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1. New and Improved

Hello dear followers

I'm not sure if anyone reads this anymore, but if you are reading this - then thank you! Being time poor as most of us are, I've decided to let my little blogspot go for a while, in the shadow of the shiny new blog over on my new website.

So please if you haven't already, you can visit the blog at www.kimflemingillustration.com/blog/ or plug the rss into your feed reader: feed://www.kimflemingillustration.com/blog/?format=rss

Thank you and happy surf-reading!

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2. SHOP! & Exhibition

I've finally done it - I've jumped onto the retail therapy bandwagon. It's one of those things I've been 'meaning to do' for a while. And luckily a little opportunity courtesy of Illustrators Australia and RedBubble gave me a little boot up the rear end.

So TA DAAAAAAHHH! Please say hello to my brand spanking new RedBubble shop where you may purchase to your heart's content: prints, cards, T-shirts, tote bags, it's all there. There isn't too much on the racks at the moment, but I'll be adding more as I go along, so stay tuned shoppers.

The opportunity that made me get my act together is an upcoming exhibition entitled 'Wear Art Thou' which I am very excited to be included in. Opening is this Friday!

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3. News! / Nouvelles!

I have just found out that publication rights for my latest children's book Mummy You're Special To Me (Scholastic Australia) have been sold to Scholastic CANADA! They will be publishing board book editions in French and English in (North American) Spring 2015.
This is so exciting for me for several reasons:
1. It is my first book with international publication
2. I am from Canada!
3. This will be my first board book
4. I speak French to my son!
5. It should then be available on Amazon, so accessible worldwide.

Everything seems to have fallen into place perfectly with this book.
* it came at the right time of my life (a book about mothers and babies when I was a new mum)
* It will be available in my homeland (Canada);
* I will have a book (my book!) in a French and English version I can read to my son.
Yep, I'm one happy little chappy :-)
Oui, je suis très contente!
And along the way I have found some very lovely reviews of this book. So amazed to have my illustrations described so positively (especially in this review - thank you so much!)

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4. Juicy pattern

Just because I didn't have quite enough to do, I decided to sign up for Make it In Design Summer school (or Winter school for me!), which is quite simply a series of prompts for creating new designs and patterns– an area where I really want to improve and increase the number of pieces in my portfolio.

The brief for this first round was 'Tropical' - think pink flamingos, palm trees, swaying fronds. Except my mind went straight to fruity cocktails haha! But I decided to make a virgin edition and kept it to juicy fruit. :)

This was all done with hand-carved stamps, except for the lettering which I drew then digitised in Illustrator. Fun!

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5. Hand-lettering

I recently completed this hand-lettering job for the Teacher Learning Network who offer Professional Development opportunities for teachers (and I also do their design work) The content theme for this journal was 'Gifted and Talented' and the visual theme was 'Words' so a hand-lettered cover seemed perfect. This was a lot of fun and I hope is well received!

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6. SCBWI Australia conference wrap-up

Well it went by in a flash.... a lovely bubble for 3 days... inspirational speakers, meeting like-minded individuals, lovely cooked meals, no cleaning, and no toddler-wrangling! Now that I'm back to reality (with a large thump!), it's time for a conference wrap-up.

It's always so hard to sum these things up... As usual it was half mind-boggling information, half uplifting inspiration. But I think it's more about the feeling you walk away with. I walked away feeling like I belong to a wonderful community. Even though I didn't know many people going this year, I had no trepidation walking into a room full of people (OK, I did at first, but that soon dissipated) and striking up a conversation with any attendee, knowing that we were all in the same boat, speaking a shared language.

Some highlights for me were hearing the Walker Books team take The Croc And The Platypus from conception to completion– a panel equipped with Editor, Author, Art Director, Illustrator, and Marketing Director, and hearing the renowned Bruce Whatley speak of his artistic journey. There is plenty more detail on the SCBWI-Aus/NZ blog so I won't go into it too much here.

Another feeling I got is that the picture book (and wider children's book) market is alive and well. A few years ago the discussion centred around how digital publishing might take away from traditional publishing. Now it feels like the panic has mellowed a bit and everyone is more confident. In fact, this wasn't even a topic for discussion throughout the whole conference! And I even heard a few publishers say they were actively looking for new illustrators, so that is wonderful news.

