Last year I illustrated a book named ‘A Secret Safe to Tell’. I must admit it was a confronting a difficult book to illustrate but it felt like the right thing to do. Since the book was published earlier this year I have had the pleasure of getting to know the author and now consider her a good friend. She and her husband have worked tirelessly to promote the book and its message. It aims to encourage children who are victims of abuse to speak out and find some one they trust. The books words and illustrations are not scary or inaccessible to children in any way. In my experience it allows children to talk about important questions and issues freely.
I have been continually amazed at how much Naomi Hunter (the author) has promoted the book through radio and press interviews. We are all very excited that she has been interviewed by the current affairs program ‘The Project’. It will be aired on Channel 10 Thursday 9th October at 6.30pm.
At the beginning of the year I made a plan to get out and draw in public on Tuesdays. Every Tuesday. But things didn’t go according to plan. Drawing in public proved to be too much of challenge and I just wasn’t motivated to do it. But I found something so much more rewarding to do on Tuesdays. A Life Drawing class has been going on in Mornington for over 20 years. They have artists of all abilities and ages. We spend four hours drawing the same model and it is fabulous. I have been four times now and each time I develop more freedom with drawing. So Tuesdays have changed.
I was looking back on old sketches and illustrations today. The work I was doing 4 years ago was really awful and it was good to see how much easier it is now.
It’s been the school holidays. My computer broke whilst I was teaching myself valuable new computer skills, so I did a few sketches.
I’ve had a RedBubble shop for years and years and never sold a single thing. I’m not moaning, I’ve done absolutely no work on it and if you have a shop but don’t change the stock or advertise in any way you can expect nothing to happen. It didn’t seem worth the endless amount of hours it takes to refine work for reprint and the gaps in my knowledge seemed utterly enormous. Best to stick to book illustration, I thought, for ages.
But Illustrators Australia are running a wonderful exhibition call ‘Wear Art Thou’, and because I just adore the title I thought I’d challenge myself to designing a t.shirt. I’m not great at it, but it’s fun and in the process I have learnt loads and loads and loads of really useful and interesting stuff about Photoshop and uploading stuff online. It seems you just have to sit and read all the guidance they have to offer and follow it, and practice and read it again and then do it properly without skipping bits. Much like learning any other stuff really. So I’m completely addicted to it now.
So here’s my work in the shop and here it is too, just for you.
A few weeks ago I watched a video by an illustrator. It was a talk on her work practices. She bordered of being OCD but her approach was something I feel I’d like to adopt. It centred around systematically and routinely creating according to rules and commitment. Sounds really boring and not at all artistic but the results were often very beautiful and led on to unexpected discoveries.
It made me think of the last time I approached something in this way, unrelated to creating a book. Last year I took part in the Sketchbook Project. Despite having other work that needed to be done I somehow fitting in creating a pop-up book by hand. I had no plan for it before I started, just a set of rules. It was a diary, and by the time it was finished I was very happy with the results. It’s now archived in the New York library and I’m hoping that one of my kids will go and look it up sometime. On Tuesday this week I met an old friend who is now working in a local gallery and she said she’d printed off some examples from it for use in gallery education for kids. I don’t know how it worked but I was thrilled that it had been used in this context.
So it’s Sketchbook Project time again! The book has been sitting on my desk for quite a while so I’ve decided to impose some rules;
1/ Deadline in 8 weeks. 10th Sept.
2/ At least 2 pieces a week, sometimes 3.
3/ 18 double page spreads.
4/ Don’t overthink it. It’s a sketchbook.
5/ Use random selections of words and phrases from a favourite novel as inspiration and page titles.
6/ Each page must include collage.
7/Copy and post each page before constructing the book
So here is the first one!