Happy Parcel Delivery

I was delighted to receive this unexpected parcel of advance copies this morning. This book has been out for a while and I illustrated it ages ago, but Hachette has brought it out in a board book. It’s very cute.

Five Little Platypuses. Board book for young children.
You're Different Jemima. A picture book for children

I also received the happy news that ‘You’re Different, Jemima’ will soon be in print. This book has had a rocky start in life and almost didn’t make it. But the fabulous Naomi and Jeremy Hunter at ‘Empowering Resources’ look it on and now it’s available for pre-sale. 

New book on the way

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┬átackling 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:

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Memory loss and Altzeimers disease:

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas

War:

The Treasure Box by Margaret Wild and Freya Blackwood

Grief and Loss:

Badgers Parting Gifts by Susan Varley

Anxiety in children:

Go Away Worry Thoughts by Nicky Johnson

Playtime!

I’ve had a day day of messing around and experimenting. I listened to a gorgeous podcast interview between Wil Anderson and Bryony Kimmings yesterday (Wilsophy). She said something fabulous about being an artist, something along the lines of not understanding why artists are so self important and claim that making art so so hard…..it’s not hard, it’s just playing and experimenting. Loved it.

So today I played and experimented, and it was totally appropriate because I had this to do for the Illustrators Australia 9×5 Exhibition┬átitled ‘Playtime’

This was watered down acrylic and graphite on wood sealed with gloss varnish.
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Myths and Magic

It’s my middle child’s birthday this week and she’s mad for chameleons at the moment so I was inspired to combine the ‘52 week illustration challenge‘ with something to do with chameleons. According to African Mythology a chameleon discovered the first tiny humans in a basket by a river. I thought he probably found them pretty funny looking.

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And here is a little bit of magic

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Storytelling

This week I have been exploring a change in colour pallet and using pencil instead of ink for lines. I’m happy with the results. It’s also been Book Week in Australia and there’s been a flood of gorgeous pictures of kids dressing up as their favourite character.

These images are drawn directly from personal experience and memories. Some of my best memories are of holidays with my sisters. The other picture is a remake of a picture I did a while ago based on my eldest child love of climbing. She competes in rock-climbing now, but when she was younger a large tree in the back garden was her refuge when things got too hectic for her.

Storyteller

Storytime

Distracted

I should be getting on with work that people will be paying me for, but I just love doing these pop-ups. I love having to do them quickly and the effect that has. But most of all it’s so great to post them on 52 Week Illustration Challenge because the …