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 …

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 …

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 …