Another wonderful part of the conference is the Illustrator Portfolio Showcase, which gives participants a chance for local publishers, art directors and editor to view their work - a rare chance to get your illustrations under the noses of important people! This is only the 2nd time they have featured this, but it was very popular with publishers. Viewers are encouraged to leave comments on the folios, and I got a few on mine, leaving me feeling quite jumpy and positive. You can see the folio I submitted here.

All in all, a wonderful experience and one I would love to repeat... tomorrow!

ps. I took not a one photo the whole time, so all photos are courtesy the SCBWI blog

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7. Conference Portfolio

Well I've put the finishing touches on my folio and I'm ready to rock into the SCBWI conference in Sydney on Sunday.
I put a lot of thought into my folio this year, and I thought I'd give you a run-down for anyone who might be trying to do the same and not knowing where to start!

Which illustrations?

Deciding on the pieces you are going to include is naturally the hardest part. The best piece of advice I have heard about this is: Less is More. And: only put in your strongest pieces. Don't fall for putting something in just because it was published once. That doesn't mean it's your strongest work. It's better to omit weaker pieces than to have a bulging folio filled with mediocre work.
I chose to put in about half published work, half personal work. Often personal work is where are joy, love and passion come out the most anyway.  

Keep it flowing

Once you have made your selections, arranging them in a sequence that flows is paramount. Think of it like laying out a book and you should have no problem!

The Book

Next, it's time to put them all together. Your display book should have a professional look about it. These days I think an A3 size is fairly standard. I also feel that a binder system which lets the pages sit flat is really important. Some of them have a bit in the middle that clasps shut which makes it hard for the folio to sit open, and could even potentially damage the prints. I actually made a dash out this morning to buy a new folio to avoid this problem!
Here is mine:

And here's how my folio looks:
(I have made notes on each image as to some things to think about so if you're interested make sure you scroll through!)

To see my folio I'll have to direct you to the original post at my same-same-but-different-blog at 

I hope this gives you some insight into putting together a successful (I hope!) children's book illustrator's portfolio.
I would also suggest looking at these posts from illustrators who have won, yes WON the international SCBWI folio contest:

Have fun!

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8. Conference countdown...

Well it's T-minus 1 week to the SCBWI conference in Sydney. This time next week I'll be settling into my hotel room ready for the conference to start. This conference takes place every two years and is the only major SCBWI conference in Australia. I have never been before so am very excited to attend!
I'm slowly but surely getting all my goodies ready...
I picked up my updated business cards and new promo postcards recently:
Promo postcard and updated business cards (2-sided) for the conference
Promo postcard and updated business cards (2-sided) for the conference

I'm very happy with how they turned out. I think they are all tying in nicely together, along with my newly redesigned website too. The giraffe is a bit of a mascot for me (as you may have noticed!) and he has always been on my business card. It just so happens that my latest book features a giraffe as well, so she has made in onto my postcard this time.
So this is the baby and toddler... next is... the Mother..... The Portfolio!
How much can one obsess over an inanimate object? A fair bit it turns out.
I decided to squeeze in a new portfolio piece. Since most of my work is sweet, cute and happy, I wanted to do something a bit more moody with some darker emotions. Here is the sketch:
new portfolio piece!
new portfolio piece!
I have just finished it and did another time-lapse of me painting it (woo!) so if I get a chance to edit it together before I go I will post it soon.
Either way I'll be doing another post about this piece and my conference portfolio soon so stay tuned....

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9. Wally the Whale

I missed one Lilla Rogers "Bootcamp" assignment (which I wasn't very excited about anyway) but managed to fit in last month's which was to do some wall art with a nautical theme. I seem to end up doing whales a lot. Whales are good.

I think I'll call him Wally, and he might have to be the first in an animal alphabet series I've always wanted to do...
I went for a stampy effect again, which I coloured in Photoshop, and other stampy and watercoloury background elements. I'm really loving doing this. I also got a copy of Mary Kate McDevitt's Hand-Lettering Ledger and had my first 'real' go at hand-lettering. Really loving this too!

Here are some other recent whales...

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10. Exhibitions on the go....

I've got some prints in a couple of exhibitions coming up...

These four trees are winging their way across the seas to fair Italia, to be part of an exhibition entitled "L'incanto del creato' in Rieti, Italy. I was very touched to be asked to be part of this international exhibition! The exhibition is to mark the 50th anniversary of a temple of St. Francis of Assisi, and the art is in response to the 'Canticle of the Creatures'.

Unfortunately with my current commitments I didn't have time to make new art. But the Canticle talks of seasons, of suns and moons, earth and fire, of sisters and brothers. It's quite beautiful actually, you can read it here. So I thought these pieces I had prepared earlier fit the bill, and work well together:


And then a bit closer to home I am very excited to be part of the 'Lucky 13' exhibition, being held back at the Hill Of Content bookshop in Melbourne. I feel honoured to once again be featured along so many talented contemporary children's book illustrators.

I'll be putting a framed print of the illustration from my latest book up for sale:


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11. MATS Wrap up

Well the flurry that was Make Art That Sells finished a few weeks ago, and here finally is my wrap-up post.

Overall it was a fantastic experience and just looking from the first assignment I submitted in MATS-partA to the last in Part-B I can see how much I have developed, grown and how my eye has improved, especially for things such as patterns which I had never done before.

First assignment - Fabric market (eek!)

One of the areas I feel I grew the most in is the use of colour, especially neutrals, which was stressed a lot in the courses. I think coming from a children's book background I tend to think 'Everything Must Be Bright'! but of course that is not true. In fact having a few neutral colours and just one or two colours that pop give pieces a certain sophistication which I really like.

Ohn's beautiful work and delicate palette

I feel like I put out much better work in MATS-PartB and once I finally get some time, am ready to dive into trying to get more into licensing! I would love to dive into the Paper market most I think - greeting cards, journal covers, stationery, that sort of thing.

Here are the pieces I put forward:

Week 1 - Paper (greeting cards)

Week 2 - Babyware

Week 3 - Scrapbooking

Week 4 - Editorial
Last assignment - Partyware
And 'Bootcamp' continues, which is MATS relaxed - a monthly schedule instead of weekly. I hope I can keep up with it while working on a new book. We will see... Thanks for following along!

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12. Book Launch & Exhibition Opening!

Well it's been a pretty exciting week for me with the book launch of Mummy You're Special To Me as well as the opening of an exhibition featuring the illustrations from the book.

I think I've probably said enough about these events in various places lately so I won't go on too much about them and just let the photos speak for themselves. I will just say they were both lovely events and I was very happy and touched to have so many friends and lovely people come to both... But especially my good friend Jody Pratt, President of Illustrators Australia, who launched the book for me, and my new friend Leith Walton whose amazing work shared the gallery with mine.

Held Sunday May 4th at the Hill Of Content bookshop in Melbourne
see on Facebook

Opening Friday May 9th, runs until June 8th
Hunt Club Gallery, Deer Park
with Leith Walton (woodwork, metalwork & watercolours) & Emilly Milosevska (papercut)
(see more on Facebook)

I love Leith's octopus in the centre and he had a time lapse video of him doing a watercolour painting, on the right

Emilly's paper cuts were fantastic, she had her pieces in the foyer.

nice to see all of my illustrations together!

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Well this is another special Mother's Day for me. Last Mother's Day was my first Mother's Day as a mum, and I was illustrating a book at the time. This year, that book is available, and I am so proud it is out there in the world!

It is such as special book to me as I was working on it during a really lovely time in my little boy's life. I started it when he was 8 months old, so the real difficulties of having a newborn were over, things got a bit easier and more fun. He went through incredible changes in his little life like crawling, turning one, walking and starting to talk! what an amazing time. Truly a time of marvel. I feel like I was able to put a lot of emotion into this book, and it will always remind me of this time in my life.

This is the next to last illustration in the book, and I said to my husband when I finished it that this is my son and I :)

I hope you like it. And as a little treat for following along and reading this post (does anyone read blogs anymore?) here is a bit of downloadable goodness:

mother's day card

colouring-in page

If you are interested in buying the book you can get it here: booktopia or bookworld
(only in Australia, unfortunately. With any luck it will be available in other countries/on Amazon soon....)

So happy mother's day to all the mums out there! I certainly enjoyed my special day :)

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14. One Word One Day

In the middle of all the Make Art That Sells mayhem, I made time to go to the ASA's One Word One Day event, to benefit the indigenous literacy foundation. This is the third year they have run this event and the first time I've been able to make it, so I was determined to go.

Basically illustrators get together for a few hours and illustrate a word. This year was 'Pounce'. You can make as many images as you like, in any medium you like, and there is a plethora of beautiful art supplies supplied by Zart.

For me, it was a time to see some friends, have a bit of fun, and play with some new materials. I think when you are constantly producing art for deadlines, it is difficult to give yourself the time to just play and be free and not worry too much about the outcome.

I was sitting next to Ann James from Books Illustrated who has a very lovely loose way of working and I think this was influencing all of us at the table. I played around with some 'Magiclay' which is like mouldable paper which then dries and you can paint it, plus some collage, feathers, leaves, buttons, watercolours, oil pastels, charcoal, fingerprinting and even mud!

I didnt know where I was going with this when I started, and that was part of the fun. Here's the craziness I ended up with :

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15. Make Art That Sells : Editorial

I'm running a bit behind in my blog posting, so here's a little catch up!

MATS continues and this week it was looking at Editorial Illustration, mostly work for magazines. I have done some editorial work in the past and have to say it isn't my forté. I am not one of those illustrators who comes up with the clever concepts to illustrate difficult topics. But over the course of the week Lilla showed us a lot of her personal work from her many years as an illustrator, and i realised that there is a lot more to editorial than illustrating a headline. (or there was anyway, I'm not sure how healthy the editorial market still is for illustration these days...)

Anyway, I was sort of dreading having to illustrate an article, but was very happy to find our assignment was to illustrate a map!! which I love doing. We were supposed to do a map of our current city/town, but because I already did one of Melbourne for They Draw and Travel (click here to see) I decided to illustrate Montreal instead, my birthplace, and first love :)

I first did a bit of a sketch to figure out which elements I would be including (and also canvassed my Facebook Montreal friends for suggestions, which was very fun and interesting!) I find I can get a bit too detailed with doing maps. I love it, but I'd also like to try doing something a bit freer and more abstract. anyway, here's the sketch.

then I did the background in watercolours.

and added lots of little icons in a few styles:



and stampy...

 and then the lettering.

I put it all together in Photoshop and voila mes amis!

Next week is the last week of the Make Art that Sells class, which is sort of hard to believe! We are focusing on the party paper market (paper plates, cups, wrapping paper, etc)

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16. Make Art That Sells: Scrapbooking

So this 3rd week in the online illustration course I'm doing 'Make Art That Sells' focussed on the Scrapbooking market. I can't say I was terribly excited about this market - even though I often use scrapbooking papers as collage in my work - but in the end I really enjoyed the process of creating this piece and it was one of my better received in the MATS community! So there you go. Open minds, people, open minds...

Our 'mini' assignment this week was to sketch ink bottles, vintage ones to be specific. This was fun. I actually went straight to carving some stamps. I've really enjoyed doing this for previous assignments, love the texture they create and am loving improving my skills with practice. So here is what I did for the 'mini':

Then we got the main assignment which was to create a design for a scrapbooking paper using the theme of 'correspondence', again with a vintage slant. I think the stamps really helped me with that look.

Thinking about how this piece would sit in my portfolio, I decided I wanted to do something that was more of a pattern which could be used in many different markets, as opposed to something suited only to scrapbooking, which might have text like 'my memories' or 'that summer' etc etc.

I went for a 'love letter' correspondence vibe, and when you think looooove, what else do you think but Paris?! So some French crept in there too. I did some more hand-carved stamps, ink work, fun splatters, and some hand-lettering:


I even managed to use a pressed flower I did in university!!

plus a photo I took of the Eiffel tower when I was there a few (ok many) years ago. Here's how it turned out...

As I said, really happy with this one. I even managed to finish early so that I could have the weekend doing easter egg hunts and gardening in the Autumn sunshine. perfect end to the week :)

Next week: Editorial.

