marvellous May, maps, mammals, microbiomes and making changes

Sunday, 20 May 2018

platypus playing with gouache

It's marvellous May! and winter has finally descended on Canberra. But it's not the winter I know. I may be decked in knits and beanies and ugg boots (hurrah!), but many of our trees are STILL in full leaf. Or part-leaf, dotted with a red leaf or three. There is still no blaze in our neighbourhood--no trees on fire with red, yellow, orange, no no. It's still 'meh'.

It's summer being strangled by the cold paws of Jack Frost. There has been no autumn in our city this 2018. And other than this snatch of yellow down at the lake recently, it seems there will be no autumn. And it makes me uneasy.

Maybe you've seen the same kind of changes where you are, maybe you haven't. But it's a timely reminder that our dear planet isn't well, and that every little bit we can do to nourish her is a must. Yes, even if we feel the horrendous impact multinational juggernauts are waging on our planet while chasing a buck, makes it feel like our efforts are for nought.

But then, I guess, there's always Mars, right?


On a lighter note...

maps in May at the state library of new south wales

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Magical, Marvellous, Magnificent Maps!
Sunday 27 May 2018
11am - 12pmState Library of New South Wales

Explore time through the marvelously magical and magnificent world of maps with children’s author/illustrator, Tania McCartney. Tania is positively, absolutely mad about maps, but then, who isn’t?

From the beginnings of time, when earth’s land was just one great big blob, to the way countries have formed and unformed and reformed again, little adventurers can make their own explorer hats, jump on a virtual ship, and come on this journey to uncover geological, floral and faunal treasure.

See how our Great Southern Land was once mapped—your eyes will boggle!—and which major part was completely missing. Learn who was first to complete an accurate cartographer’s map of our coastline, and how the land was once divided (there was once no Queensland!).

Through visual exploration, Tania will also show kids how her Australia: Illustrated Map was put together, from crafting the illustrations through to digital placement.

Children can then make their very own map, featuring plants, animals and markings of their own travels. Suitable for kids aged 4 – 12.  

Book a place

acres of glorious book covers

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

We all have our 'things', do we not? Those little things in life that make us sigh and curl up in delight, preferably with a cup of tea and the sound of some kind of chirping through an open window.

That's how I feel about book covers. Yes, the contents are also pretty special, but the covers. Sigh. They are everything, and yes yes--feel free to judge away, for in this world of easy-access, brilliant illustrators and designers from all walks of life and around the world, there is simply no excuse for a book with amateur illustrations, shoddy design and woeful typography.

In a fit of happy, I trawled Pinterest recently for book cover stunners, and although this line-up is long, it's a mere piccolo peep in an orchestral ensemble of beautiful works over the years.

These are books covers that are beautifully crafted, design-wise, clever, and even enchanting, but I'm aware they're covers that particularly enchant me. Yours might be different. Do you have a favourite you want to share?

hello april! you are really summer

Friday, 13 April 2018

Um, what's happening with this endless summer? A 30-degree week in Canberra (???) and only a small selection of our trees are even thinking about putting on the ritz with orange, red and gold. Some are still full green but scraggly and tired, you know? This ugly garden phase is kind of doing my head in, as is my chomping desire to slip boots and gloves on. Come on, 'summer', enough already!

To cheer myself, I've been hiding inside with the aircon on (in April???), painting up a storm and working hard on my next illustrated book (a sneak peek coming in this post). I've had many requests to sell giclée prints of my Flora series, and you'll notice, above, I'm putting a bulk order in so they'll turn out cheaper to buy (just $35 including postage; on my Etsy store, they are $50).

If you want a Flora print, email me with what you'd like, or head to my Insta page where you can leave a comment. Sorry for the short notice, but orders close at midnight on Sunday 15 April. I can only post to Australian addresses.

