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:
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.
Loved making this cake last week. It was for a birthday….yes, chameleons again. It isn’t over, we still have the party to come! I really enjoyed practicing painting on fondant again.
The chocolate cupcakes were made for the class at school. They are completely gluten free, dairy free, nut free, colour and preservative free. Not egg free, but I am assured that that is also possible. They’re really delicious. It’s great to be able to cater for everyone.
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.
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.
Here’s the first painting I ever did of her. Wow, that was a long time ago!
Week 3 ‘Retro’ The inspiration for this was 50s dress pattern covers. i’m not sure it’s very successful because it was hurried a bit.
This is today’s effort. Week 4 ‘Insect’. My youngest has been enjoying reading Mary Norton’s ‘The Borrowers’. This is taken from the scene when Arrietty experiences the garden for the first time: “An ant came hurrying in a busy zig-zag. She danced in front of it to tease it and put her foot out. It stared at her, non-plussed…”
And here is one of my favourite pictures of my two older girls many years ago when the oldest was about to start school. The younger one would never admit it now but she still watches her older sister very carefully.
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.
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.
I can honestly say I haven’t lifted a pencil to draw in two weeks. It’s becoming a bit of an issue, but the whirlwind of visiting children, trips to the beach and trying to keep the house in some kind of order doesn’t look like slowing down soon. Christmas and New Year festivities always seem like a bit of a pain in Australia because it doesn’t brighten up a dreary winter.
Although I haven’t been drawing there has been some artistic endeavour. I finished this gorgeous book ‘Little Red Boots’ and I’m really looking forwards to seeing it come together in print.
We also went to the city to see the fantastic David Shrigley exhibition at the NGV. This Life Drawing room was part of the show. As you can see the kids took it on whole-heartedly.
Later there was a chance to explore the ‘Express Yourself’ room
And the teenager of the family has taken on even more self expression this week.
Here some of the stuff I’ve been doing. The program cover for my daughters ballet school and some christmas cards. I’ve also finished another book and the roughs for another and signed a contract for another! So things are scooting along happily.
If you like these Christmas cards they’re available to purchase at REDBUBBLE