Monday, September 22, 2014

Blog Hop Around the World

My wonderfully talented friend Kim Fleming has invited me to participate in The Blog Hop Around the World. Kim is a seasoned children’s book illustrator. Her latest book is about to be translated into French and is due to be released in Canada next year!


Kim’s contribution to the blog hop can be seen here, where you can enjoy a browse through her wonderful new website and trek back through the wealth of talented artists who have participated in this Blog Hop.

Here's a few more of my favourite Kim Fleming illustrations:




Ok, now for the blog hop.

Just as a quick introduction, my Name is Danielle McDonald and I live in rural NSW, Australia. After many years working as a product designer in Melbourne, I am now at home on the farm with my two lovely little girls, and my gorgeous husband, where I create illustrations for children’s books.


1. Why do I do what I do?
Passion. I don’t feel like I have a choice! It’s such a fundamental part of who I am….PLUS, it’s so much FUN! I would be creating, drawing and making even if it did not bring me any income. However, I have always believed in pursuing your dreams, so I have worked very hard to make sure that I am working in a career that I love.   



2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This one is probably the toughest question for me to answer. I am not sure. I like to think it’s my quirky characters and my sense of colour, but I will let you be the judge of this one!




3. How does my creative process work?
This depends on the project of course! But generally I sketch lots of ideas, scan them into the computer and trace them off for finished artwork.


   


Sometimes I hand paint line work and colour everything up on the computer.



If I am working on childrens book artwork I tend to imagine the scene animated and then try to pick the best single frame/pose to capture and express that moment (yes, I DID used to want to be an animator!)



4. What am I working on now?
I have multiple projects on the go:



I am up to book number 14 in this lovely series called Ella and Olivia. It’s a gorgeous series of chapter books aimed at the 5-7yr old market, about two young sisters and their fun antics. I was lucky enough to design the logo, and the cover art (to establish the look and feel of the series,) and now I continue to create all of the full colour cover artwork, and the black and white line art for all of the internal illustrations.




I also have a TOP SECRET new chapter book series on the go that is due for release in January next year (2015). Here is the latest manuscript that I am about to start work on….it’s a long one!!



Another ongoing project for me has been this series of Readers created by Maureen Pollard from LittleLearners Love Literacy. Maureen is a passionate and highly experienced educator whose dedication to improving Literacy levels has inspired the development of her own reading program. Check out the website here for full details.


I also have a couple of other freelance projects on the go, but I can’t really share the details here.


So enough about me. I am delighted to hand you over to the wonderfully talented Christine Witte, who will continue this global blog hop through her beautiful blog here.


I first encountered Christine in Lilla Rogers MATSA course last year. Her style is so distinctive and unique and I am sure that many of you are already familiar with her work - especially if you are Spoonflower fans. 




Christine has a wealth of stunning products available from her Society 6 shop, and her Spoonflower shop, so be sure to head over there and have a look.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Some serious Talent!

We have been in our “new” house for two years now and still we having nothing hanging on our walls! I am sick of looking at these blank spaces so I finally got organised and ordered some artwork from some of my favourite illustrators to grace our walls.

So look what just arrived in the mail! Some of you may recognise a certain artists style….


I am sure many of you are familiar with the work of HelenDardik. I have been Pinning her work for a long time and dreaming of owning some of her artwork. She is, OF COURSE, already represented by Lilla Rogers, but she was also kind enough to share an insight into her life in a video interview as part of the Lilla Rogers course. Of all the interviews that were shared this one really stayed with me.

The main thing that resonated with me was the fact that despite a heavy work load she always has several “personal” projects on the go too – just for her own sanity! Most of her ‘paid’ work is created as vector/computer generated artwork (to make it easier when changes or adjustments are needed,) and her personal work is usually hand painted. I am so keen to make some time to get back to some hand painting, and this interview really inspired me.


Soooo… I was lucky enough to find one of Helen’s  hand painted, original pieces in her Etsy Store (lots more there to pick from so check it out if you can) and I am so delighted it’s arrived. I am too scared to take the plastic off it yet, but there is something about an original artwork that you just can’t capture in a print.



Having said that, I also ordered a gigantic print ( 70cm x 100cm) of one of my favourite illustrators that I met through Lilla’s course. This is a piece by the wonderful Rebecca Jones. I became a fan of her work instantly, and the piece I ordered is from her Society 6 shop. I have never ordered anything through this website, but was delighted with the quality of such a large print. Of course it was a challenge to find a frame large enough to display it, but it was a great excuse to make a special trip to IKEA!!


I am also waiting on a print by the talented Jo Chambers which should arrive in the coming weeks. Here’s a peek at the one I ordered!



I still have a few more walls to decorate, but this gets the ball rolling.

I promise to share a pic of the finished wall when I can actually get them all up together!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Latest Book



My Advance Copy of the latest Ella And Olivia has arrived! It's a Christmas one. This one is such a fun story and is full of lovely little detailed Christmassy illustrations! Due for release in October so keep an eye out in stores! Yippee!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Updates


Exciting news! The contract for my BRAND NEW (Top Secret Project) has been extended to include even more books in the series (and the first book has not even been printed yet!!) This is so exciting as it's already created such a buzz with everyone involved in it. It's been a massive amount of work to get the logo, cover and series 'look' finalised, but it was soooo worth the effort. I can't wait to share it with you.....NEXT YEAR!!


I am also working my way through the next batch of Little Learners Readers...just one more to go.


...and I am still buying fabric and dreaming of having time to make something with it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MY SUBMISSION: LILLA ROGERS GLOBAL TALENT SEARCH 2014


Here is my final submission. The Top 50 Finalists have just been announced here. There is some stunning work there, so go check it out when you can. I missed the cut but am so happy with my piece - I guess that's all you can ask for really! Good Luck to all of the finalists! Can't wait to see what they produce for the next submission!

Monday, August 25, 2014

LILLA ROGERS GLOBAL TALENT SEARCH 2014

Despite a ridiculously heavy workload, I could not resist participating in the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search - especially after I read the brief:

Create a piece of wall art based on LITTLE TERRARIUMS!






Lilla has a way of presenting a brief that just seems to generate a flood of ideas. I had so much fun just playing....









We have been advised to wait until the Top 50 finalists are announce on the 26th of August to reveal our final submissions so drop by in a couple of days to see what I submitted. All 999 entries will also be available to view in Lilla's online gallery, so no doubt there will be quite a buzz about it all in the next few days!

Here's a reject from my colour ups....just to tease you with!



Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was my daughters' a few days earlier!




I was spoiled with some lovely gifts from my favourite local shop (Your Home Matters in Goulburn.)


We then trekked into Canberra for the day, where we saw this wonderful Bob Graham Exhibition.


 He is an Australian Illustrator with an incredible body of work. There were so many pieces I would love to have bought....the artwork from this book would have to be my favourite!

 


It reminded my how wonderful it is to see original artworks. I sometimes think that all of this computer generated artwork loses something of it's charm somewhere along the way. All the more motivation for me to try to get back to some traditional media again.


Below is a little mock up of his studio set up. I felt like sitting down and playing with all of the materials.


 We lunched at Wagamama....


....followed by treats at Koko Black.......




What a fun day out!