Wednesday, December 31, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER



Congratualtions to our fabulous friends Bridget and Marty on the birth of their beautiful baby boy! We can't wait to meet him. What a way to welcome in the New Year! Best wishes to everyone on this New Years Eve and may all your dreams come true in 2009!

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

IF: CLANDESTINE


Am I the only one who had to look up the meaning of this weeks topic?! Anyway - here is my interpretation based on the dictionary meaning "planned or done in secrecy".

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Monday, December 8, 2008

IN THE SWING OF THINGS


Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on my last post! It's nice to feel like part of the wider blogging community! I just can't seem to stay away.

Perhaps as a result of this, I have had a pretty dynamic week with one of those rare moments of pure inspiration taking over me! You just never know when they are going to hit you, but once I started I could not stop!

Following my return from the China trip, my mind has been ticking over with new ideas, and I finally sat down and put them to paper! It was such a frenzied flow of ideas, that I was up at 6am the next morning madly scribbling in my sketch book, and just kept going and going! I even ignored the need to head into the office to work, and stayed at home working in "the zone"! (Thanks to a very understanding boss!) I just love when you get into that mind set. It's totally unrestricted and you just seem to remain open to anything!

Fortunately there appears to be some actual potential in some of these ideas, and I just can't wait to get them into the development stages! Here's to an inspiring week for everyone!!!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

To blog or not to blog


During my recent travels it occurred to me just how time consuming blogging can be. Of course we all love it, or we wouldn't do it, but I'd have to admit that even though I thought about trying to write something during this busy time, it was actually nice to have a break from it! I did not even visit any of the regular blogs that I read and draw inspiration from.

I'd even have to admit that for a split second I toyed with the idea of just not getting back into the loop, but over the last couple of days I have been checking back in and catching up on my blog reading, and who am I kidding?!!! I AM HOOKED! So many clever, talented and INSPIRING people out there that I just can't stay away.

I do feel that I have not given as much time to this blog as I had intended this year, so next year I plan to get back on track with things.

Anyway - thanks for visiting and sticking by me during such inconsistent postings!
...Oh and happy festive season!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ALL IN ONLY FOUR WEEKS!

YES I am back safe and well! What a crazy few weeks have passed me by. Too much to write about, so I have decided on a visual summary! (Please forgive some of the poor quality photos!)

VISITED:
HONG KONG...

CHINA...

QUEENSLAND GOLD COAST...

VICTORIAN COASTAL TOWN ANGLESEA....


LOST 2 KILOS:


Yes, I do mean in weight and I DO mean the hard way! I assume it was something I ate in China, but was sick for quite a few days!

BOUGHT:
Some cool t-shirts in Byron Bay during our Gold Coast visit! (Australian label "Just add Sugar".)



Technically we bought this huge cupboard before my trip, but it was delivered while I was away. We love it!


CELEBRITY MOMENT:

Click on this link for the final reveal of the "other" book series that I have been working on for the last year or so. (I hope I don't sound too stupid in this!)

I also received my first EVER royalty cheque! It's from the "I'm Glad" series I illustrated with another publisher.What a buzz!

READING:
I've never really seen myself as a magazine reader, as I struggle to find ones that interest me. This mix seems to be working for my right now!



WATCHING:
You realise that anything really is possible when you watch this stunning movie!


FACING MY FEARS:


No these are not reminders to attend some fabulous parties, but multiple dental visits! A couple more to go and I can stop the worrying!

Well, that's all the excuses I can think of right now for why I have not blogged for a while!

My "Inspiration Monday" collection is overloaded with things to share, so I will try to find time to share them as I have been promising this for some time now!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

OFF ADVENTURING!


Sorry it's been so long between posts! Time just gets away! I've had a busy couple of weeks as I am off to China tomorrow for a couple of weeks - courtesy of my "real job"! I am really exicted about it (apart from having to leave my gorgeous husband behind!). I hope I can share a few pics with you, but will see how I go for time. It's a pretty full itinerary!

