Happy holidays!

Startree - watercolours, custom stamps, collage

May your holidays be happy, and your new year be sparkly!

Thanks to all of you who read this blog. I really appreciate your readership, even when there isn't always that much to read!

Here's hoping 2012 has been a wonderful year for all of you. On this side of the pond, it has been a year of highs and lows. Birth, life, and death -- we experienced it all this year. A difficult and joyous year at the same time.

Thinking about the new year illustration-wise, I'm hoping to redesign my website and definitely make it sparkly, including a shop where I can sell prints. Also preparing to have a solo exhibition at the end of next year so I'm really excited about 2013.

And this is our first Christmas with our little munchkin.... so it is sure to be a lovely time.

much love, stars and gingerbread to all of you out there. Stay safe, happy and healthy!


A few things (including IF: Boundaries)

Rapture knows no boundaries
Here is my submission for this year's Illustrators Australia exhibition 'Rapture'. I'm really happy with how this turned out and look forward to working with this style of collage much more!

There are a few things I've keep forgetting to tell you about:

< Prints of my Morocccan Orange Salad recipe I did for They Draw and Cook are now available through Great Big Canvas
> I'm donating one of my Japan Tree prints to the Lighthouse Foundation Art Auction - another wonderful annual event

I've just joined ChildrensIllustrators.com, and found out I will be Featured Artist of the Week starting today! yippeee!

< Also,  if you haven't seen it yet, I have a new blog Illustration Station which collates current worldwide opportunities for illustrators. Check it out and check often for lots of new posts!

Cheers x

Illustration Friday : Stay

New Orleans would have to be one of my favourite places to stay in the USA.

This is a map I did for They Draw And Travel -- they asked for a very personal map -- things that aren't necessarily in the tourist guides but the things YOU love to do in a city. And that's exactly what this is. We often visit NOLA due to my musician-husband's desire to have been born there, so we have many rituals, a lot of which are on the map.

I have always wanted to illustrate a map and I had sooooo much fun doing this. If I have time I may do another for Melbourne!

I-F: Toy + IA for JP auction LIVE

I am soon heading to the bustling metropolis of Redmond, WA, USA for the regional Western Washington SCBWI conference. woo! I was quick off the mark this time and managed to sign up for the Illustrator Masterclass which promises to be VERY cool.  We were asked to illustrate some supplied text as "homework". The text I chose was:
"I love socks," said Blink.
"Some socks are more lovable than others," said Gollie.

Also, Illustrators Australia's fundraiser for Japan (IA for JP) is now ON for the next 6 days. PLEASE go visit this link and buy some wonderful art at bargain basement prices and help rebuild an amazing country. My piece (post below) is also included for sale.

I-F: Stir

Japan has been shaken and stirred this week. I almost can't quite come to terms with what is happening there. It seems like something out of a hollywood movie with insane special effects - tsunamis 30m high, destruction far and wide, nuclear meltdown. Hugs of the biggest and warmest kind to them.

This is a piece I did to donate to Illustrators Australia's auction with 100% of money going to Japan. (the kanji characters in the right hand corner say 'for Japan'. I hope I got that right!) The auction is currently being set up, so stay tuned for more details as they come to hand.

Other ways to help out:
Art for Japan
comment at Karen Andrews' blog to up her donation
buy one of Alicia's prints
buy one of Kathy Hare's prints

It feels good to at least be doing something.

I-F: Winter

Well I am back in Australia where it is going to be 40C/104F today for New Year's Eve (!) -- but up until a few days ago, I was enjoying Winter at my parents' place in Portland, OR. We didn't get any snow (unlike the rest of the country), but it was lovely to have a cold Xmas again.

I got into the habit of sketching each night before bed -- a ritual I hope to continue into the new year (a resolution, you might say). I sketched this dear deer one night and thought how the antlers looked like the ends of snowflakes, so here is my submission for Illustration Friday's Winter.

At my parents' place, I found what remains of a set of Prismacolor pencils that I had when I was 10. I was just about to buy myself a set!
I love that I am using the exact pencils I had when I was just beginning as an artist. I can remember adoring them, and placing each pencil in order by colour was one of my favourite things to do! It came in a cool box like this (long gone now) but it had two levels of pencils. This piece was done entirely with the Bronze prismacolor pencil - the metallic pencils were my favourites.

Anyway, I hope you have a rockin New Year's Eve, and all the best for a fun, happy, creative and fulfilling 2011!

I-F: Savour

Here is my submission for They Draw And Cook's holiday recipe contest. Yummy butter tarts from my homeland, to which I have added maple syrup to make them even more Canadian. My mum used to make these every year. mmmm... buttery, sugary goodness....

Oh and I'm very proud to say that my earlier recipe (Moroccan Date and Orange Salad) for TDAC was selected to be in their recipe book, to be published by Weldon Owen Publishing. wee!

I-F: Burning

Elsie's ears were burning after Stuart didn't return her feelings, and walked to class with Peony instead.

...I'm trying to get some more sketching into my life -- getting inspired by The Sketchables and this post by Alicia Padron. I haven't joined PiBoIdMo or SaeMo or anything, just trying to take 10-20 minutes whenever I can for sketching, no pressure.

I'm doing a drawing exercise that Sam Hughes told me about - she learned it from her critiquer Cecilia Yung at the SCBWI conference:
Have different jars with different scene elements, pick one out of each jar, and draw it! You could have:
Jar 1: Character (girl, dad, pig, rooster...)
Jar 2: Emotion (relieved, angry, sad, excited...)
Jar 3: Location (on the roof, under a tree, on the moon, in the supermarket...)
optional additions:
Jar 4 : Lighting/time of day (more for a finished piece)
Jar 5: Time period
Jar 6: Story twist (and then someone arrived, and then the dog got out, then it started snowing...)

The main one I am focusing on is emotion because I know I don't bring that out enough.

So for the elephant above my drawing was: The elephant was disappointed at school.

Below, the rabbit was relieved, on the roof when someone left.

Fun, no? Maybe you should try it!