Morning sketch

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.

dog sketch02sm

Working for Nothing

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.


Character Sketching


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.

‘Suspense’ for IF

I’ve just signed up to do a day in Melbourne with Illustrators Australia. It’s called ‘One Day. One Word’. It’s being held in the ABC Centre on Southbank and will be covered by the ABC!  There’ll probably be loads of other illustrators there – talented ones – so I am a little scared to say the least. I thought I ought to have a go at practicing so it’s back to Illustration Friday. This was an immediate and probably quite unoriginal response to the word, but I’m busy busy finishing roughs for a book. It was nice to scribble just for the sake of it for a moment.

Favourite illustrator #? Bruce Whatley

Bruce Whatley wrote and illustrated the book ‘Clinton Gregory’s Secret’. It’s one of my middle child’s absolute favourites as I think it appeals to her quirky sense of humour.  The illustrations are beautiful and engaging and tell a good story on their own alongside the text. Bruce Whatley is a very Australian artist. He did ‘Diary of a Wombat’ and ‘Josephine loves to Dance’. The humour in his pictures and characters are incredibly appealing.


I started on this owl yesterday. I’m not sure if I want to carry on with it because I quite like it just the way it is. Birds seem to be popping up alot at the moment. Yesterday I saw several rosella parrots feasting on the damp lawn and it reminded me of ‘Flyway Katie’ a wonderful little book by Polly Dunbar that was inspired by spending time in South Australia. I also revisited Matt Phelan’s site. I just love his ‘Pigeon of the Month’.

Pigeon of the Month, Feb by Matt Phelan

This led me to a wonderful discovery through the Quentin Blake site. He has a whole folio of birds on the Museum of Illustration Site.

Parrot by Quentin Blake

So with all this lovely inspiration there could be alot more birdy stuff turning up.