You'll notice I've created some slightly different illos in the series... using collage. When I created Australia Illustrated, I spent a lot of time monoprinting backgrounds for use in the book. Endless monoprinted pages have been sitting in my cupboard and they're just too beautiful to throw away, so I've been snipping away, creating shapes...

I kind of knew what I wanted to do with them (but not really) and this is what I came up with...

see hear: FOR KIDS!

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Happy Book Birthday, See Hear!

Hey kids! Want some cool stuff to download and print? Piglet, Bunny and Cat have some treats for you... a colouring sheet, two word searches (one super easy--above--and one super hard below) and a Spot the Difference!

We hope you have fun with these. And don't forget to enter our comp to win a copy of See Hear!

Word Search

Spot the Difference

There are 10 of them--see how you go. And if you need a little help, just click here.


Just print and colour! And if you want to show us your creations, email them here!

see hear: creator interview

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

In celebration of the release of See Hear (EK Books), Jess and I have put together a little inside creator interview--all about our favourite things!

Favourite thing to see:

TM: Art. Man-made: illustrations, paintings, collage, architecture. Nature: mountains, trees, the way light bends itself into such beauties as bokeh and rainbows.
JR: My kids playing in our veggie patch.

Favourite thing to hear:

TM: Rain falling. Always has been, always will be. Also love hearing laughter.
JR: Rain (while I am inside).

Childhood memory of something you saw:

TM: I have vivid memories of someone from my family, perhaps an aunt, holding helium balloons. I think we might have been at the show or the zoo or something--I was super young. I can still picture them and can still feel a flood of pure happiness. Maybe it explains my balloon obsession??
JR: Full moon rising, dolphins jumping, still ocean while we were in a little boat at sunset.

Childhood memory of something you heard:

TM: I grew up in Hobart, where it rained pretty permanently. I feel an enormous sense of comfort and love when I hear rain. Combine it with the smell of ironing clothes or cheese toasties in a pan, and I am transported straight back to childhood.
JR: Listening to my parents chat with friends at the dinner table while I fell asleep at their feet.

Favourite page in See Hear: 

TM: You know how hard this is, right?? I love them all, seriously. But if I had to choose, I would choose happy humming. It just warms me to my toes.

JR: I think the discovery of the castle.

Favourite onomatopoeia in See Hear:

TM: I do love sizzle, pop and clatter, but my favourite would have to be giggle giggle giggle. Because I can almost literally hear it. And what's more beautiful than the trails of children giggling?
JR: Happy humming.

Favourite onomatopoeia of all time:

JR: Warble

Best thing about working on See Hear:

TM: The ease, and the excitement of seeing what imagery Jess would come up with next. It was like Christmas each and every time.
JR: Working with such an easy and fun team again, and getting to hang out with the three characters again.

Best thing about creating early childhood picture books:

TM: Knowing the impact we may have on young minds. Providing comfort, joy and enchantment for kids is everything. The thought of a child saying 'again! again!' and befriending any of my books ... how happy that makes me ... no words to describe that.
JR: It's a dream job, creating something kids can see (and hear) and building new worlds on the page.

What I hope kids will take away from See Hear:

TM: Connection. And I hope adults are transported back to the happiest moments of their childhood.
JR: A bit of fun and magic while learning more about their senses.

See Hear: book trailer

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

I'm sharing this sensational book trailer again because I just adore it! Huge thanks to Jess Racklyeft, hubby and kiddles. It just makes me melt.

it's march. autumn, wherefore art thou?

Saturday, 24 March 2018

More on what Cat, Piglet and Bunny (above) are up to, shortly, but first--if you've read my February post, you'll know I've been doing lots of looking, peeking, souring, observing. And I've noticed something.

Autumn is missing.

At this time of year, the blaze is normally alight. For sure. Evidence in this image from 20 March 2017, below.

a bear a day cards

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

My latest card range with Nuovo Group is out--featuring my bears from A Bear a Day.

They're available in stores Australia-wide.

