Please describe your chosen illustration
This piece is light hearted and abstract, giving the sense of vibrant movement in the pose of the central character. The time and environment is hinted at through light and shadow. I enjoy this piece for its sense of innocence and fun.
~ What medium did you use?
Graphite and lead pencil with charcoal highlights.
~ How long did it take?
The initial planning and sketch of the concept took about twenty minutes to capture the essence of what I was after then the first draft was another half hour, with several hours of tightening, darkening and adjustment. I also spent an hour playing with the image on paintshop.pro© and photoshop© with the intention of tightening the image further. This was such a simple image it did not take very long to reach a stage I was happy with.
~ What is it for?
An anthology of children’s stories. Teapot tales; a collection of unique fairy tales. http://chapterbookchallenge.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/teapot-tales-collection-of-unique-fairy.html It is also being used in promotional material.
When did you know you had a talent for illustration?
~How old were you?
As a child. Every piece of paper I have ever had under my hands has been decorated with doodles of varying levels of complexity and every course I studied generated caricatures of participants as a memory aid. In recent years I discovered a moderate talent in portraiture which I am polishing.
~ How did you know?
Because drawing gives me a sense of peace and the illustrations I do are enjoyed by others beyond my own enjoyment. My portraits are recognizable as the people I am reproducing.
~ Did someone encourage you?
Me, my children and the feedback from others who have received my art work.
Have you ever studied your craft at an institution of any sort?
I have studied short courses including illustration with Lorette Boekstra, through Deakin Uni Warrnambool, and Mixed Media with Glen Morgan, and Ballarat University.
I was discouraged by teachers in my youth, told there was no work for artists and I would never make any money and I should stick to cooking, although they did steal my work and senior year portfolio and I was discouraged by family with a push to find ‘real work’. I went on to earn my living for two years from painting wall murals and small commissioned works on guitar cases and furniture as well as canvas. I am often commissioned by school students for specified art work and I use my skills in working with troubled and disadvantage kids especially disabled students. I have also worked on a number of community projects involving art. I also access many valuable youtube videos and online learning opportunities.
~Would you recommend it to upcoming artists/illustrators?
Definitely yes! I would recommend study to budding artists, with people who will encourage their talents and hone their skills. I also tell them to practice, practice, practice, and keep on practicing and I tell young people not to listen to anyone who tells them there is no niche (job/career/money) in art.
~Do you run courses or workshops yourself?
Yes. I am predominantly self-taught and have gone on to teach others (adults and teenagers) in basic art classes in the use of acrylic paint, gouache and drawing medium. I am very good at encouraging others to find their own talents.
What computer programmes do you use?
My art is still hand drawn or hand painted and I have not yet embraced electronic drawing medium although I am interested in gaining more skills in this area. I recently purchased a smart pen so I can doodle directly onto my computer. I know I am a dinosaur but I am an eager dinosaur. J I am learning to use my smart pen, paint©, photoshop© and illustrator© which shouldn’t take me too long. I occasionally use a drawing tablet.
Have you illustrated any books?
~How many books?
I have art work in five upcoming anthologies and two already published.
~Do you have a favourite?
I have enjoyed providing art for all the anthologies. They range through fairytales- new and twists on the classics, superhero girls, holiday stories, dark circus stories, horror with a collection based on the work of Clive Barker, fishing tales and a three volume collection based on bracelet charms. The variety is what excites me and I simply love to create.
~How are you usually commissioned? What is the process?
Word of mouth through social networking pages and face to face.
~Do you have contact with the authors?
For anthologies I usually have contact with the editor/publisher and I do have the opportunity to read other authors stories to get an idea of the art work to offer.
~On average, how long does a picture book take to illustrate?
My art works can take from five minutes to several hours on average or even days. From concept to finished work may take me up to six or seven hours depending on the complexity. If I am working on something with detailed backgrounds rather than a wash, this time may stretch. I expect to spend much more time on a story without text because the drawings need to tell the story and will take much more time than that in which the art work enhances and supports the text. I expect to take six months to illustrate my own picture books.
~Is it difficult working to deadlines? Does it interfere with your creativity?
Who is your favourite Australian children’s book illustrator and why?
Jeannie Baker. I love her story through art and the use of environmental detritus for her collages. I love Roland Harvey because his work is humorous and light and I find Mem Fox quite delightful with whimsical and beautiful people and animals. I aspire to the skill of Graeme Base I adore the detail and richness of his illustrations however my own humble artistry is of a different bent. I can dream.
What’s your website or blog address (if you have one)?
I am in the process of having a website built. Watch this space, well not this space exactly but a space TBA. I currently house (inadequately) scanned copies of my anthology art on Facebook. firstname.lastname@example.org
I have just processed requests for an author/illustrator page with goodreads and amazon.
Would you like to tell us anything else about yourself and/or your work?
When I paint or draw the rest of the world disappears for a while. I love looking for images that can be transformed into something else. I doodle a lot because I need to. I like to create things. My writing is a way to allow my imagination to create stories in such a fashion that I can pass on a part of the incredible worlds going on in my brain and my art lets me make physical representations of emotions and thoughts. I work fast and I work from my own imagination and experience. I do like to research photography for posture and line, sometimes for facial features. In portraits I like to sketch the subject but also work from photographs. Line drawings are quick and light and a simple pleasure both creatively and visually. Apart from being a writer and illustrator I am also a mother, foster mother, trade teacher, chef, disability worker and theatre props maker and occasional seamstress plus I have 55 children. Well sort of, I actually have five young people in my core family unit with a further two or three or five who come and go and I have cared for more than 55 young people in out of home care. I currently work in a secondary college supporting troubled kids and students with disabilities with curriculum delivery and life skills. I am finally pursuing my passion with writing and drawing after being sidetracked by life. My absolute favourite books are picture books, followed by fairy tales myths and legends.
A good picture book should last a lifetime and be passed on as a treasure.