While China is not exactly a "Jungle Adventure" I thought I'd leave you with an illustration I did for a baby range earlier in the year! Back soon! x

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

ILLUSTRATION FRIDAY: SUGARY


I know it's been a while since I participated in Illustration Friday, but this topic caught my interest so I thought I'd give it a go. I have quite a sweet tooth and love the thought of such a large lollipop! Imagine licking a lollipop big enough to hug!


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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Too young to be 100!

I have just discovered that this is my 100th post! I know I'm supposed to make some sort of fuss about this and get all reflective, but I've too much news - maybe next time! First of all, I have received my copies of my latest books in the "I'm Glad" series. It's still in that "Sneak Peak" category at the moment, but I will reveal more once they are released.(Sorry about the blurred image but I am too lazy to re-shoot it!)




I have also just completed some brand new characters for "the other" series that I work on! Normally I work with existing characters from this well established series, but this was my first opportunity to create some brand new characters for them. It was pretty exciting as these type of characters are quite new for the series. It's probably about time I revealed this series so maybe once this book comes out I share them with you. They are also featuring me on their website next month, so will tell more then.

These great magazines arrived in the mail this week (thanks to the magic of PayPal play money!)I ordered them online after learning that one of my favourite illustrators Linzie Hunter was featured in the current edition.


It's proven to be a great read, and I have since spotted this mag on the shelves of local newsagents, so keep an eye out, or check out their website if you are interested. This months edition focuses on Handmade Design, and there is also a great feature on 7 artists who reveal their sketchbooks.

I have never been good at keeping sketchbooks. I am always too conscious of people who might come across it expecting some amazing insight into me, or my creativity. I have this weird thing that I always start from the back pages and work forward on the stupid thinking that if they see the first few pages are blank they wont keep flicking through?! I have ALWAYS done this! It's the same with my idea's book for writing and stories! I know it's weird and does not make any sense at all! Perhaps I need to get past this by sharing my sketching here....then again maybe not!

I know that I have been talking about getting back to a more "hands on" approach to illustration of late, and this week I finally thought it was about time I did something about it. So I started back at Life Drawing classes! I have been debating about whether to share any of the sketching with you or not, but have decided to show you a couple of quick sketches. It's quite different from my usual work here, but if you want to see more, just click the link below.


I used to attend life drawing classes 3 times a week, but I was shocked to realise that was over 10 years ago! I am obviously VERY rusty, and it's amazing how quickly you fall out of the habit of drawing,but I loved it! Just the smell of the art studio brought back memories of a more creative time in my life when art was more about the pure pleasure, than making money! It was really liberating to just draw for the fun of it! No clients to impress, no brief to fill. Just pure enjoyment. I plan to keep this up once a week now that I have started. Not sure how much I will share here, but it's nice to get back to basics.



Sunday, September 21, 2008

A weekend in Melbourne!

Why do weekends go so quickly?! We certainly had a full one this weekend:

1.SATURDAY: Took Niece and Nephew to the Royal Melbourne Show! Consumed FAR TOO MANY lollies, chocolates, & doughnuts and came home fully loaded up with show bags! A fabulous day all round I'd say!


2.SUNDAY: Took a lovely walk around Albert Park lake.


3.Followed by a great afternoon at the High Vibes, Northcote Festival! What a fabulous area. The food and entertainment was great, and there are some gorgeous stores there too. This one was my favourite: In the Woods


4. Bought a couple of magazines:
Magpies is a magazine that keeps me up to date on what's happening in the Australian kids publishing market. I used to subscribe, but have been a bit lazy in renewing it, so still pick up a copy when I can. It's full of new releases, authors, illustrators and publishers! Inspiring stuff. The second one is basically the Australian apparel market. It's expanded a bit into home wares and a few other areas, but even though I just can't resist buying it, it seems to constantly disappoint me. Not sure why. Maybe it's just too commercial and full of ads? I will study it a bit more and let you know if I find anything worth sharing!



5. Speaking of commercial....I just can't resist the Pixar stuff! We went to see this new release:

They have certainly mastered the art of breathing life into their characters. You could not help but adore Wall E. I was not totally sold on this storyline, but I was still memorised, and it's worth seeing on the big screen! (Yes I AM I a bit old school, if you have not worked that out yet!)

