October happenings

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

more on this, below


Just kidding.

I've actually become a bit of a Halloween 'scrooge' now that the kids are older. Not because I don't like it. I do. It's fabulous fun. Our suburb here in Canberra caught a little Halloween fever a few years ago, with mini ghouls haunting the streets, but it seems to have died down now. Nevertheless, I leave a creepy bowl outside our front door with freakish treats inside.

I guess I'm a bit over Halloween because it's just 'another' thing to do, you know? And to think, I used to decorate the entire house. AND Easter. And I'd hang streamers and puff up balloons at the mere whiff of any other festive occasion. Now, all that energy is reserved for Christmas.

If you've read my blog, you'll know I'm a Christmas Nut (perhaps a Brazil nut--sometimes Macadamia), and I've been particularly impatient this year. Not sure why. I want to try a new advent calendar and I also want to totally reinvent my decorating scheme. I'm going for silver and green, black and white this year. Here are some finds from Provincial Home Living and Adairs. Can you believe how gorgeous? Look at that leafy ribbon! and I'm [almond] nuts over the pine cone tree/ornaments, and the wreath. Gasp.

And here is one of many pompom garlands I've been dying to make. All white. And the little mini trees--I found them on ebay. I'm using them for this year's advent calendar.

This is a bit of a mish-mash of a post... it's been a mish-mash of a month!

Firstly, what I've been working on...

I've just finished what I hope is near final illustration edits for a National Library book with Jackie French. It's been a long time in the making (I started illustrating late January) and has gone through chops and changes, as books are wont to do, especially one like this (more will be revealed next year).

Which brings me to this image, which had to be cut from the book because it's too 'young'. It's funny when you get tied up in an image and suddenly you've spent days (or more) on it and you love it and then you realise 'oops--it doesn't fit'! So, this one is out, but the best part about that is that I get to share it with you.

I've also been working with Jess Racklyeft to finish off See Hear, a sequel to Smile Cry (EK Books). It will be released next April. And it's super cute! We've also just signed with Windy Hollow for a follow-on book for Merry Everything, and we're both v excited about that.

I've been in final edits for another book with Christina Booth for the National Library--it's all about Australia's geological sites and features an adorable koala family (wait till you see Christina's illustrations). Books with facts and figures take some time, but we're almost at pre-press finals now.

My book on May Gibbs (HarperCollins) is coming along. I storyboarded it last week and here is a super dodgy close-up of one the proposed scenes. I was actually dreading this process but I ended up loving it to bits, and got a little carried away with detail (had originally planned stick-figure-basics!). I'm going to be starting on the spreads very soon, and my heart is in my throat at the thought of it.


And just last week, I found out I'll be creating another map! So that's all very exciting. This will also be with Hardie Grant Travel. I have a January deadline (yes, you read that right) so I almost literally have my rollerskates on. Luckily, they are a delight to deal with and I do love maps! This will one be out mid-2018.

Although I've been head-down all month, I did manage to gad about a bit.

Mid-month, I was asked by SCBWI Australia East to step in and do some last-minute talks and crits at the SCBWI Author Illustrator Retreat at Brahma Kumaris in Wilton, New South Wales. What an experience to be part of this beautiful weekend of writing, illustrating, peer critiquing, sharing, meditating, practicing yoga and chatting with dozens of like-minded people.

B: Susanne Gervay, Zoe Walton, moi, Nicole Godwin, Jodie Wells-Slowgrove, Frances Plumpton, Caz Goodwin, Margaret Roc / F: Cate Whittle, Reena Balding, Deb Abela, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

I was part of two talks with the amazing Zoe Walton from Random House, and I loved hearing Nancy Conescu from Walker Books speak, as well as Bruce Whatley who shared his Ruben journey. If you haven't already seen this stunning picture book, you must look out for it.

Reena Balding (second from right) lead us though yoga

with dear friend Sheryl Gwyther, who came all the way from Brisbane!

You can read a full run down of the weekend by Cate Whittle, on the SCBWI Aus East/NZ blog.

