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

Post Event: Illustrating for Young Readers in Franschhoek

Franschhoek LIterary Festival

Goeie Môre Mevrou Julia en Mevrou Celeste”

Before the big book festival in Franschhoek on the weekend, there is a wonderful adventure called the Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF) for Young Readers, where authors are driven around the schools in the area to read their stories to the children.

Bridge House
Bridge House giving me a present for visiting!

I was honoured to be invited by one of my authors, Julia Richman, to join in. Julia and I have done several readings together of her delightful story The Bacon Chase, and so it felt like family as I arrived at the the first school, Bridge House, with Julia and her characters, Kayta Cat, Freddie the Seagull, Auntie Bea, Princess  Flowers and Chubbs (the chubby hotel cat).

Julia started reading to the grade one class, as I whipped out my Sharpie pen and started illustrating Katya, Auntie Bea and Chubbs on paper for them.

The children were giving opportunity to ask questions and I was overwhelmed with, not only the deep profound perspective of the questions, but also the detail. They had really absorbed every little bit of what Julia had read.

“But why does Chubbs steal?” they asked, and “How did Katya get her magical tail?” Read more

Post-Event: Book Dash Celebrates 2nd Birthday

Book Dash Birthday

“Isn’t it nice to be with people who understand this kind of geeky talk!”

I was honoured to be invited to the second birthday of Book Dash. It was held at the Kalk Bay book store, which is a beautiful quaint shop by the ocean, filled with that wonderful smell of books, nostalgia and salty air. My first encounter as I walked in, was a table filled with past Book Dash printed books. These gorgeous little square books were full of colour and magical stories about children, animals and their adventures.

"Bathtub Safari" one of Book Dash's books that I picked up.
“Bathtub Safari” one of Book Dash’s books that I picked up.

Soon, I heard the familiar sound of my own name from Julia Norrish, the organiser, who exclaimed that she didn’t realise I was so tall from my photo. But soon we were ushered to the comfortable couches where Athur Attwell, the founder, started his speech. After all the acknowledgements of authors, copywriters, supporters and supporters in the room, he informed us that while we were all there sipping our juice, wine and champagne, 15 stories where currently being printed in 11 different languages, to create 48 000 books.

And that was just the beginning! They are hoping to distribute into other parts of Africa, as well as into the digital realm, by partnering up with an eBook distributor.

He also announced that in the beginning they only had two stories.  The first one was printed within a month and the second one was only finished a few weeks ago. Julia then announced that ‘Celeste is here!’ Apparently the story I took over from my illustrator friend (I won’t mention his name) in February had been sitting on the his table for two years! I quickly corrected everyone and said that it wasn’t my fault – I had only gotten it this year. I had no idea that Penguin Palace by Helen Brain had such a great back story.

Arthur started telling us all about the feedback they had gotten from the schools and I felt really humbled by the stories from children and teachers who were so grateful for the books. Made me feel really proud that I had contributed (in a small way) to this magical literary fairy tale. Read more

Commissioned Painting for TEARS Animal Rescue

Tears Painting

Giving something back, to the awesome team at TEARS

I agreed with joy when Michelle, from TEARS Animal Rescue contacted me to ask if I could create a painting for their new Visitors Center. The very next day I drove over Ou Kaaps se Weg to inspect the new room and do my measurements. By the afternoon, I was at Builders Warehouse asking for them to cut me a board. The outlines where done by evening.

Left to Right: Myself, Dawson the dog and Michelle
Left to Right: Myself, Dawson the dog and Michelle

Michelle asked if I could complete the painting within a week, as they were having their first group of visitors on the 1st of April. As any artist will tell you, a tight deadline puts a little pressure on you. Not to mention, that I haven’t actually painted a proper painting in years. I have painted things, like my beastie pots. I have also painted illustrations, for books, but I haven’t painted a board, to be hanged up, for strangers to see. It is a different type of mind-set, also a completely different type of style. Read more