29th October – Thriving Sustainable Market

Arts and Crafts South Africa

On the 29th of October, I’ll be hosting a stall, along with author, writer and cat-lover Michelle Ainslie, at the Thriving Sustainable Community Market (it’s a mouthful, I know), at the Novalis Ubuntu Institute in Wynberg. Michelle will be selling second hand books from her personal collection, along with amazing ‘blind-date’ books – these are books wrapped in brown paper with a simple keyword on them. You buy them without knowing what they are, until you get home!

Art South AfricaI will be selling a collection of book-related crafts, from bookmarks, to large candles (it’s all about ‘reading’ ambiance), amongst other things. As the craft market is all about Sustainable Living, which means everything is second hand, organic, natural and home-made, I can inform you that all the bits and bobs on sale at our stall will be 99% made-up of bits and bobs in my home (with the exception of thread, that I needed to get from the beads shop), mostly left over items from my Creative Workshop I run, along with left overs from personal projects. I have even utilised space on the side of my children book illustrations I am currently working on, to make original illustrated bookmarks. Read more

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

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

Illustration/Art info for Southern Suburbs, Cape Town

Art Supplies in Southern Suburbs Cape Town

I thought it would be a good idea to put a post together for all of those in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa, about a few places of interest regarding Art and Illustrations. These are just a few places around where I live in Tokai, extending out to Constantia, Plumstead, and Steenberg. If you have any other places that you go to and can recommend, then drop me a comment. Note – details here were correct at time of posting.

For Art Supplies

Of course, we all know about Deckle Edge in Constantia, which is probably the best place to go for quality, but I thought I would mention a few other sneaky places that I wander to, for a bit of variety. Or when, quite frankly, I’m too lazy to change from my paint-covered apron to something more ‘Constantia appropriate’. Read more

Katya Cat Events

Reading of KatyaJulia and I have been asked to do a reading at Kirstenbosch Gardens for the Kirstenbosch Winter Wonderland on the 7th of July, 2016.

Authors are given the opportunity to talk about their book or read their books and it is sometimes followed by a related activity.  It’s a free programme for young kids (and sometimes their older siblings) who are accompanied by their parents.

As we have an hour slot, Julia and I will be doing a few things extra, outside our usual ‘read and illustrate’ routine. We will have colouring in pages of the characters for th kids, and I will also be showing the audience how to do a drawing of Katya.

The venue is at Kirstenbosch’s book shop (located in the Visitors’ Centre – Gate 1) and we have been booked for 10am to 11am.

You can find out more about all the activities that will be happening at the Winter Wonderland on their programme (PDF)

We are also going to be involved with Readathon at Hershel School on the 21st of July for three sessions. If your child goes to Hershel, make sure you give her cash to purchase a book.

I look forward to seeing you all there! Read more

Book for Illustrators: The Animators Survival Kit

book reviews for illustrators and writers

Author: Richard Williams
ISBN: 978 0 571 23834 7

As most illustrators, I am always on the look out for books that will show me something new and thought it would be a good idea to share my findings and my top books. Please feel free to make your own suggestions and share in the comments.

The Animator's Survival KitThe Animators Survival Kit is targeted at animators, hoping to learn a thing or two from the ‘greats’ about space, anatomy, and weight (to name a few). But I found this to be one of the most usual reference books for illustrators as well. Animators have to know from frame to frame, but as illustrators we always have to capture the moment of action. We have to enhance the drawing and bring with it the full potential, as, unlike animators who have endless frames to show movement, we only have one.

What illustrators also tend to do is stick to a ‘formula’ where once we have mastered a look, we stick to it. For example, when drawing a person running, we might stick to the classic, one leg stretched out, the other bend, one arm forward, the other behind. But that is not the only post in running. What about the body shape of the person? Are they a large person, or a skinny person? What happens to the large person’s belly when they run? Does it not move? Where is the weight? What happens to the skinny person’s back? Are they leaning forward? Does their neck extend? Read more

Post Reading – The Deer Little Market

Reading of Katya

Author, Julia Richman, and I did a reading last weekend at The Deer Little Market, for Katya Cat: The Bacon Chase

Julia and Celeste
Julia and Celeste

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

Interview with the Book Dash Team

Book Dash Interview

Book Dash is an organisation that is committed to getting storytellers, illustrators and creative professionals together in one space, on one day, to create copyright-free books for South African children.

These books are then printed and donated freely to ECD centres, literary organizations , homes and libraries across the country. I had the privilege of interviewing the team this week.
Read more