Tuesday, December 6, 2016

SO MUCH NEWS, SO LITTLE TIME TO SHARE IT!!

Another incredible few months have just unfolded. In fact, I would go so far as to say there were some career highlights sprinkled in there. If only I had some sort of Social Media Manager, who could keep up with that side of things for me! So much news and so little time to share it all...

Anyway here's a snap shot to get you up to speed:

Let's begin with an I never imagined would appear here....



I think it would come as no surprise for you to learn that I am a pretty private person, and somewhat introverted, so can you imagine the effort it took for me to put myself out there and attend a radio interview?! Well, it took my participation in the local Goulburn Readers Writers Festival last month to inspire me to get out from behind my desk and do a little promoting.

So, with some wonderful support and encouragement from my gorgeous husband I decided it was time to 'feel the fear, and DO it anyway'!! (My current motto!)

So, for anyone who missed it, here's the link to my interview:

http://www.abc.net.au/radio/canberra/programs/sundaybrunch/danielle-mcdonald-illustrator/8002144

A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the gorgeous Lish Fejer at 666 ABC Radio Canberra for making me feel so relaxed and comfortable behind the microphone.

Following on from this excitement, I took my whole family on holiday to the Blue Mountains so that I could attend the KOALA AWARDS! I was so excited to have this Ella and Olivia book nominated for an award:



While we may have come home empty handed, my heart was full of pride at seeing my name listed among such incredible talent.


I was also finally able to meet the lovely Author of the Ella and Olivia books Yvette Poshoglian. We have worked together for many years, but have never actually met! Needless to say she was (AND IS) delightful! 

I came away from this wonderful event, buzzing with the realisation that I need to connect more with the Book Publishing industry. I feel like I have finally earned my place in this group and it's time to network a bit more. I guess that's one of the great things about social media. I have now come to terms with the power of networking, and am excited to connect with so many talented people.

It was also the 30th Anniversary of the Koala Awards, and we were invited to contribute a Koala illustration to mark this special occasion. Here's my entry:


So, now that I was well and truly out from behind my desk, and into the spotlight a little bit, I must admit it washed away all of the nerves in the lead up to the Goulburn Readers Writers Festival. I felt a little more comfortable that after all of these years, I finally do have some experience and knowledge
worth sharing.

I kicked things off with reading Sheep On A Beach in the Courtyard, and moved on to a Panel Discussion with Tania McCartney and George Ivanoff, hosted by local identity Warren Brown.
Then I was flying solo with my own presentation, which showed a little insight into the processes involved in bringing books through the creative stages and into reality.

I learned soooo much from this incredible experience, and made some more wonderful connections. I just have to say that I was really impressed with how visiting Author George Ivanoff shared his experience of our town and the festival. Check out his facebook pages and website, for a true insight into this remarkable weekend!

I will leave you with one more little teaser....

My Top Secret Project has finally been completed and I hope to reveal all in the next week or so...can you guess what it is?!!


Friday, October 21, 2016

Awards and Festival abound!

So it looks like I may be rounding the year off by coming out of hiding. I am actually a bit of an introvert and am quite happy hiding behind this blog in the quiet belief that no-one reads it anyway! I am not a fan of Facebook as I don't really need to know how many people saw my posts or chose to comment, or 'like' it. I am far more comfortable over here, just chatting away to myself!

So, what could possibly drag me from my comfort zone? Well a few things actually.

Firstly - I am up for THREE (!!) awards at the moment! I am delighted that they are all 'people's choice awards', so they have all been nominated and shortlisted by the readers!

Here they are:

ELLA AND OLIVIA
TWO(!) nominations for this book:




One is the YABBA awards. (Check out the details here.) 

The second one is THE KOALA AWARDS. (Details here.) 

I am a bit excited by this one, as I will actually be able to attend the ceremony where I will finally be able to meet the lovely Author of the Ella and Olivia books Yvette Poshoglian for the FIRST TIME! Can you believe that after all of these years of working together on these beautiful books, we have never actually met!!  I am VERY excited about it! I am also really looking forward to meeting some of the other Authors & Illustrators, along with the lovely people at Koala.

ELLA DIARIES
I am delighted to say that ELLA DIARIES is up for an award!




