Sketches

I used to (and sometimes still do) illustrate children’s books. Now I mostly just illustrate characters.

Currently this website is under construction, but once I’ve built the foundation, I’ll tell you a little more about this.

Back to Basics with Your Online Portfolio

Before you rush to social media, or create business cards, you first need a home base. Somewhere to channel everyone to go to and see your work. I’m not going to go into too much details about websites and designs, but I do want to just raise a few points for you to keep in your mind while you go through this process. Continue Reading

Being Focused and New Products!

Last year I tried a lot of things. I launched products, checked out craft markets and tried to find my niche in the world of freelancing. I also did a yoga teacher training course that ended with me at a fire ceremony, with turmeric on my forehead, coughing from the smoke created by everyone throwing strange looking spices into a pot of fire (yes – you read right- a pot with a fire in it) surrounded by palm leaves, multiple fire-hazards and a circle of people chanting endless Sanskrit. This was supposed to be meditative and calming exercise. Maybe it was calming. I don’t know. It was a little hard to tell, as before this whole thing had began, I had various ‘yoga people’ complaining for about an hour on politics, traffic, global warming and the best place to get lye for their home-made laundry detergent.

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Self Publishing

Pink Camels and Floating GranniesI recently decided to self-publish my first book (very excited! You can see my first book here). I asked an editor friend of mine to assist me with my spelling errors and set about creating illustrations. I then started doing some research into my self-publishing options.

I have assisted a number of other self-published authors and having worked in publishing myself for 10 years, I had a good idea of what my options where. Since I already had the editing sorted, I could do my own illustrations, and typesetting a book is something I have done a million times, my only real need was to find a printing and distribution facility.

I found everything I needed, but on the the way I stumbled over self-publishing options and I was horrified.

I knew a lot of publishing houses were offering and suggesting places for self-publishers, but I had never read the fine print or looked at the cost. I discovered that almost all of them were (as far as I was concerned, knowing the rates of the industry) overcharging. Not to mention also charging for things they shouldn’t, for example ISBN’s. This is a free service the South African National Library offers. All you have to do is email them with a few details and then they email back, yet a lot of these packages were wanting to charge authors a few hundred rand for this.

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Interview: Author Julia Richman

Julia Richman Interview

I chatted to Jules Richman about writing, her books and future projects. I have had the honour of illustrating two of Julia’s enchanting books and look forward to creating future stories with her.

Celeste: Hello Jules! Congratulations on your latest book ‘A Huddle of Hippos.’ Before we chat about it, can you just tell us a little about yourself?

Jules: Thank you, Celeste! And thank you again for your fantastic illustrations – collective nouns have never been so exciting, vibrant and fun!

I’m Jules Richman. I live in the glorious Mother City (Cape Town) with my husband –  Tim, son – Nicholas, and cat – Katya. Nicholas is 18 months old and loves exploring and being outdoors, so I spend most of my time these days running after him making sure he doesn’t swallow a stone or pull out my pansies…

I love writing colourful stories for children and I also love art, interior design, flowers, food and wine! I am an animal lover and a sensitive soul, in search of kind, caring hearts.

Celeste: Your first book, Katya’s Hairy Tales: The Bacon Chase was published last year. What lead you to try out for children stories? Continue Reading

Interview: Heather Davidson on Self-Publishing

Heather Davidson

I chatted with Heather Davidson, self-publisher of Choo Choo Park. I was so impressed with Heather with what she has managed to accomplish with her children’s book, that I thought it would be great to interview her to pass on knowledge to other self-publishers out there.

Celeste: Hi Heather! Thanks so much for chatting with me today. First of all, congratulations for being an author! Can you tell us a little bit about when you had this idea about writing children’s stories and what inspired you that this was it?

Heather: Hi Celeste, thank you so much for this opportunity to talk about my book. I have always loved reading and writing. I started writing stories for my son, James, when he was about 3 (he’s now 21), he loved them and used to take them to school for his teacher to read. I didn’t have the confidence to try and do anything further with them at that stage of my life. About two years ago now I decided that I wanted to make writing a priority in my life and I happened to come across The Choo Choo Park which I’d written when James attended the Choo Choo Park Playschool. I still loved the story and decided to try and get it published.

Celeste: You decided to self-publish your first book. What kind of research did you do into this before you started? Did you do any courses, or chat to other self-publishers? Did you try publishing your book through regular publishers?

Heather: I did submit The Choo Choo Park to two south African publishers but it wasn’t what they were looking for so I decided to go the self-publishing route. I had heard a lot about self-publishing in writing circles and enrolled for a correspondence course on Self Publishing. I then met Katherine Graham at the Society for Children’s Bookwriters and Illustrators (SCBWI) meetings and she had successfully self-published a number of books. I had many discussions with her and she gave me very valuable advice. I also attended a half-day Self Publishing workshop that she presents. Continue Reading

Little Santa Helpers

Inspired ThingsFor those of you who follow me on social media, you might know that last weekend I was holding a table (well, half a table) at the Thriving Sustainable Craft Market, in Wynberg. Next weekend, Michelle and I will be doing another market, this time in Hout Bay. I got into the Christmas spirit somewhere between then and now and decided to create some happy elves to sell.

These elves were inspired by the little Santa Helpers in the movie ‘Rise of the Guardians.’ They have individually crafted faces and ears, from clay, come in green and red, sport a little bling bling belt and have a bell on top. Oh, and don’t forget their little details on their shoes! In the video below you can see me crafted one of the faces and then the end shot is my prototype that I made. It’s going to be a very, very busy week!

The craft market we will be at is the Green Faerie Market, Sunday 6 November 2016, 10am to 5pm at Kronendal Primary School.

I will be making about 15 – 20 elves for the fair (will see how it goes!). If you can’t make the fair and would like to have one of the elves, please feel free to contact me. I’ll be selling them for R100 each.

I have also started a page on facebook for my arts and crafts items, called ‘Inspired Things.’ If you would like to be informed via the social media platform of all my bits-and-bobs, then please go and like the page to stay updated. Continue Reading