Digital fun

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.

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Arriety-lo-res
Arriety. The Borrowers

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 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:

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

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

Whiplash!

I thought I’d go for a dramatic title. You never know, it might generate more hits. I think the majority of those hits will probably be hugely disappointed though…..

I swear I don’t know what happened this summer. A series of gorgeous days out and trips to the beach, and its all over. Christmas came and went and the kids started school and now it’s Easter in the blink of an eye. But I’ve been spending the past six weeks painting the finals for another Christmas book! (yes, that’s where the title comes in. Confused? Not as much as me) Yep, that’s four Christmas books now! It’s like I’m turning into one of those crazy people who wants it to be Christmas all year round. It’s fun though. I had to reinvent Santa this time and gave him an eccentric 1940’s pilot look. IMG_3540_2 IMG_1586

I’m sad to say that ‘Little Red Boots’ has been delayed. It wont be available until August now. It gives me a chance to organise some workshops around it for later in the year though. New Frontier are promoting it to the international market at Bologna though, so that’s exciting.

Drawing meditation

Sometimes it’s really great to just empty your head and draw. I watched a little video of Shaun Tan talking about how he approaches starting a book. He said most of the time it starts with a bunch of drawings that seemingly come from nowhere. Here’s the result of my drawing daydream.

light

Scribbles

 

 

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.paintingsmll

Life Drawing. Creative Yoga

 

gold birdsmll

Gold Bird

purple bird

Hungry Little Purple Birds

Character Sketching

Rosie

I am loving being at the creative stage of a new book. Testing out the characters, gestures and colours. This one is a lot of fun. I don’t know what happened in the uploading but these colours are totally wrong. She’s a cute little character though.

Portrait project

I started a project to give my drawing skills a boost. I asked friends to contribute photo’s of themselves or their children so I can draw them. I’m absolutely loving it, and building up a really nice little portfolio of work. The first one here has to be my favourite portrait to date. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do it if I hadn’t asked people and offered to do some work for free.