A4 Book launch

I've got the above piece (one of my personal faves) in print in Lara Soulio's A4 Book, being launched in Melbourne at the Old Bar on Jan 25th. Get along if you can and let me know how it goes as I can't make it! ;-)

"A4 Book is a soft cover book of writing, images, photographs, drawings, poetry and ideas. Work included is visual, conceptual, literary or analytical."

Noisy Neighbours

I happened upon a lovely book at the equally lovely Younger Sun (children's) Bookshop, by illustrator/designer Ruth Green.

I love Ruth's palettes and fun characters. The design of the book is fantastic, and I think my son will really love the bold contrast in the images.

It looks like this is her first book, but she has lots of other delicious work!

It's been interesting reading to Oscar - I have a good selection of children's books, but many of them I have collected for the illustrations and haven't actually read them! Reading them now, I realise many of them are so very simple. (And also that a good rhyme is hard to come by!)

Little Dog Lost

My good friend Monica Carnesi has recently published her first picture book!! It's called Little Dog Lost.

It is a true story of a dog called Baltic, who was found stranded on an ice floe in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Poland. Monica's simple watercolour-and-ink style is so graceful, and her text fits perfectly with the illustrations.  It even comes with a little Baltic! 

I'm very proud to have my own signed copy.

you can read more about Baltic's story on her blog here: http://msc4art-books.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/blog-post.html

Monica and I met at an SCBWI conference in New York several years ago. I'm so happy that we have maintained our friendship and it's a thrill to see my friends have such successes! Well done Mon!!!

Darcy & Griff

In between spending time with family and enjoying the Australian Open tennis and gorgeous sunshine, I have been beavering away on my current book project. I can't really share much with you yet, except to say it is being published in the US and distributed in the US and Australia, so that is pretty exciting!

For now, here are the characters I am working with, who are not named in the text, but who I am affectionately calling Darcy and Griff.

I always like to make a colour sketch of my main characters to stick above my painting space, to remind me what they should look like! I've written down all the colours I use for the watercolours and also for the pencil details, to help maintain consistency.

With this book, I am going to be working slightly differently. I love using collage in my work, and am always experimenting with new ways to incorporate it into my paintings. This time I'm going digital for the collage process -- I'll miss not having millions of little bits of paper all over the place, but I'm excited to see what effects I can come up with... (all hail Photoshop!)

Stay tuned sports fans.....

Travelling home.

I am back from my 5 week trip to the US!

It was such a great time....

Getting inspired, and meeting new and old friends at the SCBWI conference in Seattle (see previous post)....

Dancing all day and all night in New Orleans....

Catching up with family including two little nieces....

And to top it off a positive meeting with a publisher in Boston....

And I've returned to some fun news too:
 My illustration is one of the chosen ones for They Draw and Cook's Cookbook, out now! (buy it here)

I will also be featured in 100 illustrations next illustration Annual

I will be starting work immediately on 2 books for Five Mile Press.

It's always nice to have some good news and something to dive into to help dispel the post-vacation blues!

Look! Me & Leigh

I went to see the fantastic Look! exhibition at the State Library -- and it's worth the trip into the city just to spend some time in that gorgeous building.

The exhibit was fantastic too of course, with original artwork by more than 40 Australian illustrators, including some of my favourites, below.

Anna Walker, Big Red Bus

(bought a copy of this, finally!)

Alison Lester, Are We There Yet?

Leigh Hobbs, Old Tom

It was a really fun day. I went with my friend Jody Pratt (and her daughter Abby), who is a fantastic illustrator/painter in her own right. I am very proud to own her beautiful hooty piece below. You should check out her stuff!

And speaking of Leigh Hobbs, lookie here!: (click to enlarge)

Me & Leigh on the cover of the Victorian Writer's Centre mag! Hee hee. They did an article on lil ol me and Anne Mangan, the author of the picture book I illustrated, True Blue Santa. We got a full double page spread! It's about creating a picture book from both author and illustrator's perspectives, with Anne's viewpoint on the left and mine on the right.

Neato! Thanks VWC!

wise words

"If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams."

Yann Martel in Life of Pi

Drawing out Drawing In

Last night I went to hear one of my favourite illustrators, Shaun Tan, speak at Melbourne's State Library new Wheeler Centre. I always pick up some tasty tip or get inspired by a piece of his work I haven't seen before.

He was speaking as part of Drawing Out, Drawing In : Spotlight on Graphic Novels. I must admit I haven't been in to graphic novels much but the talk was eye-opening for me in many ways. I picked up Persepolis which I am eager to read (and see the movie/animation, once I have read it)

Shaun Tan talked a lot of the themes he enjoys exploring in his work: Language or lack thereof, miscommunication, displacement, and giving a voice to the voiceless (like his dogs in Tales from Outer Suburbia)

It made me think a lot about what themes there might be in my work, what I would like to explore in my painting on a deeper level, beyond technique and improving skill. One theme I see in my work is exploring the notion of 'home'. Tree imagery appears a lot in my work and I think of them as a home to many things, and I think of grounding, roots and family trees... there are many metaphors. Anyway that's something I'd like to delve deeper into in the coming weeks and months as I develop my folio for the LA conference....