I finally worked out a way to integrate a blog as part of my website – it’s all rather smooth and impressive, aktcherly. So, now I can be found here….
Please visit and go “ooooh!” and “aaaah!” at the shiny new look. And this is the last time I change everything around like this. I promise. I’m set now. Really.
I love this photo – I wish I could look so casual about leaping six feet off the ground. In fact, I wish I could leap 6 feet off the ground in the first place…. The photographer must have been so delighted when they saw how this image had come out, and how crystal clear all the expressions of the other players are. It’s just begging for a caption competition… any suggestions?
This week, Illustration Friday has the perfect topic to let me segue stylishly into showing some of the sugary sketches I’ve slaved over recently. “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” is in the home stretch – I’ll be submitting all the finals for proofing next week. It’s been a lot of fun doing a more zany comic style, and adding in lots of little visual storylines. I think it’s going to be a really fun book, even though it’s nearly killed me trying to get everything done. I’m getting tired of being overcommitted – it would be nice to take my time with something for once, instead of having to rush. Anyway, here’s the Sugar Plum Fairy in all her Sugar-Frosted Goodness….
This is almost entirely digital – I did the pencil linework in bits and scanned and combined the sections with Photoshop, then did all the coloring with a mix of Photoshop and Painter. For the lollipops etc, I took photos of barley sugars and colored glass marbles, suspended in a clear plastic bag in front of a sunny window. Then I used the photos as the basis for the sweets, doing lots of tweaking the colors with the channel mixer and painting on top of them. Then I ate the sweets. Thankfully, I still had it together enough not to try chewing on any of the marbles.
I was ten flavours of lucky to be invited to Bookfeast yesterday, a book-lovin’ extravaganza with a horde of amazing young book enthusiasts, budding writers and nascent illustrators from schools all over Sydney. It’s a fabulous idea which originated at Fairfield High School and is in it’s (I think) 14th year now. Schools book their students seats at the banquet tables, and students, authors and illustrators all sit down together to enjoy lunch, and talk about books and what goes into making them. I sat at a table with William Kostakis who is criminally young, talented and funny. He’s 19 and has just had his first novel published… “Loathing Lola”. I bought it from him (he gave me a table-buddy discount) and it kept me highly entertained on the looong train ride home – it’s a great read, with one of the most delightfully irritating characters since Mrs Bennett.
We were sitting with Bankstown Girls High, who had sent along their very charming debating team, and Fairfield Primary School. The students were great, very articulate and funy, and all really enthusiastic about books, writing and reading.
After lunch the kids brought their programs round to be signed, and I made the mistake of drawing a puppy on the first one, so the next thing I knew I had a huge queue of kids all wanting pictures on their programs. I must have drawn enough puppies to fill a few petshops, as well as a fine assortment of birds, fish, monsters, and T-Rexs-devouring-unfortunate-individuals. Now I can do a puppy in under 5 seconds! It did mean that I only got to eat 2 cold chips from the fine lunch we were served, but I figure I can eat lunch any day.
There were lots of great writers there , and a smattering of great illustrators. Here are a few of those I recognised – Susanne Gervay, Chris Cheng, Sue Whiting, Sandy Fussell, Kate Forsyth, Jeni Mawter, Sue Murray, Gus Gordon, and Trisha Bernard. I’ve missed heaps of people, though…
Most of the photos I took of people were so awful that I think they’d send the boyz around to kneecap me if I posted them. I’m definitely no photographer. So, if there’s no photo of you here, you should probably thank me! But here are the few I took that weren’t too munted to air in public..
Author of Loathing Lola and generally proclaimed wunderkind
Mending Lucille was released for sale at the beginning of this month, and sold its entire first print run in the first 4 days! I think that’s pretty respectable…. I actually have no idea where it’s possible to lay your hands on a copy, though – I should probably find out, because I’ve had a lot of people contacting me wanting to know if it’s available in the USA.
It’s also on the list of books recommended for helping children deal with grief put out by the Australian Centre for Grief Education at the Monash Medical Centre. I’ve had a surprising number of adults tell me how relevent it is to them – there are so many people who remember some kind of deep loss from their childhood. It’ll be nice if the book makes it easier for people to talk about that sort of thing… but its also a really great story and deserves reading just for it’s literary merit, I think.
My friend Carlyn’s new book is due out in September. It’s “a tell-all book that uncovers the biggest rumors throughout European history, called “The Raucous Royals; The True and Untrue Rumors of Kings and Queens”, (Houghton Mifflin, 2008). Carlyn describes it as “history lesson meets tabloid magazine.” Buy it! Buy it now! Or you’ll never know the true freakish details of the unruly rulers….