the generosity of flossy

I should have posted this much, much earlier.... but my good bloggy friend flossy-p is having the most amazing giveaway for thanksgiving - and she's not even American/Canadian!

The lucky winner gets to commission her to do a painting for free - go check out this post to find out more, it's quite unbelievable really. Quick! Go now!


I recently got the above book of lullabies featuring illustrations by some wonderful australian illustrators. It includes a piece by one of my favourite aussie illustrators, Alison Lester, (below, cropped as it wouldn't fit in my scanner) which was the inspiration for my last IF post, Late.

There were plenty others, like Stephen Michael King: (for you, Monica!)

and especially this one that caught my eye, by Tamsin Ainslie. I was really struck by her use of collage and her sweet characters. I was sure I had seen her work before, and sure enough, I had! - through Illustration Friday, Illustrators Australia, and her various work around Melbourne. I have added her blog to my blog list - go check out this talented artist!

Also, as an added bonus, here is a card I picked up for a little friend of mine, isn't it gorgeous? The artist is Gemma Hardy (sorry, couldn't find a good link for her)

When you "heart" someone

I don't totally get why now you say I "heart" instead of I "love" but anyway, it is still nice to be 'heart'ed ;-) I was given this cute award by the lovely Monica - who I must admit, I whole-heartedly heart! If you don't know her work, you must go check her out Right. Now. Her artwork is the definition of beauty in simplicity.

the award rules are the usuals:
1-Display the logo on your blog
2-Link back to the person you received the award from.
3-Nominate 7 other blogs
4-Put links of those blogs on yours
5-Leave a message on their blogs so they know they've been nominated.

so thank you so much Monica! And now for the hard part...
I hereby heart:
cosas minimas, lucia masciullo, paula mills, laura zarrin, leah palmer preiss, courtney pippin-mathur, wynlen

Also, I was recently contacted by a design student at the University of Canberra to see if he could interview me as part of his course. I was naturally very flattered! He also had to produce a piece of artwork in response to mine, which we has given me permission to show here. The student, Bear, spoke about how my pieces can be like what a child would dream of, and he tried to capture that in his piece. Well done Bear, and thank you!

Here is Bear's piece:
in response to this one of mine in particular:


Thanks so much to Tom for awarding me with the Brilliante Blog Award going about! Tom was along for the ride while I was documenting working on Surprise! and it was great to have his comments, and also see his work change and evolve with the 21 day creative exercise as well. Thanks Tom!

So the idea is to pass it on to 7 brilliant blogs. I think these 7 might have received it already, so I thought instead I would add them to my blogroll, as I've been meaning to do this for AGES. 

So if you don't know them already, please go visit the beautiful wonderful whimsical inspiring work of Monica, Emila, Steve Morrison, Sparkle Seahorse, Happy Doodle Land, Gina Perry and Kathleen Rietz. You are all brilliant! (and I pass this award on to you if you haven't gotten it already!)

Me & Shaun Tan

Well I don't think I can put me in the category with Shaun Tan except to say that we both had book launches in the past week. I have to say Shaun's was a bit more exciting!

The book launch of mine was for Short which I posted about here, published by Black Dog Books. I had one little illo in it, but it was cool to go along and meet the editor, and Mary Ann (the co-owner) again. I had showed her my folio ages ago, and she encouraged me to keep submitting samples as it really is a 'timing thing' - so that was good. Lili Wilkinson was the editor and she made a very humorous speech where everything was 'short' - "I hope you don't feel short changed, that Short stays on your short list", etc. I signed quite a few books and almost felt famous!

At the Short launch I ran into a good friend of mine who is involved with a certain book publisher who publishes a certain Shaun Tan and she told me about the book launch on Friday. Lucky or I would have missed it!

Shaun's new book is Tales from Outer Suburbia, a set of 15 stories (you can see a sneak peak here) If you don't know Shaun Tan's work you MUST check him out. He is totally out of this world, literally. He is an Aussie illustrator, and wins awards for almost every book he does - it's pretty obvious why, because not only are his ideas so original and often very heartwarming, but his execution of painting/drawing/collaging is simply first rate! There is so much detail and texture in his work, that's what I love the most besides the fact that it's technically amazing, you could just stare at one illustration forever looking at all the little details.

I also bought his previous book The Arrival which I had been drooling over for quite a while but hadn't made the "investment" yet. I thought it about time when I could get it signed! It is a wordless book about immigration and again, indescribably amazing. He said it took him 3-4 years to finish. good work takes time, obviously.

The night was a mini who's who of Australian illustration. The book was officially launched by Ron Brooks, and I also saw Lorette Broekstra (who I took a children's book illustration class from a few years ago) and met Craig Smith. Yikes! The heavyweights! (what was I doing there?)

So I think tonight I will settle into bed early and get stuck into some amazing picture books...

