Let me clarify. That was the theme this weekend, not a mating call. Highlights for Children hosted a wonderful "Western" themed weekend event at their Boyds Mills farm and their Happy "H" Ranch, the editorial headquarters of Highlights, for illustrators such as myself that have contributed to their publications. It was a weekend of dee-licious country fresh food, dancing and socializing with other illustrators and meeting the nice folks that make up the editorial staff of Highlights and Boyds Mills.
It was nice to put faces behind the emails and business cards. They hosted a conference with guest lecturer and designer, Pash, who defined Inspirability, or thoughts on the ability to inspire in order to re-charge our creative batteries. He also penned a book entitled "Inspiribility" and raffled 20 copies. I was one of the lucky winners! We shared our portfolios, traded contact information and discussed illustration and our work processes like excited children talking about how we spent our summer vacations.
The other highlight of the weekend, so to speak, was the lamb roast and the dancing. Everyone came dressed in western garb, walked and talked like the Old West and had a grand time. We burned off all the food we ate, square dancing, line dancing and square dancing some more 'til well past midnight. The Highlights staff ran the event with every detail in check and spared no expense making the weekend fun and memorable, all to show their appreciation for us illustrators and possibly hire us for more work. I met so many talented artists that I hope to continue to correspond with, long after the conference. It was extraordinary really. My hat's off to Highlights.