Picture Books at Blackheath

Banksia in the snow
On Saturday I attended the Picture Books at BlackHeath workshop run by Margaret Hamilton and Dee Huxley.  Margaret, who is an illustrator and retired from owning her own publishing company, MargaretHamiltonBooks, and Dee who is also an illustrator both provided a huge wealth of experience to learn and inspire from.
Margaret talked about the author and publisher’s side of picture books, whereas Dee talked about the illustrator’s side.  Dee re-iterated what I have been previously learning through Franki’s course, but she also showed her amazing portfolio of completed artwork and a variety of design sketches which helped to better understand what publishers are expecting to see from an illustrator and their own portfolios.  However, it was interesting to hear from Margaret the other side of the process with which the authors go through, and then the general collaboration between the author, publisher and illustrator which is all valuable knowledge to know.  Margaret also showed some manuscripts that she had from which she previously published, which were great to see for which starts the ball rolling to create the picture book.  So now the bigger picture can be seen of how a picture book is created from initial manuscript idea through to final artwork.  It seems an amazing exciting venture.
At the end of the day is ‘show and tell’.  I showed my portfolio.  I was happy to receive some laughs from my Possum cartoons, and the feedback that Dee provided has confirmed the direction with which I need to focus on. 
Whilst we were there, it snowed.  Yes, snowed!  And in Australia’s Spring time!  So when looking out the window at lunch break I saw a Banksia in the garden which quickly gave me the inspiration to create the above image of a Banksia in the snow, which is the wrong extreme for this plant, as it requires a bush fire to happen before the fruit will appear!

The Great Oz Eddventure #32 – Ringtail Possum Joey

This is my 100th blog post, and what a cute post it is!
At the weekend, Hazel and I had a trip to Sydney.  Returning back to our hotel on Saturday evening we came across a tiny Ringtail Possum joey waddling around the hotels entrance.  Unfortunately we weren’t the only ones who had our eyes on him – there were magpies, crows and mynas all circling around the trees above hoping that the little joey would be their evening meal!
So with the help of the hotel manager we collected the little chap and took him to the nearby vet, as mother possum was nowhere to be seen (so there was no mothers day card for her the next day!!).  This made Hazel’s weekend as she was able to hold him in her hands and he was ever so soft.
We hope he is still doing well!

The Great Oz Eddventure #25 – Wildlife on your doorstep

People are excited to hear that I have this great opportunity to live in Australia for two years, but then are surprised to hear that I am living in Canberra as it is not classed as a happening city.  But reality is that Canberra has a bonus of having wildlife on your doorstep.  Every day I see a variety of birds and parrots outside our windows, and possums in trees down our road at night, and one day a Huntsman spider even made an appearance!
There is always exciting wildlife to see every day in front of you in Canberra!

The Great Oz Eddventure #22 – Camping with Possums

Last weekend we camped here at Bournda National Park, which is a lovely camp site to a host of nature – Kookaburras, Bell Birds, Rainbow Lorrikeets to name a few.

One story I would like to tell is the story of Hazel’s bag of tomatos!

We had just finished our bbq on Friday night and darkness had just settled in.  I heard a rustling near our cool box and after shining the torch there it revealed nothing.  Then another rustling.  I got up to have a look and there was a possum tucking into Hazel’s bag of tomatos!  The bag was about as big as he was, and once he saw me approaching he wanted to run away, but still with the bag of tomatos in his mouth!  It was hilarious!

Checking the bag of tomatos the next day revealed that the possum had taken a bite out of one of them.  So Hazel took that one out and left it on the edge of our camping pitch for the Possum to have later.  But another animal beat him to it, as a Swamp Wallaby with no ears appeared and ate it!
That’s the end of the tomato story!  Later on Saturday night a flock of Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos appeared, and I had to create a picture of one of those too as they are beautiful birds.

The Great Oz Eddventure #10 – Possum Spotting

Because we love possums (just incase you hadn’t worked that out by now!):

When we first arrived we had no idea what these little furry creatures were that were looking back at us from their tree branches!

Now that we know what they are, we are continuously playing ‘possum spotting’!!  How many possums in the picture below can you see hiding out in the trees?

Work Xmas BBQ

On Friday night was our work Xmas BBQ.  I had designed and created the above image to go on our Christmas cards that we gave to all the volunteers that were there.
It was a fab evening getting to know everyone whilst having a good Ozzie BBQ!!  Thanks to my work buddies for organising such a great evening!
It was also encouraging to hear that some volunteers were impressed by my monthly Possum cartoon, and had even taken the time to look here on my blog – so a really BIG THANK YOU to you guys, it is really great to hear such positive feedback! 

The Great Oz Eddventure #9 – Canary Supporter a long way from Carrow Road

Being a Norwich City fan I usually travel to see them play once a month at Carrow Road while I was in the UK.  Now that I am in Oz, I am missing seeing them play, especailly as this season they are playing very well and it is a delight to see them winning games confidently again.
I therefore wanted to show this in cartoon form.  I have my canary (Norwich City are nicknamed the Canaries) perched on the edge of the branch, visiting my Australian animal cartoon characters (Cockaoo, Possum and Koala) with the delights of another win, hoping that they will continue to win for promotion.
And I thought I should add bit of yellow!: