lucky duck

I love dear rae jewellery, but I love Karin more. She made me this beautiful gold ring with a deep green stone and earlier this year M gave me a delicate set of her sun and moon rings. The perfect gift. Dear rae studio-shop in the Woodstock Foundry is a place with good good vibes. 
I dropped off one or two tiny pen and gold ink drawings there today. They're available for sale in her shop at 160 Albert Road.

lone bird

love for Taiwan & dpi (& camper)

dpi mag was delivered like blitz! They included a very generous 8 page feature on me in issue vol. 157
The beautiful cover illustration is by Ale + Ale, also featured.

Such a treat, thanks dpi for being so speedy and kind and for understanding when my hard drive died and a chunk of work got lost.

Toes in the pic are completely gratuitous but i'm so in love with my new yellow suede shoes...

a quick drawing:

one evening in Ravenna

There are magnificent things to see in Ravenna; photographs are pointless in conveying the scale and intricacy in the craft you may find there. I can only share tiny things I saw next to things that sustain open-mouthed staring for several minutes.

Ravenna has grand mosaics in the true sense of grand but at some point I stopped looking. I saw bamboo flapping against the top of a high wall. Of course I found a gap to spy through and was rewarded with a daffodil garden and six white peacocks just before it got too dark to see.

We only just made our train back and then decided to take the next one anyway and spend an hour exploring the joy that is a supermarket in a foreign place.

Visit Ravenna, the city bikes are free and the mosaics are heavy on gold (and old).

(I found sugar-paper confetti on the pavement outside the train station)

Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2012

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2012 was knock-your-socks-off inspiring. It was also completely overwhelming. I wanted to run off to sit in a corner and draw quietly most of the time - partly to escape the crowds but mostly because, you know, I felt moved to produce better work straight away. My work from this book was selected for the Illustrator’s exhibition, which is why I was invited to attend.

(I bought a pen and a rude nib my first evening in Italy. Surprisingly they work even better than they look.)

Visiting Bologna and the fair was something I'd thought I might get to in middle age - never imagined something this good now. So here are some serious notes: 

There is a thriving international industry in picture books  • It's possible to make a living doing just that - illustrating books. Not probable, but possible  • Competition amongst peers should never result in isolation • Guilds and associations are vital to healthy freelance practice • There's a strong current pencil-sketch tendency in book illustration (which I love!). Final products are less polished and look more like process work • The Swedes are in top form facilitating fair publishing contracts that respect copyright • It's important to have a strong grasp of your own culture before you venture into another; this book, Migrar tells a compelling story of Mexican history in one continuous picture • The classics, reinterpreted are particularly interesting - and challenging. Last year's Bologna Ragazzi winner, Page Tsou talked to us about illustrating The Tin Soldier.

And some more things...

• Violeta Lopiz's work was my favourite on exhibition. One of the judges said her work sings and I agree!

• The special guest country, Portugal's exhibition was a highlight in exhibition design and each featured illustration was totally engaging. See more of Como as cerejas here

• Corraini books had the most exciting collection of picture and art books I've ever seen. I dropped a fair amount of cash here...
I was introduced to the work of Bruno Munari. He shares this piece of goodness:

 "perfection is a beautiful but stupid"

• Lately I’ve been doubtful about whether my fondness for (obsession with) drawing trees could lead somewhere interesting in narrative illustration and/or book design. Look what I found:

Raccontare gli alberi

(I've collected some favourite picture books here including some more pictures from the titles above.)

And this:

Page 22 from Drawing a tree by Bruno Munari. It is a simple but excellent lesson.
Published by Corraini edizioni

Another gem I got to hold and page through was this beautiful book on clouds by Katsumi Komagata. Each page cut from different paper stock. And another genius thing.

Katsumi Komagata
• I saw an exhibition by Atak. Love his renderings of Struwwelpeter.

• The illustrator's exhibition space at the Bologna Ragazzi is enclosed by a high wall which gets absolutely covered in visiting illustrators' promotional material. Tons of swag, essentially. Mind-blowing. I followed my notes to find these two online:

1) I love this lad's bio
2) Beibei Nie's simple stop motion for her new friends

• The Italian experience was made even more special by my talented fellow exhibitor Janneke de Kock. She is particularly important because we were in grade one together and were taught by the same magnificent woman, Mavis Foale. And also because Janneke's smile is huge like a hug.

PS The best gelateria ended up being the one with the comic-sans typeface across the road from the apartment.
It seems Italy never tries to be cool, it just is.