Surprise Monday : Week 13 : Karen's launch

Again I've been working hard but without much I can show you... I finished another double page spread and it is going really well. I now officially have 4 illustrations to go! It's very exciting! I'm hoping this means I will finish a bit ahead of schedule and have a bit of time to go over all the illos and do any touch-ups. I always like to have a bit of space and come back to things later if I can, to see it with a fresh eye.

But the exciting news of the week is that Karen has launched her Miscellaneous Press website, a permanent web presence for the book. (and also that she won a writing award - congrats Karen!!)

Oh, and remember how I was having troubles finalising the cover? Well head on over to misc press, there is a pic of it there - it will look strangely familiar if you have been following my journey here!

21 days creative exercise: Days 20-21

How did it get to be Day 21 already? That doesn't seem right. well looking back it looks like I skipped days 13-15 (not for any superstitious reasoning or anything, I just did!) - so maybe I should go to at least day 24.

Anyway here is Day 20:
I did a little series of sketches of a girl and her dinosaur (on post-its again!) - playing with perspectives again. yes i know he is one weird lookin dino!
"up! up!"
up looking down
down looking up

Day 21: This is one of my favourites of the whole 21 days I think! I went to my first ever meditation class the other night, and as we were trying to 'clear our minds' the instructor said if a thought came into your mind, that was okay, and just to let it float by like a log on a river or a cloud in the sky.
I thought, wouldn't it be great if we could do that, just send all our negative thoughts and feelings floating away, and I guess I had paper boats on a river in my mind because I just can't stop thinking of flossy-p's beautiful painting... (if you don't know flossy-p or haven't seen this painting you must, it's gorgeous)

okay, three more days to go... :)

I-F: Primitive

Some people might feel quite 'primitive' before having their first cup of morning coffee...

OK so this wasn't done for I-F and it's a bit of a stretch, but there you go. This is actually for the 2nd blogaversary of my online critique group The Creative Cup. I've found CC invaluable in my humble lil illustration career - from getting practical advice on composition and style to personal encouragement to sharing industry info and links. I feel lucky to be a part of it, so thank you Creative Cupsters!

This illo was done with a mixture of ink, acrylics and collage in my moleskine. I bought this acrylic paint called 'Mixing White' by mistake, and was really disappointed because it is much thinner than the normal W&N Artist's colour, but just discovered that it's great for use on top of collage. See? everything has it's use! (famous last words from a hoarder, which by the way, I refuse to be, except when it comes to art supplies...)

A short read

I recently received a nice little package from Black Dog Books with 2 copies of an anthology book I contributed to, Short. It is a collection of short stories by some well known authors as well as students, but all 'surprising and intelligent people' (I however, am not so surprising as you will have to flip all the way to page 215 to find me!) I think it would be a great book for a teeanger. So if you're interested, you can pick it up here, and all profits go to Big Brothers Big Sisters so it's for a good cause too!

And when flipping through Black Dog's catalogue, I also found that I am in good visual company with the lovely Danielle McDonald, who has some new books fresh for Mother's Day. (and also on the front page of the Black Dog website - go Dan!) Go check out her lovely playful work!


I while ago I asked fellow Melbournian Julie Knoblock if she could custom make me one of her purses to a smaller size, and this week I met with her and got it and it is just so perfect! I love it! Unfortunately my camera is on the fritz and she's not selling them anymore in her store so I had to scan it - LOL! but at least you get the idea. it is very "me" and is just the right size.

Along with the purse, Jules tucked in a book about publishing in Australia, a cool postcard, and also this limited edition print which I love called 'Nesting' (very appropriate!) Thanks Jules!!

If you don't know Jules' work, she does fun quirky illustrations and is also a crafty one. Go check out her etsy shop and blog. Enjoy!

I-F: Tales and Legends

I'm sure there are many tales told about the Great Wall of China.
This is an old one (hence the different style) - it was for a book about the Olympics in Beijing THIS YEAR. (2008 seemed so far away when I did it!)

Well this will be my last post before I head off to the USA to Memphis to see my hubby perform and then to NY for the SCBWI conference. I'm pretty happy with my folio, though i think i'll use the plane rides to do a few finishing touches! (i've got a few of em! plane rides that is.)

One of the things I'm most excited about the conference is meeting fellow illustrators Alicia, Monica and Courtney. See you there ladies!

So off I go... I plan to keep a visual diary in my moleskine so I'll be sure to do a big write-up/sketch-up on it when I get back.

Until then, have fun out there in bloggy land!

Go ahead, make my day.

Well, my day was definitely made by Nicole passing on the 'you make my day' award to me. Thanks Nicole! If you don't know Nicole's work, definitely go check it out, her collages are totally unique and she uses texture in such a great way. Some of my favourites are here and here.