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17. Make Art That Sells : Babywear market

This week was all about baby wear - so right up my alley. Cute, fun, whimsical.

Topic: Pirates!!! Lots of fun!

So first I did some sketching and came up with the idea of doing Pirate Pigs! I made it into a bit of a pattern and everything - was all ready to start painting, and then I realised it's not really very 'baby' like. perhaps a bit of an older child with slightly edgier look and swords and everything??

so I quickly had to resketch as the assignment was upon us to do use our sketches to create a pattern for a baby onesie, and went for the all-out-cute factor.

I added in some hand carved stamps (which I am REALLY enjoying doing) and here's how the main pattern turned out:

I made up a placement graphic (a single image that might be used by itself as opposed to a pattern)

 and put it all together with some 'coordinate' patterns. ta dah!!!

and we're already into this week's market: scrapbooking! check back next week for another post.

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18. Make Art That Sells : Paper market

I am back into the swing of Make Art That Sells and already the first week is nearly done! I am very excited about the Paper market which includes greeting cards, journal covers, notepads, etc...

our 'warm-up' exercise was to draw/paint gingerbread houses which were a lot of fun (and somewhat reminiscent of cuckoo clocks!) -- looking at reference, it's amazing the amount of work people put into decorating gingerbread. they are works of art and i don't think i'd want to eat them, they're too beautiful!

then our main assignment was to create a holiday greeting card (i.e.. christmas but non-denominational) at particular dimensions, using gingerbread houses.

here was my process:

for the 'mini' warm-up I sketched here there and everywhere - in a big sketchbook, on the train in my moleskine, and on some craft paper which i quite liked because i could use white for the icing.

Then once we got the main assignment i started doing some compositional sketches. i pretty quickly came up with the idea of gingerBIRD houses which i liked. (But I PROMISE I will not draw birds next week. Can't seem to get away from them!)

At first I had the birdhouses as hanging Xmas bauble-type things

But decided that was trying to combine too many things (gingerbread, birdhouses, bauble) so made them more birdhousey.

Once I had the sketch, the fun part came. This was actually pretty tricky to do traditionally because all the detail for the houses is in white. I decided I wanted to do this in separate layers so I could move things around if I needed. 

So first I did the linework in black, which I later reversed in Photoshop: 
(I was planning on using the smudginess/fingerprints in the background but didn't in the end)

Then came the colour on the craft paper which i liked so much and gave it good 'gingerbreadiness' (wow i'm writing my own dictionary here!)

 I did the birds separately and some black snowflakes to be reversed and used in the background:

as well as some hand-carved stamps of candy canes, stars and circles to be used on the garlands (i changed the colours in Photoshop)

And then I got to assemble it! It all came together pretty easily (for once!) Here was the first try with some text in Photoshop.

not working so well. I decided to change the location of the garland of lights to the bottom of the poles to break them up a bit. I also added some hand-lettered text.

and then submitted! WOHOO! :-)

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19. Let 2014 rock.

Hope your new year will be ROCKIN!

I am very excited about the New Year. 2013 was a very difficult year personally and I am happy to see it finish. I have a few things on the boil for 2014 and am hoping one or more of them will bubble up make some really yummy gnocchi.

A few pots:

My new book will be out in April!

I'm excited to expand on what I learned in the illustration course I did last year and to take Part B in March.

I'll be going to the national Australian SCBWI conference in July (never been before!)

I'm working on a dummy of a my OWN manuscript. (eek!)

I'm having fun doing little guys like Rocky Raccoon here.

Here's hoping 2014 is a wonderful year for us all, with lots of joy, laughter, love and creativity. (and gnocchi!)

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20. White Night Melbourne

Last night, hubby looked after the little one and I was able to head out on the town to experience Melbourne's 2nd annual White Night which ran from 7pm-7am and turned the city into a wonderland of light, fantasy, fun and folly.

here's a little picture show.

