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:

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!!!

Christmas in June

I recently took a trip to Sydney to visit a friend, but also did some business while I was there. I met with my editor at HarperCollins who is publishing the book I just finished illustrating - True Blue Santa - an aussie christmas story. I felt so little and nervous walking in there - check out this imposing building!

Anyway, it was all okay-- the editor was lovely as was the designer-- we had cups of tea and chatted, and then looked over all of the layouts. It turns out my timing was good as it was going to print that week, so I was able to go through it with a fine tooth comb and make final tweaks. I have to say I am VERY happy with how it is looking, and.... very proud (*blush*) of this being my first trade book. (eeee!)

So, it is due out in October! But I reckon it's about time I give you a sneak preview.... this is one of my favourite paintings from the book.... santa heading home after his australian adventure...

Books and book launches

Last night I went to the launch of Karen's new book Miscellaneous Voices, an anthology of blogging in Australia. Some of the contributors were there and read engaging passages of the book. It was good to see Karen again - it had been a while since we worked on Surprise! together - her kids have grown, her hair has been cut, but she is still forging through the complicated world of publishing with great avidity. Way to go Karen!

And while I was at Readings for the launch, I of course couldn't help pick up something for myself. This would have to be the most cleverest book I have ever seen:

The Black Book of Colours is an all black book - the grey parts you see in the picture above are actually black embossed glossy illustrations, on black paper. The only thing that is not black is the text in white, but it is accompanied by braille, in black. I know there must be tons of books for seeing impaired children (is that the correct pc term?), but I must admit this is the first one I have ever seen personally. It is quite exquisite. This one will not be for little greasy fingers in this house, and that means adults too!!

New studio for a new book

Sorry for my lack of posting lately . . .

I have been busy moving my studio . . .

(It's still in my house, but we are renovating the room where it was, so i now share the lounge room. I was reluctant to give up my room at first -- small as it was, it was all mine. But it actually feels really good in here -- and now I have a couch in my studio!)

And just in the nick of time as it happens, because I am about to start illustrating a new book which I am VERY excited about. [contained late-night dozy wohoo!] I can't say much about it, except that it will be published next year, for Christmas, (it's a Christmas book) and is going to be A LOT of fun.

It's also the first hardcover book I've done, so it feels like a 'real' book! Not that my previous ones weren't, but this one just feels more . . i don't know . . solid.

Hopefully there'll be a few preliminary sketches and things that I can show here. I have 7 months to produce it which is a nice long lead time for me, so I'm going to enjoy some rare 'experimenting time' in the next coupla months. I'll update as much as I can!

Good news to start the year

Well the exciting news is that Karen, the author of my latest illustration venture Surprise! has been signed to a literary agent in the big Big Apple, who is trying to find a publisher for the book in the US/Canada. You can see Karen's post about it here - fingers crossed for us please!

Also, the book got a nice one-liner review in Australian Bookseller and Publisher - I think that is my first ever review ... cool! :-)

Good News!

I am happy to announce that I have been contracted to illustrate a series of 4 board books! The publisher must remain nameless for now, but I am very excited for many reasons:
• it's a publisher I haven't worked with before
• they're board books so for really little kids which is the age I love illustrating for most (also board books have no gutter, meaning the pages lay flat so there is no 'loss' of space in the middle where the pages are bound)
• the books are all about being healthy, so they've got a really good focus
• the characters are animals! I've always preferred drawing animals than humans, but the last few books I've done have been people, so I'm really excited to get back to drawing animals again. Soooo.... let me introduce you to my main characters, twin elephants Ethan and Emily:

I've been asked to change their ears a bit as they are too round, but other than that, these are the little guys I'll be having fun with for the next few months!