Nixie is my youngest of five. She has three dads, in the form of cats, and one mom, in the form of Brownie, my highly intelligent street special dog, who has a lot of German Shepard in her. Nixie, according to the vet, has whippet. A breed usually known to be timid, shy, and have their tails in between their legs a lot when in public spaces. Nixie is none of these things.
To give you an idea of her personality, we left her inside (when I went to yoga class, or nipped out an hour or so). At first it was fine. Then she started chewing on things from the bin. But for weeks it was never anything that couldn’t be fixed, or moved before leaving. Until we came home and open the door to an artistic madness. She had found a brown bag, containing a few oil paints from Deckle Edge. Out of the three primary colours, she had decided that the red was her favorite. She promptly chewed the tube, digesting half the paint, smearing pinky red paint all over her face, paws and carpet. She also chewed the oil paper. It took my husband and I an hour to remove the oil paint from the carpet with turpentine. She, on the other had, had no issues at all from eating the paint. Read more
Author, Julia Richman, and I did a reading last weekend at The Deer Little Market, for Katya Cat: The Bacon Chase
There was a certain familiarity when I walked into Deer Park, with a board under my arm, an envelope with colouring-in characters, a sharpie pen, some pastels and what I call my ‘cheat note’ illustrations. After we had located a take-away coffee stall, we started wandering down, following signs saying ‘reading for kids here.’ Under a large pine-tree, we found some blankets that had been rolled out in anticipation of our arrival. I whats-app’d Julia Richman, the author of Katya Cat – The Bacon Chase, to find out where she was. Read more
Sowls are small mischievous spirits. They like to frolic, so don’t forget to feed them sweets, and they will become your best friends!
Celeste: Hi Santani! Thank you for taking time out to chat to us today about your amazing creatures. Can you tell the readers a little about yourself – where are you based, how did it all start?
Santani: Hello! Thank you for the interest and kind words. I am sorry for my bad English, but I will try. I live and work in Moscow, Russia. I started making dolls when I was 15. Since then I’ve never stopped making them till now, so about 10 years. At first I made small full-plastic figures of animals and fantasy creatures like dragons and etc. After 2 years I started to make dolls combining faux fur and clay parts.
Celeste: The combination of sculpting and sewing is an unusual hobby mix – do you sew the dolls and how long did it take you to work it all out?Read more
The number one advice to writers and illustrators is to read and observe other children books. Here are some books that I’ve read this month, to emerge myself in the world of imagination and to learn from others*.
*Note: these are my own personal reviews and suggestions for those looking for books to read. You may have different opinions and tastes.
Title: The Grunts in Trouble
Author: Philip Ardagh Illustrator: Axel Scheffler Publisher: Nosy Crow – 2012 ISBN: 978 0 85763 069 8 To buy: Readers Warehouse (South Africa), Amazon (International)
Review: If you are looking for humour, you’ve found it. Philip Ardagh writing is ridiculous, laugh-out-loud, entertainment. The author’s imagination is something fierce. It is also something, that I think, ever child would enjoy. From telling the reader to keep bits of notes under their beard (if you don’t have a beard, you could ask for one for your next birthday), to keeping stuffed cats as doorstops, Ardagh had me laughing throughout the book.
The story folllow’s the Grunt’s adopted child (they pulled him off a washing line), Sunny, and in this book, they go on an adventure to fetch Fingers, an elephant. They also meet amusing characters, such as Larry Smalls, Lord Bigg and Mimi, who is the bootboy, who is actually a girl.
Axel Scheffler’s drawings are scattered throughout the book – depicting expressions as exquisitely as Scheffler does. Lovely scratchy style, which compliments the humour in the book. Read more
There is so much going on right now, I thought it would be a good idea to do a blog post on some of the projects I am working on. At a later point, I’ll do another one with updates, so that you can all join in on the progress. Don’t forget to book for the Creative Workshop in April. Also I’ll be making an appearance at The Deer Little Market (details below).
1. Katya Cat at The Deer Little Market – 20th of March 2016
Author, Julia Richman, of Katya Cat – The Bacon Chase, and I will be reading and illustrating at The Deer Little Market on Sunday the 20th March, at 2 Deer Park Drive, adjacent to Deerpark Cafe, Vredehoek, Cape Town. The market is open at 9am to 1pm. I will have to get back to you when Julia and I are presenting. There will be stalls and entertainment for little ones, as well as a magic show later in the day, so make a note in your calendar. Julia will be reading a few chapters while I illustrate the characters and we shall be handing out simple drawings for all little ones to colour in as well. There will be copies of Katya Cat for sale. Read more
Celeste: Welcome Mike, to my blog! Before we get started, can you tell my readers a little about yourself?
Mike: Thanks Celeste. I appreciate the invite and opportunity. I live in the beautiful countryside just outside Edmonton, Alberta, where I’ve lived most my life enjoying comics, cartoons, sports, and ice cream. I also love creating stories and drawing and have been doing so for as long as I can remember. Professionally, I’ve been working in as an illustrator for over 16 years working almost exclusively on products for children.
Celeste: You style varies a lot, from realist to very stylised work. Can you tell us what your favourite project has been so far?
Mike: I have a couple favorites. Recently, it would be the I Don’t Want to be a Frog book, by Dev Petty, as well as my next book, A Tiger Tail. Both those books were such a natural delight to work on – which also helps having an incredible editing team that I really connected with. I should add that when I have time for it, I love doing personal doodles. I should really try to make more time for those.
Celeste: Not only are you a creative illustrator, but you’ve also been published as an author. How does it feel to be on the ‘other side’ as a writer?
Mike: It’s a very different approach to a project for sure. Drawing comes very naturally for me, where writing does not. When I get a manuscript that someone else has written, most of the hardest work has been done. As an illustrator, I get a lot of ideas and concepts I’d like to do or write. But an idea or simple concept is nowhere near a finished story. Writing a great story is the most difficult thing I have come up against, but something I also enjoy immensely. Read more