Beary cute!

foraging and slow

Saturday, 17 March 2018

This morning, I went for my regular walk around the neighbourhood. I often take nature photos as I walk, but things are decidedly dowdy at the moment. It's too early for the autumn blaze here in Canberra. Summer still clings. We've had .002mm of rain (almost literally) since January 1, and only the trees with whopper roots and natives that thrive on three drips of water are eking out an existence.

Mostly, things are shrivelling up and dying, and this isn't really the ultimate state in which to find treasure.

Unless you really look.

One thing I've promised myself this year, is to stop and look. Observe and really see. I'm always in much of a rush, and I'm pretty jack of it. I want to slow down and do slow things. Walk slowly, eat slowly, breathe slowly, move my eyes slowly. Pause. Scour. Take in. Pluck.

Most of the treasures in these photos were simply plucked from a tangle of leaves and sticks on the ground, some snapped from a dying bush. Some were pinched from a tree with more than enough to spare. Many are dying, some already dead. Some with fruit and flowers crisped and stubborn on tiny stems.

All beautiful.

February deadlines and new books and bullet journalling and awards and bears - oh my!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

You could have bowled over with a lightly-fragrant glass of bubbles when a friend pointed out Merry Everything on the CBCA Notables table last night at Harry Hartog bookstore. You see, the lovely people at CBCA ACT organised a Notables Announcement event (complete with lightly-fragrant bubbles and other treats) and I went along because I have a severe children's book addiction... totally UNsuspecting any kind of Notable.

Yet--there it is. A Notable! Friend and Merry Illustrator Jess Racklyeft and me... we are humbled and absolutely thrilled (as is our gorgeous publisher, Windy Hollow Books) for our little book with its esteemed sticker. Thank you, CBCA. It will be a very smiley week, this one!

You can see all Notables here--congrats to my many friends and colleagues who have also been stickered. It's such an honour to sit alongside you. The shortlist for 2018 Book of the Year will be announced in one month--on 27 March, and the winners will be revealed as Book Week kicks off on 17 August.

from Mamie, HCP, Dec 2018

Typical of the author life, I've kicked up my heels last night and now back to my desk this morning.

Tomorrow is deadline day for Mamie, my picture book about the life of May Gibbs, and methinks there might be tears upon completion. I still can't believe this is happening. After many, many years wanting to write about May--it's literally a dream come true, and I'm pinching myself black and blue. Lisa Berryman and Eve Tonelli at HarperCollins have been divine to work with, and I can't wait to show you some peeks as we head towards publication date this December. I'm hoping to have a launch in Adelaide late November, so watch my Events page for more on this.

1 April is the release of See Hear, a sequel to Smile Cry--illustrated by the amazing Jess Racklyeft. I ADORE this book trailer Jess put together. Wait till you hear the original music concocted by Jess's husband and kids--it's utterly adorable! It brings tears to my eyes (in a good way!!).


Stay tuned for more on See Hear as the pub date approaches. There'll be peeks and peeps and giveaways.

Speaking of giveaways ... tomorrow I'm having my first random print giveaway on Instagram (@taniamccartney). This darling (from Australia Illustrated) is the first ...

... and all you have to do is follow my Insta account and leave a comment. Winners will be chosen at random. Good luck!

And now ... what you've been waiting for ... drum roll please ... recent book purchases!

Hello, 2018, you are already nearly March

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Hello, everybody! No, I have not morphed into a little white bear with a flower crown, though I do feel completely bear-immersed, as we pass the half-way mark with my A Bear a Day auction (@abearaday90) on Instagram. It ends 31 March, so pop on over to see if there's a bear for you.

Scroll down to the end of this post to see the latest bears and their status, and a reminder that most of the unsold bears will be up for a buy-now sale during the first week of April. If you miss out on an original, Nuovo group have published over 60 of the bears (and more to come) as a greeting card range! They will be available at stores Australia-wide this month.
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