It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog post here. I’ve been so busy setting up my business in surface pattern design. There have been some delightful goings on in the children’s picture book area though. This weekend is the first book launch for Grace’s Mystery Seed. I was fortunate enough to meet the author the other day and she is a bundle of enthusiasm, so the lunch should be a lot of fun. This Sunday 24th March 2019 – 2pm, Ford Street Publishing, 162 Hoddle Street, Abbotsford, Melbourne
Yesterday I had the absolute joy of experimenting and getting to grips with photoshop. I was motivated to reproduce a pop-up piece I did for The 52 Week Illustration Challenge last year. It came together surprisingly quickly.
This week I’ve been working on Naomi Hunter‘s new book. If you know her first picture book you’ll know that she doesn’t shy away from tackling the big issues. This one is about parenting and depression. Which sounds very sad, but it’s a book full of hope. It’s beautifully written and I really hope the pictures do it justice.
Depression and mental health are uncomfortable issues to discuss in relation to parenting. My oldest is nearly 15, so I’ve been to many playgroup sessions week after week and school mothers nights out. Predictably there’s always a lot of talk about mile-stones and achievements. The one thing you can count on not hearing is ‘Do you know what? I’m not having such a great time of things’. Parents can’t talk about not coping. It would be like admitting failure. And when you live in a gorgeous suburb by the sea, with a nice house, good jobs and healthy children….well failing to be anything but joyful and grateful is frankly not on!
Picture books often tackle the big issues. Here are some of my favourites:
Refugees and migration:
Memory loss and Altzeimers disease:
Grief and Loss:
Anxiety in children:
Still keeping on track with these pop-ups for the 52 Week Illustration Challenge. So far I haven’t managed to scalpel into any of my fingers. Anyone who knows me well will know that that’s pretty good going!
This one is ‘Portrait’ I used to do a lot of portraiture and sold quite a few of pastel paintings of my eldest daughter. She gets fairly bored with sitting for me.
I was looking back on old sketches and illustrations today. The work I was doing 4 years ago was really awful and it was good to see how much easier it is now.
I thought I’d try to start the day with a random sketch. I went for a particularly blowy walk on the beach this morning. The dogs had heaps of fun….I was going to say they had a ball but realised they are dogs and that could be misunderstood. They’re not intelligent enough for a ball, they prefer to bark at the waves very stupidly.
Whenever you read or listen to advise from wise old artists and designers who have ‘made it’, top of the list is “Know what you’re worth”. That is; don’t sell yourself down, quote what you think your work is worth and never ever ever work for nothing. I totally agree with this to some point. When I did my second paid job as an illustrator I was sold the ‘big opportunity’ line and I did the job for peanuts. It was a physically painful experience. The client was rude and pushy and the project was ludicrous. So I learnt from that experience. However, lately I’ve found myself in the position of having a couple of long deadlines. It’s probably a good thing as I can really get into experimenting with different styles to get the next books just right. But, I’m finding myself watching the in-box a bit. I like having deadlines that are screaming at me to be finished.
A while ago a dear friend spoke to me about the possibility of doing some work for a book she’s writing. It’s a project I think is really worthwhile but the budget is uncertain. Now I have a bit of time to fiddle about with some ideas I am finding it really liberating. I’m enjoying the creative freedom but I’m approaching it in the same professional way I do with any project because it’s important to me to do a good job for my friend.
That said if anyone does write to me out of the blue stating they have a fantastic book that they’d like me to illustrate for nothing because the publishers are bound to accept it straight away! (It happened again this week) I’ll be hitting delete and taking the dogs for a walk on the beach.
I’m enjoying some experimenting with new inks, gold ink! What a joy. Also,, I went to life-drawing for the first time in years and years. An old friend told me it’s like creative yoga, so I finally went and enjoyed every moment. My attempts to get out and draw in public every Tuesday really died so this will lived up my ‘Tuesdays’ tab. I’ll wait a few weeks though. The winter school hols are almost upon us so I can’t go again for a couple of weeks.
Life Drawing. Creative Yoga
Hungry Little Purple Birds