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:
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.
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.
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!
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’m not going to have my annual rant about this ridiculous American borrowed custom that makes absolutely no sense at the start of the Australian summer! Whoops. The kids love it and creatively its juicy inspiration.
Last year I illustrated a book named ‘A Secret Safe to Tell’. I must admit it was a confronting a difficult book to illustrate but it felt like the right thing to do. Since the book was published earlier this year I have had the pleasure of getting to know the author and now consider her a good friend. She and her husband have worked tirelessly to promote the book and its message. It aims to encourage children who are victims of abuse to speak out and find some one they trust. The books words and illustrations are not scary or inaccessible to children in any way. In my experience it allows children to talk about important questions and issues freely.
I have been continually amazed at how much Naomi Hunter (the author) has promoted the book through radio and press interviews. We are all very excited that she has been interviewed by the current affairs program ‘The Project’. It will be aired on Channel 10 Thursday 9th October at 6.30pm.
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.