not only did it offer an avenue for me to start networking, something I had not done before, but also had editor sessions (which I used to gain feedback on my writing and illustration portfolio), and contests to enter to see how I would compare with my peers.
The biggest aspect(which I almost didn’t do) was the networking evening on the night before the conference. 120 plus people of which I knew no one, but I had shown my portfolio to a couple of editors earlier that day and they turned up to the event. As my default behaviour is to sit down and draw when not engaged in conversation this is what I did, and people started to come around to see what I was doodling, which sparked up conversations and allowed me to hand out many business cards, it was a wonderful night and great experience.
It was less than a week after the CYA conference, Editor sessions and Networking night when I received an email asking me to submit an Expression of interest to illustrate one or two picture books by an Australian Publishing company.
Why do I credit the CYA conference for this connection… prior to the conference I had no visibility as a children illustrator / author.. I only had business cards (and a rather poor website) created in the weeks leading up to the conference. After the conference I received enquiries and actual contracts for illustration work.
This is the timeline:
31 May I took the plunge and stopped working (thanks to a wonderfully supportive wife)
30 June attended networking night with 120 Authors, Illustrators, Agents and Publishers
1 July Attended CYA conference – showed my portfolio (including my picture books) to some Editors from Scholastic and Affirm press
5 July Received request for Expression of Interest to illustrate 2 kid Picture books
7 July Contracted to Illustrated ‘My Special Dinosaur Adventures’ and ‘My Adventures with my NRL team’ books
31 August completed ‘My Special Dinosaur Adventures’ book
2 October completed ‘My Adventures with my NRL team’ book
16 October Publisher contacted me requesting I illustrate 3 more kids picture books
22 December completed ‘My Adventures in Birthday Land’ book
6 January Interview with Pencil Kings about becoming a children book illustrator
14 March completed ‘My Adventures in Nursery Rhyme Land’
Anticipate end May completing ‘Me and the Great ZOO mystery’
I have also been asked to illustrate 2 picture books for a well-known local author, and have been asked to submit manuscript outlines for children picture books from current publisher.