Ella Diaries #1 Double Dare You, has been shortlisted in the TOTAL GIRL MAGAZINE TOY OF THE YEAR AWARDS (Book Category!) These books are beautifully written by Meredith Costain, and I am very excited share this nomination with her.

I have never been nominated for an award for my work before, so I am really excited just to have been selected! (But I will be crossing my fingers anyway!)


The next exciting event that I will be participating in is THE GOULBURN WRITERS FESTIVAL coming up in November. This is a local event for me and I am really excited to finally have put my hand up to contribute (in some small way) to the community. 

I have been laying low a bit here since we moved, but I really feel ready to get out there and start sharing my skill and experience a bit. What better way to kick things off than via our fabulous Library

I will share more detail soon (including some possible radio interviews!) but for now, you can check out the program here. It's jam packed full of fabulous events with lots of Author and Illustrators from various genres, so put it on your Calendar and start planning NOW! There are LOTS of FREE events, but bookings are essential so GO FOR IT!

I still have one more TOP SECRET project up my sleeve that I am waiting to reveal, but production has been slightly delayed, so it's a waiting game at the moment! Stay tuned for updates!! 

Phew! That was a long one! I hope it makes up for my long absence a bit! x

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Another JAM PACKED month!



I really don't know how people find the time for all this social media stuff! I am flat out just keeping up with my workload at the moment.

But I did want to share this pic of Tracy Lacy officially out in stores! This was the first time I have seen it in a shop and I still get such a buzz out of seeing my work out there in the 'real world'! I was also lucky enough to meet the wonderful Author of this book Tania Lacy, at a recent luncheon with my Publishers. Tania is a delight and I would have loved to have spent more time with her. It was also exciting meet some other members of the Scholastic team in person (some of them for the first time!!) I came away feeling really "loved" and so excited to be a part of such a great team!!

Anyway, as usual, there is a LOT going on behind the scenes. New illustration opportunities, exciting (secret) projects signed off and finished, new contracts officially signed, another full colour picture book done and dusted....and of course my usual collection of fabulous Book Series on the go....there's even a potential Writers (Illustrators!) Festival participation on the horizon for me...oh, and my first nomination for an award!!!

I will share more details when I can.

I am one lucky girl! x

Monday, August 8, 2016

Complete overload!

I am a bit lost tonight - not sure what to do with myself. I have just finished a mammoth (secret) project and am completely exhausted. I should be moving onto the next project as I am running a bit behind, but I just can't face it. I have decided to give my poor brain a rest and just relax tonight.



So it's chocolate pudding (with LOTS of cream!), a glass of red wine, and a bit of hand sewing. Such a simple pleasure. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

My little artist




How cute is this?! My 5 year old daughter (nearly 6!) created this by tracing one of my sketches in Illustrator!! She often sits beside me watching me work and really wanted to to try it herself!

She created this using layers and various brush sizes and colours! I think it's wonderful!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dropping the ball this week



Here we are chilling out while we await a breakfast treat earlier this week. This followed a rather strange and somewhat embarrassing meeting this week!

I have always prided myself on maintaining a professional approach to my illustration work, but since I had kids I have had to cut myself some slack!! This was illustrated beautifully this week, following a meeting for a new project I am working on!

I am running a bit behind with my work schedule at the moment and in an attempt to try to make up some ground, I stayed up until 3am the night before my meeting to try to pull together something worth presenting. (Needless to say this was a bit of a waste of time as it was really only a 'rough' concept that I ended up producing.) I woke early to print out my ideas for my meeting, only to find that I could not get my printer to work!

Argh...I spent way too long trying to resolve it and ran out of time to do anything else. I had just returned from a full session of heavy work at my parents the day before, so basically had not showered or brushed my teeth for two days....I found some chewing gum in the car on the way there, and then realised I had forgotten to throw the gum away before the meeting...(another pet hate of mine!!) 

I also had to bring my girls with me to the meeting, who in my mad dash to get out the door, basically ended up wearing there pyjamas under some warm jackets....None of us had brushed our hair, but managed to tie it back in pony tails......fortunately, they are such good girls and quietly amused themselves throughout the meeting.

I had to bring my laptop along, (as I could not print my roughs) so I decided to bring along my sketches as a back up, only to have the dog chew the corners of my presentation folio!!

