Tuesday, September 13, 2011

St. Catherine's School Visit

Today I finally got to meet Karri Hedge in person, the editor of Billie B Brown, after working with her for over two years! It was a bit like old friends meeting together, hugs and chats as we greeted. With the lovely Jennifer guiding the way we finally arrived at St. Catherine's School (it was actually a bit of a challenge finding the building, then the entrance, then the reception, followed by a walk up stairs to a lovely library with the greatest views! Good thing we got there early!) we were welcomed by a lovely librarian :D

A lovely display of Billie B Brown Books in the Library

Today was a combined session with Karri and we talked about all the editorial and illustration process behind Billie B Brown and book in general.

Karri talking about her role as an editor.
Very interesting as it is first time for me to hear this too! 

Me talking about being an illustrator

After our talk we had a little "Designing New Billie" activity. In every Billie books, Billie B Brown's "B" stands for different words depending on the themes of the books. Such as "Ballerina", "Brave" etc
We asked the students what "B" words should their own version of Billie be. After many call outs and suggestions we landed on three "B" words, "Beautiful", "Bad" and "Balloon". So Karri suggested we should draw a "Bad Billie who popped her Brother's Beautiful Balloon".

Before I commenced on the drawing we asked the girls what expression, outfit and pose Billie should have. And below was the girls' order :D

-Cheeky smile
-Stripy Hair clip
-Pig tails
-Star Tshirt
-Holding a pin (that she popped the balloon with)

So I began to draw! Feeling rather nervous as there were some serious Billie fans amongst the girls!!!


After that we did another character designing exercise. Similar to what I did yesterday with the St Cecilia's Primary School. The girls came up with different words to describe their unique character, which then they had to draw. Being an all girl school, after some voting, we landed on a character profile "Sweet, Cute, Kitten". Awww

The girls got straight into it! There were so many creative and unique "Sweet, Cute, Kitten"s, shame I didn't get the chance to take photos of their pictures...

Then the challenge was on me! Here goes my version of a "Sweet, Cute, Kitten". Got positive feedback today. Phew :)

The girls named the kitten "Angel"

Some time were spent signing and meeting the lovely readers of the Billie B Brown books. Feeling all warm and fuzzy inside!!

THANK YOU St. Catherine's School for welcoming us! And thank you Jennifer and Karri for making me feel so at home!

Monday, September 12, 2011

St Cecilia's Primary School visit & Aki Art CARD give away!

I have just had my first day of school visit at the St Cecilia's Primary School!

Before I get into writing about the wonderful day let me announce that I have hit over 100 likes on my new Aki Art Facebook Page! Thank you! I will be giving away one of my printed cards to a lucky person! For a chance to win leave a comment on Aki Art's wall and finish the comment with the code "CARD". You have until 12:00am 26th of September to leave a comment as that is when I am back from my Australia Tour! Also new fans can still LIKE Aki Art and comment for a chance to win, so spread the words and happy commenting! 

So back to the school visit! It was just great! I got to meet Jennifer and Hilary (Public Relations and an editor from Hardie Grant Egmont) for the first time! Since we have been emailing all the time for Billie B Brown and other titles it felt like we have already met before! They are both so beautiful and young, and made me feel so welcomed!

Once Hilary, Jennifer and I were at the school we were greeted by a lovely staff, Anette, and for the rest of the day Hilary and I gave editor/illustrator talks/drawing sessions to over 100 students at the school.

I began my session with a slide show showing how the Billie character was created. Followed by a "character designing" activity with the kids. Like how the designing of the Billie character originated from a description of "Feisty 7 year old-ish girl" the students and I came up with a unique combination of a character description together, "Happy 114 year old Whale"! :)

The kids then gave a go at drawing their own unique versions of a "Happy 114year old Whale" character.

Then we sat in a circle for a showing and critiquing time!

Then the challenge was on me to draw "Happy 114 year old whale". I got a mixture of positive and negative feedback! :D The kids were just GREAT!

The group after this came up with "Active Chubby Baby", Whooo! :)
I didn't get a chance to take picture for this one, hopefully one of the staff at the school will send it to me :)

Mean while Hilary was giving a talk about being an editor in the other room...
The kids loved her!

I also spent some time signing books and drawing a big Billie for the school to keep!

This is my first time drawing such a big Billie!

My thoughts at this moment was.. "uh oh... is Billie going to fit on the paper???" Feeling rather under pressure with harsh critics around me, watching closely, very closely, commenting at every stroke of line. I was really happy when I heard comments like "She is the BEST illustrator in the world!!!" and "I am DEFINITELY gonna become an illustrator when I grow up!" Hehe.

I was given a chance to take a group photo with the second group! :)

It was such a great day! The staff and students were great! The entire school was so warm hearted and kind to me. Such a nice change to get out of my cave-of-madness (my studio) and actually meet the most important groups of people, the readers of books! Dealing with editors, publishers and advertising agents all the time this experience has been a wonderful refreshment. Sometimes you forget who or what you are working for, it's not for the publishing company or for the money to pay the bills, it really is for the children and adults who read the books that I have worked on. The kids are just so inspirational!

Thank you!!!!

P.S. Thank you Anette for the lovely lunch and the bottles of wine!

Looking forward to meeting Karri (editor that looks after me for Billie B Brown works) tomorrow and Sally Rippin on Thursday!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sparkle Creations September Release Preview: Franken Josh

All the new September stamps are now available at Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps store! 

The second stamp I have illustrated for the September release is Franken Josh! Accidentally I've selected Oliver for the Frankenstein theme only to find out Josh was who Sparkle wanted :) 
Don't you just love all the nuts and bolts coming out of his head?

Sparkle will be giving away a Frankenstein Josh to one lucky person! For a chance to win visit her post here and follow the instructions!

I love how Kim Yu  used the stamp! Loving the colours and all the little details!

Also the store is featuring Emily this month!  Starting with the release this weekend, all Emily stamps will be 15% off! 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sparkle Creations September Release Preview: Mummy Oliver

This is my second post today, scroll down for the earlier post on Billie B Brown.

It is time for Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps September release preview! The theme is, you've guessed it, Halloween! I was briefed for two Halloween image for September. There was an initial muck up of the characters (my fault!). Accidentally I've selected Josh for the mummy theme only to find out Oliver was who Sparkle wanted :) 
Here goes my work process of the image.

This new stamps will be available on Saturday, September 10, 2011. Sparkle will be giving away a Mummy Oliver to one lucky person! For a chance to win visit her post here and follow the instructions!

I love how Alice Wertz used the stamp! So cute and spooky! Loving the purple hair especially!