Children’s Book Illustration
Pippa and Dronie
2020 has been a year like no other. I don't think we will be forgetting this year in a hurry. While humanity faced multiple crises across the world, bushfires raged in Australia and America, a global pandemic broke out, most of the world has finally realised that climate change is a real and immediate danger, and a silly man in a red hat was voted out of office (though he hasn't left yet...). During 2020 I also came to accept that I need some help, because the health conditions I live with, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, have become disabling. Somewhere within that giant dumpster fire, I managed to find a small pocket of peace in which I would sit and create the illustrations for a wonderfully exciting book, Pippa and Dronie. This picture book, aimed at children aged 5 to 9 Paul Mead of She Maps. Paul and Karen of She Maps are inspiring people, having created the educational social enterprise after realising that girls weren't participating in the STEM incursions they would run in local schools. Karen Joyce is a geospatial scientist, who uses drones to help map the Great Barrier Reef. Paul and Karen were looking for a way to show younger children (too young to fly drones) how many different exciting and important jobs women in STEM do around Australia, so Paul wrote the picture book, Pippa and Dronie.
The book follows a young girl and her drone as they travel around Australia, meeting women who use drones to help in their work. Dispelling the myth that science and STEM is all about laboratories and white coats, most of the women visited in the book work outdoors doing stuff that made my inner nerd jump for joy. Illustrating Pippa and Dronie was such a wonderful experience, because I was able to research each of the areas of geospatial science, from using drones to collect whale snot in Sydney, to using drones to help preserve precious remnants of rainforest (called Monsoonal Vine Thickets) on Yawuru land in WA's north west. Did you know that near Broome you can see actual dinosaur footprints, made by dinosaurs who munched on the Monsoonal Vine Thickets that still grow nearby! Pippa and Dronie learn about drone photography, using drones to map the reef, to find evidence of ancient earthquakes (and recent ones too) and to help repair the ecosystem when mine sites are decommissioned.
During 2019 I completed Nina Rycroft's Picture Book Illustration e-course, which was such a great experience and so useful. If you are looking for a course that packs everything you need to know about children's book illustration into 6 weeks of intensive learning and creating, and you would like to be part of an online group in which you can share your progress and receive supportive and constructive feedback, then I can definitely recommend Nina's course. Below is one of the illustrations I did for the course.
Drawing from Life
Although I will soon be moving over to Printful, I still have a bunch of stuff available in my Society 6 store, including these Tiny Garden clock and cushion prints. I love seeing my stuff printed onto gorgeous things.
Many illustrations and watercolour paintings are ends in themselves, but some are created as composition development for a painting. While some of these watercolours remain in notebooks as research, others have a beauty all their own and end up on my walls, which is quite nice when I've had to relinquish a commissioned work!
In 2014 I was asked to illustrate a book about a little bear called Bucket. Bucket the bear is a real bear, handmade by Bear Artist Kay Cooper. Bucket travels by post to visit other bear makers, friends, artists and creatives worldwide. Kay writes a blog that follows his travelling adventures.