I have never been more embarrassed or flustered in a meeting, and since I had not had much sleep I ended up just rambling my way through the meeting - talking too much and not making much sense!!

To their credit, the people in the meeting were very understanding and sympathetic, so if you are reading this ladies, I thank you again for your patience.

I promise to be more organised for next week's catch up....oh, and my darling girls....lets do breakfast BEFORE the meeting this time. You are so patient and understanding. I love you both. Such gorgeous girls.

I ended this crazy week with the discovery of this lovely magazine today. 


Just what I needed. Check it out if you happen to spot it on the shelves somewhere. 

Oh, and I nearly forgot....the lovely Author of Ella Diaries (Meredith Costain) informed me that our new release Ella Diaries 'Worst Camp Ever' made the Top 10 best sellers at Readings Bookstore this week. 



Very exciting news. Go grab yourself a copy today! x

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tracy Lacy - the Tadpole?!


Here's a bit of Tracy Lacy silliness for you today! 

This is my daughters' favourite picture of Tracy Lacy (the tadpole from the back cover artwork), so with some help from MY Mum, they made this cute little version of her! Makes me smile!



So not much going on at the moment, except for busy, busy, busy....I have completed the next Ella Diaries book, along with another full colour (still secret) book, and am just finalising the artwork for another TOP SECRET project I have on the go!

Then there's the new contract I am finalising for another BRAND NEW series due for release next year!! ... Talk about BUSY!! I am loving it!

In the meantime, both the Netherlands and Russia have already extended their contracts for the Ella Diaries books! Phew. Such exciting times. 

Next on the list is more beautiful books for Little Learners Love Literacy....No time for a breather just yet!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Screen Printing Joy!

Wonderful afternoon of screen printing at our local Goulburn Regional Art Gallery. Great fun. Great company. 

I could really see myself getting into it on a more regular basis....if only I had more time!



So for now, it's back to reality. Am topped up with caffeine and ready to put in a big night(s) of catch up work....if only we did not ''have to" sleep, I could get so much more out of my days!!

A special thank you to my gorgeous husband for his wonderful help and support - otherwise NOTHING would get done! x

Thursday, July 7, 2016

So many NEW BOOKS arriving!

Checking the mail these days has become pretty exciting, with lots of new copies of my books arriving. Check out the first Foreign Language versions of Ella Diaries - in Dutch!



I am so excited about this. I can't stop looking at them.


Here's a few more newbies that have arrived in the last few weeks:





There was a time in my career when I had a really hard time with the colour yellow...now I LOVE IT!

NEW COMPUTER:
I guess you are sick of me talking about how busy I am, so I will skip that bit and let you know I have a beautiful, slick new computer! My last one was 10 years old and was getting a bit shaky, so I thought I had better upgrade before anything disastrous happened. I can't believe the difference in the new one. It's such a step up - particularly with the screen quality! No excuses now.

NEW PUPPY:
On the home front, the cute little puppy is driving me nuts! It chews everything. It bites. It's harder to house train than a cat. It wakes us in the night, or cries if we lock it in a room to try to get some sleep!! I think we are ready for some puppy training!!

SCREEN PRINTING:
And just because I don't have enough on my plate, I have signed up for this local screen printing class! I have been wanting to screen print for sooooo long. My husband even bought me all of the gear for my Birthday last year so that I could try it, but I just have not been able to make the time for it. I don't really have the time this weekend either, but it was just too good an opportunity to miss. Unfortunately I could not attend last weekend's session, but I did do some screen printing in my Uni days, so I have some idea how it works.

Anyway, I have some more work due tomorrow, so I had better get on with it.

Until next time....

Monday, June 27, 2016

TRACY LACY IS COMPLETELY COO-COO BANANAS!

I am a little too busy at the moment to write a proper post, or update Facebook, but I really wanted to at least share this link to my BRAND NEW BOOK! Yes - the "'Secret one'' I have been desperate to share with you! I will share more detail when I get the chance but for now - HERE'S MY NEW BOOK!!..Written by the very clever and funny Tania Lacy. Enjoy. x


Monday, June 6, 2016

NEW PROJECTS, NEW BOOKS and A 'SURPRISE' SOMETHING 'NEW'!

So it seems I have my mojo back! This past week has been all about NEW things on the work front. I have had a couple of great meetings about a new and exciting project that I have underway - something brand new that I have never tried my hand at before, so I am looking forward to revealing a bit more once the project is complete.