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Around the house


It was all about "the house" on the weekend. I always forget to to take the "before" photos but this area around the stairs has been a storage dump for anything that we could not find a home for since we moved in! It was piled high with boxes and all sorts of crap. Since most of it has been sitting there for almost 12 months,and we clearly did not miss it or even realise that we had it, the majority of it went into the bin. This gave me a chance to create a bit of a space to display some of my favourite things. It's still a temporary space until we get the right furniture and things (I'd love a red patterned armchair in the corner!) but at least it looks a bit lived in now. Once things warm up again, I will start to put some colour on the walls and get some pictures up, but until then, at least it's tidy!


We did manage to venture out and enjoy the sunshine yesterday, which eventually lead us to Melbourne's ACMI(Australian Centre for the Moving Image) to check out their current tribute to Jim Henson. This man is one of my absolute hero's! I have several books on his amazing talent, and his natural story telling ability is an inspiration. Makes me want to get off my bum and start writing! I have drawers full of thoughts and ideas, but I need to get them into some sort of order! I really do wish we did not have to sleep! I just can't cram enough into the daylight hours!!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On and on



Ok - I have scored a free night! The four apparel ranges are done and signed off, all internal illustrations for the latest book have been approved to go to final artwork, and the brand new characters in the series I have been working on have been well received, so I have a bit of breathing space for a day or so. I can't share the current projects, but here are a couple of designs from a project completed last year, that did not quite make it to the final production.

I have been collecting some great "Inspiration Monday" stuff that I can't wait to share with you soon, and I have an amazing catalogue of products that I will share soon too. So until I get the latest projects off the working table, I will leave you to it!

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

MORE APPAREL WORK

Look what I found on-line - some of my pyjama's in REAL LIFE! The next summer ranges should be out now, so I have to get out in store and have a bit of a look!





In an attempt to give you something of interest to read, I thought I might as well chat to you in a bit more detail about my current freelance work, and the processes involved. You will find some more of my detailed ramblings on the design process here, but for now, here goes with the current stuff!

I have also taken on some more book illustration work, and have been invited to be on the panel to judge a design competition - of sorts!

I did not mean to attempt to make these posts more interesting by making them longer (which NEVER actually works!)but if you are interested in reading about any of this in more detail, then just click the link below:



I have spent the weekend finishing off x4 Baby Apparel ranges. I love doing the baby ranges because they are all about colour and graphics - my two favourite design elements! The styles don't change too much in this age range, and it's not particularly trend driven, so it suits me really well.

Unfortunately I can't share any of the files here due to copyright concerns, but I will try to describe the process a bit for you.

With this apparel business, I am usually given a design brief that documents all requirements before I even start. From this, I put together a Quote which breaks down how long I think it might take me to do each particular requirement. Some companies may prefer to work on a flat rate amount that is negotiated before the work is commenced, (which tends to be how the book publishing has worked for me) but most of the apparel businesses I work with prefer an hourly rate. Obviously I charge difference hourly rates, with the most being for the design hours (which I guess you could argue is the uniqueness that you bring to the project) and a little less for the finished art which could technically be done by anyone if you handed over the artwork.

The designs were all signed off on last week, so the weekend allowed me to put together the factory ready art. This is quite time consuming, and a little fiddly but all part of the job!

What does this involve exactly?
Well each apparel company has their own standard and methods for this, ranging from highly detailed technical specifications, to general illustrations. In the case of this company it involves 2 stages:

1 GARMENT SPECS: Each garment needs to be drawn in a front and back view, with detailed written support outlining all fabrics, and materials that would be required to make the garment, such as buttons, zips artwork etc. It also involves indicating all colours of these elements including stitch colour. Obviously each garment is given a specific number to help identify the item and to assist communication with the factories and the apparel businesses.

With the business I am currently working in, this process is quite straight forward, but when I was working full time in this industry it was a highly technical and process driven area, supported by a full QA team of garment technicians.

2 ARTWORK: Artwork is supplied at ACTUAL size where possible. Obviously for baby garments, this is easy as the art is usually quite small. All colours need to be indicated on the artwork, as well as detailed indications of what might be embroidered, printed / appliqued etc.