I also had some news every author/illustrator craves--a successful grant application with artsACT--project funding to write an early reader series. I met Gordon Ramsay MLA at the media announcement. Over 40 local creatives were awarded funding, amounting to over $900,000 in support. So fabulous!

with Gordon Ramsay MLA

At this media announcement, I met the lovely Emma, a journalist for WIN News, who said she'd like to come take a look at my studio. It was such a lovely experience, and the result is below. I have to say I was absolutely terrified in the lead-up to being televised, but I'm only on for a few seconds at a time, so didn't have a chance to make a complete fool of myself! Excuse my 'shushing' my dear husband at the start, and his exclamation at the end!

Another fabulous event--the Hands Cross Canberra inaugural storytelling event at The Lodge here in Canberra. The hilarious Rhys Muldoon was the guest speaker, reading to the kids and parents before we broke into groups to read our books to kids and to some activities. There was also afternoon tea (cupcakes were a hit!) and the chance to catch up and meet new people. Hopefully, this glorious initiative will be an annual event.

L-R: Belle Alderman, Justine Power, moi, Stephanie Owen Reeder, Rhys Muldoon, Mollie Bee, Tony Flowers, Jack Heath

The ACT Writers Centre held a brilliant Boot Camp for children's writers last weekend, and delegates enjoyed two full days of learning and inspiration, first with Jane Godwin and Davina Bell, then Susanne Gervay and me. Here we are, below, with Sophie Mannix from the Centre. Gosh, they do great things.

Random thought: I want to paint our walls. Have you seen this? Taubman's Paint Your Own Room. I can't get it to work, but then I've only tried for 30 seconds before dashing onto something else. Must give it another go. Will keep you posted. I fear I may opt for white, plain white. Though I'm also thinking charcoal..

What else? Oh, we had another 52-Week Illustration Challenge catch-up at A.Baker Cafe in New Acton, too. Organised by the tireless Leanne Barrett. It was great to catch up and share our latest images. The next one will be on 20 January at Cafe Twenty-One (Canberra) so watch my EVENTS page for more.

Speaking of events, there are several coming up. I'm hopping like a Christmas elf over the opportunity to install a Christmas window, featuring Merry Everything, at Harry Hartog in Westfield Woden. An absolute dream opportunity (though now I'm feeling nervous--will it be good enough??). I'm bumping in on Sunday night, 12 November (soon!) and the official unveiling will be at 9am the next morning. Here is a poster--RSVP if you want to come along!

Another exciting event--my map launch--will be held, again, at Harry Hartog on 26 November. A map launch? Who'd ever heard of such a thing?

And our local SCBWI ACT chapter have scored a major opportunity--you won't want to miss this if you want to write for children. It's VERY exciting. So, save the date, and stand by for more. (Soooon...)


Oooh--other exciting news--the 52-Week Illustration Challenge, which has grown so big, we've had to close it to new members, is open for membership this November! For the entire month, admin will be allowing new members in, so scurry on over there and join immediately--you won't regret it. It's a sensational place. Click the poster below to be transported.


Gosh, that was a long post. If you're still here, I want to end with a treat. A BEAUTIFUL image from Kirsty Collett (dear friend and new Director of the 52-Week Illustration Challenge). I fell about all over the place when I first saw this online, and methinks Kirtsy took the inadvertent hint because she popped a stunning giclee print in the mail. It soared across the ditch and landed at my house this morning. OMG. Breathless. Do you love it???

Happy November, everyone!



Sheryl Gwyther said...

What a wonderful post, Tania! I always knew you were a hugely talented human dynamo, but this is astonishing. I love swinging along for the ride on your coat-tails 😀😀😀😍

Danielle McDonald said...

Oh my god woman! Do you ever sleep?! You are astounding. So much awesomeness and talent! I loved the glimpse into your studio too! Hoping to cross paths with you in the not too distant future. X

Jacqueline Harvey said...

Love reading about your happenings and everything you're doing Tania. Your illustrations are so divine - can't wait to see the May Gibbs book. I'm with Danielle - when do you get time to sleep? Congratulations on everything - there is a lot to be said for hard work and perseverance xx

Dee White said...

What a fabulous inspiring post, Tania :) So much talent and hard work. Congratulations on your many wonderful successes and all your exciting new works-in-progress :) xx

Debra tidball said...

Amazing - I'm breathless reading all the wonderful things you have been up to - and even more coming up! Congratulations on so much wonderful!

Tania McCartney said...

Thank you, gorgeous peeps!

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