On the book front, I finally got my first look at a printed copy of one of my NEW and "Top Secret" books. I know this is a HUGE teaser, but I can't share too much just yet. 

I CAN tell you that it's bigger (longer!) than my Ella Diaries books. (It was a massive undertaking and HEAPS of work, but I LOVED it!)



That's Ella Diaries on the top, and my new book underneath! 


I CAN also tell you that it's a wonderful and VERY funny story that was just a delight to illustrate. 

I CAN tell you that I was very excited to work with this particular Author!

I CAN tell you that it's for an older audience, and that we already have an international contract for it, despite it only just hitting the printers!

I CAN also tell you that I am already working on the follow up book to this title! 
I sense exciting times ahead for this one! It's currently due for release in September this year, so I will look forward to sharing more about it when I can.

I was also excited to get my copies of the latest Ella and Olivia books in the mail! 


This series has been a wonderful success and I am working on book number 18 in the series at the moment! I have also signed contracts for lots more Ella and Olivia books later in the year.

Of course, I also have more Ella Diaries books in the wings and have just signed more contracts for new books in this series too!

That's all I have time for today, but I have lots more to share - including a Brand New full colour Picture Book that I am currently working on, more books in the Little Learners series, and even a few sewing projects that I have started in my 'spare' time!

Oh, and it wouldn't be a complete blog post from me without some farm news, so this time I wanted to introduce the latest addition to the farm.



Meet little Marley! Isn't she the sweetest? We have only had her for a few days so we are still settling into life with a puppy in the house, but we LOVE her! I have to try not to bombard you with too many pictures of her!

Anyway, have a great week and stay tuned for more news soon.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A little bit of local life

Well, we have just returned from a fabulous two weeks away in 'Sunny' Queensland. It was so wonderful just to focus on the family without any distractions - just what we needed after a pretty challenging start to the year for our family.

We were welcomed home with a Wintery cold snap (which was a bit of a shock to the system after such warm weather up North!)....


...along with some new additions to the farm!! 




I also came home with a renewed appreciation of the beauty of our gorgeous region and our hometown - Goulburn.

This is good timing as I am currently vying for the opportunity to create some artwork for the local Council. I have been pondering how I can bring my skills to the local Community and I hope this will be my beginning. 

So while we were in town today I took some photos around town to create some reference for my drawings.




Of course I have many more images, but I just loved the lighting and the sky in these. Would you believe I just used the camera on my mobile phone? I was just trying to document, rather than create a beautiful image so I was really happy with these. I am doing lots of sketching this weekend for my deadline (which is next week) so it's really fun to think about all of the great things I love about living here.

This week we have been laying low a bit as we re-adjust to 'normal life' again, and I have even ignored my rather enormous work list for another week. All of this down time has re-ignited a long lost yearning to be more Crafty. I am just desperate to start making things and have a really long list of projects that I am determined to find time for. 


I used to do A LOT of knitting and sewing in my life before having children and I would love to share these skill with my girls, now that they are getting a bit older. They are fascinated by my knitting (as are the chickens) and have already requested all types of hats, scarves and jumpers!!!

I have also borrowed a fabulous collection of books from our local library. (I just LOOOOOOVE our local library! They have a constant stream of NEW and modern books....and they even have some of MY books in there, so that's pretty exciting for me...and my girls!!)


I have also started a PINTEREST board of projects that I hope inspires me into action, so check it out here if you are interested. I have recently had my sewing machines serviced and am ready to go...well almost! I NEED to build my fabric collection up again, so it looks like a wonderful excuse to stock up!!

There are some wonderful things happening on the work front at the moment, but I will save that for another post.

Until next time......x

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New Releases for May 2016!

Yes, I am still here! I am working through a pretty extensive 'to do' list, but thought I'd better stop by and let you know that I am still around! 

Ella Diaries news:
Here is the latest release for the Ella Diaries series. It's a wonderful tale full of all the usual craziness and antics you have come to expect from Ella and her friends, all centered around the School Play.


Here's a bit of an exclusive look at some of the internal artwork:





The latest edition (May 2016) of Total Girl Magazine features your chance to win a copy of this new Ella Diaries book through their COMPS CLUB. 


