Letting Go and Writing What You are Comfortable With

Illustrator South Africa

Somewhere between being a child and an adult my writing got stifled. I don’t know whether it was all those articles I had to produce for clients, amazing books I read by other people or finding out that other writers always have these epic, deep, character building, thoughts and I just had a few mushrooms and bug-spray, but somewhere, some time, at some point, things took a wrong turn. I keep looking at books that have whole worlds created by authors and thought ‘I can do that.’ I looked at stories with epic endings and thought ‘I can write that.’ I looked at characters that blossomed and changed and thought ‘I have that.’ And it was true, I did have it. But I never finished it. I wrote out story plots with twists and turns, worlds with pink candy floss for trees and orange bumble bees. I even tried my hand at limericks and prose. But did I finish it? Nope.

Well that’s not entirely true, I did finish one here, another there. I then got excited that I had finally completed it and would email it off to publishers. Slowly over months I would get emails dribbling in sort of saying it needs more work. By this stage I wasn’t interested in it any more. The truth was, these stories were not my favourite. Within a month of completing the few I did, I realised I didn’t actually like them much myself. Sure there was a paragraph here, and a chapter there that brought me joy, but the story line just didn’t feel right. Read more

SCBWI – South Africa – becoming a member

scbwi SA

I was recently asked by the SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators) to come on board and assist with their website content – content management if you like. For those of you who know me, this kind of thing comes naturally and I was delighted to be involved. I am pleased to announce that in a wonderful partnership with Elaine Ridge, Marjorie van Heerden and Samantha van Riet, the South African SCBWI blog is now beginning to take shape.  In return for my assistance, I was to be a member of their team.

Now I should say, that I have been stalking this group of people for over a year now. In fact, I was there, hanging out, chatting to them, going to events, well before I was even a published illustrator! I had gone to a book launch to meet an international illustration, Jane Heinrichs, who you might have remembered I interviewed that one time.

I had ‘met’ Jane via social media and found out that she was launching a book she was illustrating, with a Cape Town writer (Jane normally lives in the UK), so I went through. It was a little bit of a disaster, as the publisher seemed to have forgotten about it and the venue also were very confused, but in the end the author and Jane still managed to sign a few books, although mostly because of people they had personally invited. It all felt a bit like a flash-mob book launch! Read more

Paint and Sip Review

Paint and Sip

Last week I attended Paint and Sip – an event based in town, where you ‘uncork your creavitiy’ with a local artist, raise money for an NPO, and get a meal (including glass of wine) thrown in. Sounds amazing right?

In fact, it sounded very similar to my Creative Workshop, except for the wine part (and I serve cake, not supper and there is no charity). So I thought it would be a good idea to go and see what they were doing to maybe get inspired for my own workshops, maybe do something like this next year with my ‘creatives’ attendees. I am sure they wouldn’t complain if I replaced their tea with a glass of wine.

My blue-haired friend Tessa came with me to the event. She was a fantastic distraction for all that sat near us, so I could assess everything secretly. The artist that was to be starring at this month’s Paint and Sip was local artist Laura Wenman, who I must say was a delight. She was filled with humour, joy and I just loved her.

The venue on the other hand, I didn’t love so much. Before I tell you all about the good things, I think it best we get the ‘pink elephant’ out the room (why must the elephant always be white?) and tell you that the venue was actually terrible. You enter this weird space that is sort of a bar, but a craft market, with a hotel reception desk. Weird, right? Welcome to 91 Loop street. Read more

Writing Children’s Picture Books

A One day interactive course with children’s author, Alan Durant, on Monday – 12 September 2016 from 10am – 15.30pm

00 Alan

Location: Sasnev (huis der Nederland), 4 Central Avenue, Pinelands, Cape Town.
Cost: R750 – includes a light lunch.
Bookings: alandurant58@gmail.com

Whether you want to write for you own children or relatives, or for publication, this one-day workshop class with award-winning UK author Alan Durant will reveal some of the key tehniques and considerations of writing picture books for young children. Fun, practical and informative, this class will provide plenty of opportunities for writing and is suitable for writers of all levels – and also illustrators keen to learn how to tell their stories through words. Read more

Santa Shoe Box Pledge

Santa Shoe Box Pledge

To date the Santa Shoebox Project has distributed 551 979 shoeboxes throughout South Africa and Namibia.

Something a little off the topic of illustrating, drawing and getting creative – I thought I would dedicate a post to the Santa Shoe Box Project. I am a huge fan of this initiative and thought to let you know about it. It is a simple idea of everyone pledging to make a shoebox present for under-privileged kids all over South Africa. You can pledge to any one of the thousands of children on their website, and then go about packing together a box for them. Read more

First Year in Illustrating

Racoon Illustration

It is September.

September is a big month for me. It is my husband’s birthday and our eight year anniversary (has it really been that long?), but it is also the time for peer reviews for Christmas bonuses and round about the time I got my car insurance money pay out last year. Therefore, it was roughly a year ago, that I typed up my resignation letter and started the count down, as I had accumulated enough cash to survive for eight months.

Eight months came and went and it is with great joy that I am still here, self-employed. It actually took me just over 6 months to start covering myself (if people are saving for the same journey). Soon I hope to exceed the ‘just covering’ and go into ‘look at me, I’m fabulous!” Read more