Here’s how the “You Make My Day” award works:

1. Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make me think and/or make my day.
2. Acknowledge the post of the award giver.
3. Display the "You Make my Day Award" logo
4. Tell the award winners that they have won by commenting on their blogs with the news.

I wanted to pass this on before I go overseas. I thought I might choose some people who I have just discovered recently, but also some artists that I have 'rediscovered' lately.

It's funny you know, I started this blog over 2 years ago now - for the first year I posted a lot, did I-F almost every week, and met lots of great people. Last year, I went travelling for 4 months and when I got back went straight into obsessively looking to buy a house, then moving, etc. etc., so blogging sort of fell off my radar a bit. I'm excited to get back into it this year though, and to keep meeting people and making the world a smaller, happier, friendlier place. Doesn't that sound good? Well, let's start with these lovely people who totally make my day:

Johanna Wright - her work is so whimsical, with a quiet beauty that hits you in all the right places. (Plus, she lives in Portland, OR, where I lived for 8 years!)
Kathy Weller - If you haven't already seen Kathy's work, check out her fun sparkly illos, especially of bunnies, which are just too cute for school!
Gorillustrator - I'm really enjoying the art of Lee Cosgrove, otherwise known as the Gorillustrator. He has this incredible sense of lighting, and his images look like high-end hollywood storyboards! I always learn something visiting his blog.
Limoon - Limoon is my new favourite illustrator. Click on 'my little creations' to see her asian-influenced beauties. She's got such a great sense of perspective.
Green Weeds - Sarah makes wonderful collaged paintings that i have been drooling over of late. Go check her out!

And to everyone else who visits this blog and leaves a comment (and even to those who don't) - you all make my day. Even though I-F is of course creation for creation's sake, it is still a nice little boost when i find i have more than 3 comments! so thanks everyone :-)

Tagged! I'm weird.

I've been tagged by the lovely Alicia to post 5 weird things about me. ok, on your marks...

1. I've just found out that one of my teeth has almost no root. The dentist was amazed and said "do you mind if I ask my colleague? I've never seen a case like this!" - it's not like it's wiggling or anything, it's as solid as a rock. bizarre!

2. I cannot eat a grilled cheese sandwich without cutting it into triangles. something from my childhood I guess, it just tastes better that way!

3. I never learned to whistle, and it annoys me so much. I can remember consciously learning to snap (and I'm a damn good snapper!) so I guess that must have eclipsed whistling class?

4. When I get home with the groceries, I love putting them all out together on the counter before I put them away in the cupboard or fridge. Don't know why, it's one of those satisfying popping-the-bubble-wrap feelings.

5. I am the avocado whisperer. I can pick the most perfect ripe-but-not-too-ripe avocado every time - just the right amount of squishyness. What can i say, some people are just born with special talents ;-)

I'm not going to continue the meme at this point because, well, I've been packing boxes all week and I'm just too damn exhausted! We move on Friday to our new house and I'm just so looking forward to having this entire house-looking-buying-moving process over with. I'm really excited, and a tad sad too, but the sadness is mostly dissipating and leaving the elation in its place. I realised when I finished my last job this weekend that I won't be doing any more art in this space. But a new space is ready for me to fill and make my own, and for that, I CAN'T WAIT!

new blogsters

I've added two wonderful illustrators to my blog list - both happen to be from South America! (my blog needed a bit more latin spice anyway)

go check out
Alicia Padron (sorry Alicia I don't have the "o with accent" character for your last name!)
beautiful soft watercolours with such warm colours and characters - even when playing in the snow!

and Valeria at La Casuni with her cute little funky illos. i love them!

IA's Festival of Illustration

This past weekend was Illustrators Australia's inaugural Festival of Illustration. Hopefully it will become a yearly thing because it was hugely successful. Not only was there the 9x5 exhibition on Thursday night which was great for rubbing shoulders with other illustrators and members of industry and seeing great art, but then the weekend was filled with seminars and talks from interesting and talented people. I was happy to be able to help out with some of the organisation for the weekend, and below is a lil wrap up:

9x5 - some great work auctioned off and some still for sale! Check here if you want to pick up some original art at the bargain price of $195 (australian bidders only). I would have to say without a doubt that this one by Michelle Katsouranis was my fave:

2 days of talks by some damn fine people

first was Bill Wood who talked about his website and how he set it up to mostly target US markets. Interesting, but not very relevant for me personally I guess - he works in a very commercial world.

then it was Mark Wood who was a very dynamic and funny speaker, on all the legal stuff illustrators should know - mostly copyright and our rights. made me realise i should probably have better contracts in place for some of the stuff I do.