Otherwise, it hits the shops on the 1st of May, so be sure to grab a copy, or order one online here.

I have also completed the next book in this series (!) and have started the cover art for the following book, so there's LOTS more to come in this gorgeous series.

Other news:
I have been meaning to share this one with you for AGES! 


This was the very first book I created on my wonderful journey with the team at Scholastic. 



I will always have a soft spot for this book and it's just been released as a BOARD BOOK! This format really suits this book, and it still includes the music CD of Peter Combe's hilarious songs! This one is also due for release on the 1st of May. Here's one place you can order it.

On my desk:
A brand new picture book! Yay! I have missed working in FULL COLOUR and I am delighted to be working on my first sketches for a fun new book. 

Of course we also have a several new Ella and Olivia books on the go, and I am desperately waiting to see the first proofs for another brand new (still Top Secret!) book due for release in September.

Phew! That's it for now. We are off on a very long overdue family vacation shortly, so we are counting down the sleeps until the big day!

Check back soon for more news....there's still a couple of things brewing behind the scenes that I hope to be able to share soon. x

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Coming up for air!


This once month posting thing is clearly becoming a habit! There is so much going on but I just can't seem to make time to share things here. When there are so many things demanding your time and attention, then something has to give. I just can't physically do everything so I feel a bit like I am in survival mode! 

None the less, here I am! Last month I managed to finish an exciting BRAND NEW book project (double the length of anything I have worked on before!) This obviously means double the work! It took an entire week of scanning and 'live tracing' to sort out all of the illustrations (even with the help of my niece!) I am really pleased with how it all came together and I can't wait to see the final product - (due for release in SEPTEMBER this year.)

No rest for the wicked though - I have already completed another Ella and Olivia book since then and am starting on the next Ella Diaries too!

I do have a few new things to share, but I still need to photograph them. In the meantime, here's some (bad) photos of a lovely surprise I recently received in the mail. It's a Spanish version of a book I worked on a few years ago with Five Mile Press. It's a "Press and Play" concept where you 'pop' out a 2D character to interact with the pages. It's the first time I have seen a foreign language version of one of my books, so it's pretty exciting!



And just because I don't share enough farm pics here, I just wanted to share our lovely chickens getting in on some out door painting fun! 



I swear these chickens think they are human! They always try to come inside the house with us and even jump into the car with us whenever they can! I love them!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mascot fun




A little side project for a friend....

Monday, January 25, 2016

(NOT SO) HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Well, a VERY belated HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. I would have to say that we have had a very ordinary start to the New Year. In fact, I would go so far as to say it has included some of the worst days of my life.

I don't intend to bother you with the details, but it has included writing off our car. (We hit a wombat on route to our holiday destination on Christmas Eve and have been without a car for the past month while we sort things out with insurance! This is a tough ask when you live on a farm and can't rely on public transport, or walking anywhere!) But the worst part was one of our daughters becoming seriously ill and requiring some time in hospital. She has made a wonderful recovery, but we are still dealing with some side effects. This one will haunt me for some time to come, I think!

Anyway, that's my excuse for going quiet here again of late. I have so much to share with you, but will try to do it in stages. I plan to overhaul this blog and set up a website this year, but for now I have some serious work to catch up on.


I have had to do some re-shuffling of deadlines, but it feels good to get some normality and routine back into our lives. I have managed to complete the new cover artwork for the latest Ella Diaries, and have also completed all of the internal artwork for another new Ella Diaries due for release in a few months. These stories just get better and better and I LOVE working on this series.


I also meant to mention that you can now get a BOXED SET of Ella Diaries book. You know I love a boxed set!! (Sorry about the bad photo - something else I have to work on this year!)



Oh, and while we are talking boxed sets, here's an Ella and Olivia BOXED SET I spotted in one of our favourite book stores!


Now that I have caught up a bit, I am also back working on my BRAND NEW, TOP SECRET book. 



I am having so much fun with this one. There's lots of new characters and so many hilarious moments that I may have gone a bit over board with the illustrations! I don't know how we are going to fit it all into the number of pages we have been allocated!! This one is not due for release until September this year, so I can't give too much away just yet. But for now it's FUN, FUN, FUN!

This year is stacking up to be one of my busiest yet! Stay tuned for more updates and some new releases I still need to share with you. Back soon.