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 Life

At the beginning of the year I made a plan to get out and draw in public on Tuesdays. Every Tuesday. But things didn’t go according to plan. Drawing in public proved to be too much of  challenge and I just wasn’t motivated to do it. But I found something  so much more rewarding to do on Tuesdays. A Life Drawing class has been going on in Mornington for over 20 years. They have artists of all abilities and ages. We spend four hours drawing the same model and it is fabulous. I have been four times now and each time I develop more freedom with drawing. So Tuesdays have changed.

 

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New Projects

A few weeks ago I watched a video by an illustrator. It was a talk on her work practices. She bordered of being OCD but her approach was something I feel I’d like to adopt. It centred around systematically and routinely creating according to rules and commitment. Sounds really boring and not at all artistic but the results were often very beautiful and led on to unexpected discoveries.

It made me think of the last time I approached something in this way, unrelated to creating a book. Last year I took part in the Sketchbook Project. Despite having other work that needed to be done I somehow fitting in creating a pop-up book by hand. I had no plan for it before I started, just a set of rules. It was a diary, and by the time it was finished I was very happy with the results. It’s now archived in the New York library and I’m hoping that one of my kids will go and look it up sometime. On Tuesday this week I met an old friend who is now working in a local gallery and she said she’d printed off some examples from it for use in gallery education for kids. I don’t know how it worked but I was thrilled that it had been used in this context.

So it’s Sketchbook Project time again! The book has been sitting on my desk for quite a while so I’ve decided to impose some rules;

1/ Deadline in 8 weeks. 10th Sept.

2/ At least 2 pieces a week, sometimes 3.

3/ 18 double page spreads.

4/ Don’t overthink it. It’s a sketchbook.

5/ Use random selections of words and phrases from a favourite novel as inspiration and page titles.

6/ Each page must include collage.

7/Copy and post each page before constructing the book

 

So here is the first one!

In-Bed

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.

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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

 

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Gold Bird

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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.

Veg Baby

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Every Tuesday I have a box of market fresh veggies delivered to the door and a cheerful wave from Scott who delivers them. This week I had a message to say that the veggies wouldn’t be delivered as his wife had had a baby. So I thought that required a congratulations card.

Fear!

It’s that scary time again. I’ve just finished one book and now have two more to complete in the next six weeks.  I know there are real scary things happening in the world (like this and this) and I am being a bit of a woos. All work is good . I’ll be alright once I get started and stop being distracted by all the fabulous stuff the internet has to offer. But;

Will I keep my ink lines loose without messing up on the fingers?

Can I maintain a light sketchy feel with out it looking a shambles?

Will my colour choices be right, bright, beautiful?

Will I overshadow?

Can I get it all done on time?

Unbelievably this is all stopping me from starting. And when written down sounds outrageously self indulgent. Time to get on with some work!

But first; acrylic, ink or watercolour? I’ve decided that no one can really tell the difference when they used in a certain way. Here’s a little sketch I did using all three.

Kate