Next was Andrea Innocent of Otoshimono who was fantastic. She lived in japan for a while and has carried over a lot of that japanese aesthetic into her art, which of course I love. She also talked about how all her marketing has been online and she has gotten great jobs through doing collaborative projects like Mail Me Art or joining online communities like Illustration Mundo. Very comforting to know that you don't have to spend oodles on promotional postcards and folios (they just end up in the Art Director's heap anyway) - and that if you do something unique, and you put it out there, it's just a matter of time before it's discovered. one of Andrea's pieces:

Phil Small from Watermark talked about the brilliant artists' collective they have and how illustration is more respected and "everywhere" in NZ (and everywhere but Australia, apparently!)

And lastly but not leastly was Nigel Buchanan, a stalwart of Australian illustration. All he did was show and talk about his artwork of the last 30 years, and that was enough. amazing work, go check it out.

Today (sunday) I missed the first two speakers, Dean Gorissen and Beck Wheeler, who both have incredible work in their own way. Dean is quite commercial but incredibly refined and detailed, and Beck's work is innovative and quirky. I bought her children's book (below) which is just so fun.

Next was Barbara Kitallides from Pearl Creative, one of two illustrators' agencies in Melbourne. Interesting to hear her talk about what she looks for in a folio - more of a distinctive style than a diversity of styles, so that clients won't be 'surprised' at the outcome.

Then was an accountant talking about how to please the taxman but still have money for paint and brushes at the end of the day. never simple...

Lastly was a panel of people discussing the state of illustration in Australia, led by heavyweight australian illustrator Ned Culic. again the overarching theme seemed to be that you needed to have your own distinctive style, and once that is defined and unique, that becomes desirable, and I suppose, ultimately, successful.

So the whole weekend was extremely inspiring but at the same time has sent me into a total headspin and identity crisis about my own work. I feel like I need to enter into another stage of experimentation, as i did 2 years ago when I started this blog. (actually, Novemeber 8th is my blogaversary, perhaps I'll have to give it a cake.) Anyway, I think I reached a good point then with my style and have ridden that for a little while now, but I feel like it's time to take it to the next level.

so. deep breath. chin up. plunge.

I-F: Extremes

something a bit japanese inspired...

I can think of nothing more extreme than the contrast between pure black and pure white. Japanese and chinese art and calligraphy especially are so beautiful in their simplicity and use of black. I would love to study sumi-e someday, maybe when I GO BACK TO JAPAN! (no trips planned, but one day, I promise myself I will. I loved it and 5 days was definitely not enough there)

and while i was skulking around looking for some examples of sumi-e painting, I came across this woman's art that completely blows my mind. Her name is Susana b. Endo and lives in New York. I think this is my favourite.

Illustrator pages up and running

I've now got two new illustrator pages viewable on that pesky world wide web.

I was very happy to be accepted into The Stylefile, which I applied for before I left travelling. It is a great resource, specifically for Australian picture book illustrators. You can see my page here.

Also the new Illustrators Australia website is up, and it's fantastic! Unfortunately not everything is working perfectly yet, so when you do a search for my page, it doesn't show up, but it IS there. To prove it you can check this link.

I probably won't be changing these pages that often, since they're really just a link to my website which I (try to) keep updated. But I figure the more places I am on the web, the better!

Art & Design

I've just joined Art & Design Online. It's not really targeted at the right markets for me, but i figure getting out there in any way possible on the web is a good thing. Plus, it's free!

It looks like it might be a good community of 'arty' people, but I haven't really had time to check that out yet. So for the time being, you can find me here. :-)

Diary hunting

Well it's already February and I still don't have a diary ('planner' for you north americans) for 2007 yet. I've looked in all the bookstores and nothing really strikes my fancy. I really like getting a nice one, because I figure you look at it almost every day, it's worth spending that extra $10 to get a nice one.

My favourite past diary was for 2004 - a Winnie the Pooh diary given to me by A - and I love it, because it was interspersed with cool illustrations, like this:

So I wanted to find something similar. Where else but the internet? I looked at etsy... nothing. so I just did a google search and found a few. But really not as many as I would have thought. I think there's a market here. But here are some of the ones I was attracted to:

Nice, but a bit mainstream

Little Warrior
really cool, and australian. but then I saw...

Little Otsu
and fell in love!
Love I tell you. such adorable things. I decided to get this diary, mostly for the novel idea that you write in your own dates! I figure, what with it being February already, and going travelling for 4 months this year when I'll be leaving my diary (and my mobile phone, and my computer, and lots of other things) at home, this is perfect. and it looks really cool. PLUS they have shops in Portland, Oregon, which is where my parents live and where I'll be starting off my 4 month trip so I reckon I'll be making a little visit. Love that mushroom t-shirt!

the only thing is, they ship to the US or Canada only (shock, horror) so I got it sent to my parents place (guess I should tell them that, eh?) and they'll send it on to me - so it may be March before I get it! damn!