I usually send these off for approval too so that if I have misinterpreted anything it can be picked up before sending it off to the factory. Once I get the OK, I print 3 copies of EVERY file, burn it all to disc and send it off to the client. I am usually given several reference garments at the start of the process and these will all need to be returned as the are often sent off to the factory as support. (I could write a whole novel about how the Australian apparel industry relies too heavily on overseas garments to "design" ranges, but that will have to be a topic of discussion for another day!)

One of the main reasons that I continue to work with this client is that they DO allow me to create my own designs, and they are REALLY organised and clear about their requirements. They make the whole process so easy, which is currently the deciding factor in me taking on freelance projects now that I am working full-time. It just means that these sort of projects can be a lovely "bonus" job, rather than a required chore.

I would have to say the same of my book publishers! I have just taken on a new book in the series I have been involved with and they have asked me to come up with some brand new characters which will be pretty exciting, as I have spent a lot of time working with their existing characters in a very established series.

I have also been asked to be on the judging panel for a large National, Australian business who are running their own "in-house" competition to design their businesses Christmas card for this year. I thought it would be an interesting process and I am looking forward getting involved.

Ok - well that's it for now...but thank you for reading if you have managed to get this far!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

REALITY CHECK

Oh my gawd. How boring has this blog become? It's getting embarrassing. I was reading back through some of my older stuff, and it was actually interesting! I hereby pledge that I will lift my game and start sharing some interesting stuff....like all of the crafty gifts I want to create, and the amazing transformation that my house is going to undergo when I finally break the white boredom that is a brand new house.....followed by all of the great little animations I want to experiment with.....and all of the life drawing that I want to do.....and......books I want to write.....and.....if only we didn't have to sleep!

Were you really interested enough to click here and see if there was more to read? Well, I am also curious to know if anyone will leave a comment when there are no pictures! (Thanks if you do!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!


Well for yesterday actually! I am lucky enough to be writing this at home today as in my new "REAL" job we get a day off for our birthday! Mine fell on a weekend this year, so I got the Monday off! How cool is that!!? My husband also has the day off (well he did have work on my ACTUAL birthday, yesterday)so it's lovely just to have the day at home together today.

I celebrated over the weekend by getting my hair cut REALLY short! It was pretty long as I realised to my horror that I had not had it cut since my last birthday!Eeeek! Anyway, I love it! It's so liberating!

I was also spoiled with flowers, cards, gifts, phone calls, dinners and more! Thank you to all of my family and friends!






We also went to see this brilliant film, this great production, and am off to see this guy.....



tomorrow night, AND we are staying the night in the city! (On a "school" night!) Yeah, I know - I am VERY spoiled. I love you Raymond J. x


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Sunday, August 17, 2008

I SEE RED


After an exhausting couple of weeks, we finally found ourselves faced with the luxury having nothing at all to do for two whole days in a row!I think it's called a WEEKEND! (....I just had to ignore my freelance stuff this weekend! I was far to tired to even think about more work!)

So where to go when you have nothing better to do with your time? IKEA of course! We finally decided it was time to get our clothes off the floor and out of boxes, and this is the fabulous combination that we came up with! Yes, that is a hole in the top of the cupboard! It's so we can just throw our shoes into it! Cool huh?...or is it kinda weird?! Oh well, WE love it!


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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Upstaged by 8 year olds?!

Sometimes I feel like a bit of a fraud, and that it's only a matter of time until the big wide world discovers that I am all bluff when it comes to drawing! Well yesterday I was totally upstaged by some very talented kids! I was part of a special promo at Readings Bookstore in Lygon St Carlton yesterday, to promote some new releases in one of the book series I have been working on. I spent some time teaching the kids how to draw the characters and I was quite embarrassed by my efforts! The kids on the other hand did a fabulous job and I just love their passion and enthusiasm! They forgave me enough to still want some books signed, so I guess that's something!

Anyway, just to remind myself that I really am a "REAL" illustrator, I thought it was time I shared the next books in the other series that I have been working on!
Check them out here, if you are keen enough to want to own one! These ones are out just in time for Fathers Day, so get in early! (Two more still to come in this series!)













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