Princes Bridge with 'White Night' being spray painted live with different designs

Life drawing marathon at National Gallery of Victoria

'Tattooed City' pictorial projections on NGV

Busker's bike on fire :)

Awesome light projections onto Flinders Street Station and along Swanston St (below)

More fun light shows in the city
I do love Melbourne :-)

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21. Bootcamp: Glutton for punishment

So I decided to keep the momentum going from MATS, and have signed up for Lilla Rogers' Bootcamp. It is the same premise as MATS where we have a 'mini' assignment to warm up and then a 'main assignment' to conquer, but on a more realistic timeframe: monthly instead of weekly.

and we're already off and running with the Week 1 mini: Cuckoo clocks! fun!!!

I would never really have thought about doing a piece of art with cuckoo clocks in it, so it was really fun to browse images of all the crazy clocks out there in the universe. What I really love about them is they seem to tell a little story.. a bit like a photograph-- a moment in time frozen of a maiden milking a cow or a deer in the forest. 

so I did some sketches...

Canadian scene.. back to my heritage
a few wonky sketches on the train.

and decided I like the Red Riding Hood sketch the best. I did it up in a bit more detail and was hoping to add colour but ran out of time.

cuckooo… grandma….??
I'm not sure how these ideas will be used yet but I'm very excited to find out! Our main assignment is revealed tomorrow… wish me luck!

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22. MATS Bootcamp: Main assignment February : Cuckoo clock iPhone cover

Our assignment for this month was to create art for an iPhone cover.

Somehow in converting my sketches from the mini assignment to the iPhone dimensions, it became more about the birds than the cuckoo clocks. I'd still like to take some of the sketches and turn them into something more - patterns maybe? But here's what I submitted to the Bootcamp gallery for February:

You should DEFINITELY go check out the gallery and see what everyone else has come up with… as usual… Blows Me Away! so much talent!!

Here are some of my faves:

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23. Coming soon...

Coming soon to a website near you…

Some major revamping going on behind the scenes at kimflemingillustration.com.

stay tuned-- a few more practice sessions and we'll be ready to rock the house! :-)

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24. Always learning…. MATS Bootcamp : March : Jelly Bolt Fabric Pattern

This month's assignment for MATS Bootcamp was to create a pattern design for the Bolt Fabric market. Topic: Jelly!

I can't say I was super excited by this one. I decided to go for a 70s food theme instead, plus a 70s palette along with it.

here are some sketches….

and here's how it ended up….

Once again I am not terribly happy with this. I have been trying to push myself to work a new way - I've been scanning in my drawings, tracing them in Illustrator and adding colour digitally. But I'm realising that this isn't really what is me. I am keen to use my digital skills but I don't think I am going about it the right way.

and here, I was thinking about what OTHER people might like as opposed to what I would like. 70s palette? so not me. Yes it is good to push yourself and try new things, the trick is remaining true to yourself in the process.

MATS Part B is coming up next month. With a new perspective now, I am going to take it on with the style which I love that I have been cultivating for the last 5-10 years, but freshening it up with some new tips from the course. If I'm going to start doing something in a new style, I want it to come organically, as opposed to forcing myself to do something in a way which doesn't quite feel right, or feel like me.

so, as always…. bring it on….!

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25. Website is live and book is released!

Well it's a pretty exciting day for me as my brand-spanking-new-crying-with-joy-website has finally sprung into the cyberworld, along with the release of my latest book-baby.

Please check out my new website at the same ol good address of


it's got a fresh new look, lots of new work, links, behind the scenes peeks and all sortsa good stuff. I'd love to hear what you think of it, if you'd like to come back here to comment, or on Facebook or twitter.

Along with the new work on the site is my latest picture book through Scholastic Australia: 'Mummy You're Special To Me'

This is indeed a very special book to me because I was working on it while celebrating my first year (and Mother's Day) as a mum. Each page opening is of a different baby animal with their mum. It was really one of those dream-come-true books that came at exactly the right time in my life. I was able to pour so much motherly emotion into it (even on very little sleep sometimes!) and this book will always be dear to my heart.

I'll be having a book launch for it at the Hill of Content Bookshop in Melbourne in May, (curiously, just in time for Mother's Day, imagine that) and then some of the illustrations will be exhibited at the Hunt Club Gallery in Deer Park as well as back at the HoC later in the year. So stay tuned for details on those!

I really hope you like both the website and the book. I've worked hard on both of them. Really I have! It's no joke, even though it's April Fool's Day! (also the day my parents got married. Fitting somehow...)

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