Though I spent much of 2014 reading and writing reviews, finished many picture book drafts, got back into my junior fiction novel, and wrote short stories and poems for children, I did manage to create some time here and there for a few illustrations leading me to launch my Society6 shop as you'll see at the end of this post.
I was lucky to join the fabulous Tania McCartney with her 52 week illustration challenge as it started in January not realising what a huge following it would attract or what wonderful opportunities it would generate.
One of those opportunities involved a competition for bookmarks to be selected and be available for download on the website for International Book Giving Day 2015 on the 14th of February.
"International Book Giving Day takes place on 14th February each year. The aim? To get books into the hands of as many children as possible."
I had fun with this one, I came up with the concept and it pretty much turned out the way I had envisioned. I got to use my Prismacolour pencils and finalised the bookmark in Photoshop.
Then there was even bigger news, I was thrilled to find out that my illustration for Week 1 - Eggs was shortlisted for the upcoming 52 week challenge exhibition in Perth.
The final artworks will not be revealed until the Exhibition Opening on Monday 9 March, at Brookfield Place, Perth.
I sold this artwork to talented Nicky Johnston as part of the Creating a Welcome initiative– in support of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), a community organisation working directly with asylum seekers to provide basic necessities such as food, housing, healthcare and legal assistance.
I created my speckled eggs using Copic pens and pencil and it also was close to what I had envisioned.
Well, now that my chest is all puffed out and my ego stroked, I shall inflate it even further by launching my own little shop at Society 6.
TADAAA! Here it is!
I did a couple of test runs. The shirts come out well and don't fade or damage with repeated washing. The same with the mugs, I have run mine through the dish washer many times and it hasn't faded. I did receive one shirt that hadn't printed properly but customer service was great and immediately sent me a new item at no additional charge, no need to return. I would suggest you check with your country's mail system as my parents (The Netherlands) were charged some weird ceramic surcharge after ordering a few mugs. Society 6 often advertise free world wide shipping which I will post on my Facebook author page.
I will slowly work on adding more artwork throughout the year.
Here are some of my own models showing the latest in children's fashion!
These are NOT for children, I repeat, NOT for children. But they ARE picture books! These are parodies, have adult topics and humour, are rather dark and some have blood and gore but all will be appreciated by adults, well those with a slightly skewed way of looking at the world and a weakness for picture books (and possibly zombies).
For a child friendly list of picture books check out My (totally subjective) Best Picture Book Buying Guide Before Christmas 2014.
We're Going on a Bar Hunt
Josie Lloyd & Emlyn Rees
Illustrated by Gillan Johnson
Just one letter can make such a difference. My kids drove me silly by wanting to hear We're Going a BEAR Hunt again and again, close to the point of me needing a drink! That must be what these parents were feeling as they are on a night out hunting the bars for a good time and escaping the kids.
We're going on a bar hung.
We're going to find a cool one.
The babysitter's booked ...
We're not old!
Unfortunately the fact that I could relate to the sentiment behind the story, did make me feel quite old.
The Very Hungover Caterpillar
Josie Lloyd& Emlyn Rees
Illustrated by Gillan Johnson
Who hasn't read The Very Hungry Caterpillar as a child or to young children?
This story follows perfectly on We're Going on a Bar Hunt and illustrated what you would feel like the next morning, dealing with a hangover while having grown up responsibilities.
At 7 a.m., he has one paracetamol - but he is still hungover.
At 8 a.m., he has two cups of sweet tea and calls in sick - but he is still hungover.
Go the F*ck to Sleep
illustrated by Ricardo Cortes
This is quickly becoming a classic. All new parents will be able to relate and will have at least thought this if not actually said it.
There is a hilarious YouTube video of respectable Australian actress Noni Hazelhurst whom many will know from her many years on Play School.
A great gift for any new parents, give it a few weeks and they WILL appreciate it!
You Have to F*cking Eat
Illustrated by Owen Brozman
By the same author as Go the F*ck to Sleep. I haven't read this one yet, but I need to get a copy, with one child who has finally stopped vomiting when faced with any meat product or vegetables and the other one intent on copying anything his bigger brother does, this sounds like it could be a hilarious release from the frustrations of feeding toddlers.
Where The Wild Bums Are
Bums running wild! This a parody on Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. The author/ illustrator also has done a parody on Mem Fox's Possum Magic (Bum Magic) and Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar (The Very Hungry Bum).
Of course, this book has a lot of kid appeal and can definitely be shared with the little ones in your lives, especially if they are into poop and fart jokes.
A Brain is for Eating
Dan and Amelia Jacobs
Illustrated by Scott Brundage
Yes! Zombies! Zombie children! Zombie children looking for brains to eat!
These illustrations are awesome and beautiful in its goriness and so much fun.
Not for the fainthearted!
Ten Little Zomies: A Love Story
A count down story with a romantic twist.
Five little zombies scratching at my door.
Acid through the transom, now there are four.
Mostly black and white illustrations with just a touch of colour here and there. Short, sweet and dark.
The Runaway Mummy: A Petrifying Parody
This is a parody on The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown, sadly I have never read the original, but look at that cover, what fun.
A little mummy runs away from its mother and threatens to turn into all kinds of other monsters, until he threatens to turn into a little boy, and that is the one thing poor mummy Mummy can't handle, she'll have to do awful things such as take him piano lessons, the horror!
Another one to be appreciated by parents.
A parody on Goodnight Moon. I haven't read this one, but here is the link to a trailer. A picture book for the digital age!
So, children will enjoy this one as well, though perhaps not children who are easily scared. This is a gorgeous, almost wordless and elaborate fold-out book that I discovered by chance.
A little boy is looking for his mommy in a world full of mummies and monsters.
The Very Hungry Zombie: A Parody
Illustrated by Jon Apple
Here is another parody on The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This one is on my wish list! Zombie eats through a variety of foods, including astronauts, rock stars, fingers, and brains.
The Gashlycrumb Tinies
26 children (one for each letter of the alphabet) meet their untimely deaths. The book is written in dactyls. (Thanks Renee LaTulippe for introducing me to them.)
Edward Gorey has written and illustrated many ghastly stories and is worth getting to know more about.
A is for Amy who fell down the stairs
B is for Basil assaulted by bears
These illustrations are to ... die for.
Dillweed's Revenge: A Deadly Dose of Magic
Florence Parry Heide
Illustrated by Carson Ellis
A story of deadly revenge by the same author of the Treehorn Trilogy (see below) and with art by one of my favourite illustrators.
This is one of my most loved picture books because of the story, the
irreverence, matter-of-factness and humour in the illustrations. And one that I am keeping away from my kids for a little while longer, though the main character of the boy does triumph in the story!
The Shrinking of Treehorn
Florence Parry Heide
Illustrated by Edward Gorey
This has the author of Dillweed's Revenge (see above) and the illustrative talent of Edward Gorey (see above that), so it has to be good!
This is dark, quirky, disturbing and there are three more in the trilogy.
All my friends are dead.
Avery Monsen and Jory John
This book tells it like it is, short, sharp to the point and oh so lonely. Simple illustrations emphasize the existential angst.
So what do you think? Did I leave any out any that need to be added? Which ones have your read and which ones are your favourites?
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Children's Writer and Illustrator