A Bookweek presentation, drawing and creativity in kids

Bookweek in Australia has just passed – It was always my favourite week at school as a kid because I got to dress up as my favourite book character and celebrate kids books at school and sometimes have authors visit the school .

( This is me circa 1981 dressed very convincely as a clown for bookweek – not sure what book character I’m meant to be , but whoever it’s meant to be ,I apologise , as it is slightly scary )

IMG_1771

However , for this years Bookweek, I stayed away from freaky clown costumes( fortunately some would say) , as I didn’t want to scare the children when I did my first ever bookweek presentation for the grade 3’s and 5’s at my daughters school – Good News Lutheran School .

IMG_1789

Can I just say

I HAD SO MUCH FUN

And learnt so much myself from these gorgeous short people .

So , today in my blog post , I thought I’d share my list of…

“Some things I learnt doing my first ever Bookweek presentation”

1. Kids are the best because they laugh at my jokes – very poor jokes , but attempts at humour nevertheless .

2. The kids in grade 3 and grade 5 at Good News Lutheran school have  especially  AMAAAZING  extremely good taste in humour , as they laughed at ALL  my jokes .

3. Some kids  these days still sometimes don’t think they are very good at drawing  (insert SAD face here)

4.  BUT, all kids still like drawing – especially silly stuff , like the Kung Rabbits we drew together and Donald Trump , turned into a unicorn , on a rainbow , singing old MacDonald Had a Farm

4. Kids get a little less gullible by grade 5 . I mean , the grade 5ers just didn’t believe me that my friend Anita and I were the actual original creators of this famous artwork , as they were (politely , as they are well mannered students at Good News Lutheran School) yelling out ” You did not paint that  !” I still do not understand why they didn’t believe this was true , whereas grade 3 kids were like ” Really ?? You painted that ? WOOOOOWWW!”

See below and you’ll get my drift

IMG_1780

5. And finally the BEST thing I learnt was that with the right encouragement, kids, just like grown ups ,  will believe in themselves that they can be creative through drawing – whatever form that takes . My 2 mottos i taught the kids that day were..

ANYONE CAN DRAW!

and

Practice,  practice  , PRACTICE !

This seemed to really resonate with the kids

And  , by far the BEST thing I experienced in Bookweek was this exchange I had with a little grade 3 boy who had joined the cue for take home colouring in pages , bookmarks and my AUTOGRAPH !!( yes , I was a celebrity in grade 3 for 15 minutes).

Grade 3 boy: Sandy , thank you for doing your talk

Me : I’m so glad you liked it ! What did you like the best ?

Grade 3 boy : Well, I didn’t think I was able to draw at all  …. but I DO NOW !

Me: ( speechless and melting to the floor with happiness )

Bookweek,

its da best .

Check out these awesome digital drawings by the grade 5s on display for Bookweek, drawn after another presentation I did for them on digital art. I just loved seeing the colours , their designs and most of all , their imaginations at work . Well done grade 5 !

IMG_1788

And also check out the video of the process of drawing a Kung fu Bunny or Rainbow unicorn on my video links page .

Love to you all !

Sandy

Illustrations and my cheesy fudgy squishy brain.

IMG_1643

Its been a journey of building the confidence to take on the job – my first full book illustration commission  . My own scaredy cat brain had stopped me from drawing for almost 20 years ! Yes! It’s true ! I stopped drawing for 20 years ! But that’s another story that I’ll share in another blog one day . It’s a good one for anyone like me , in their mid 40s … heading towards 50… who thought  they were all dried up , on the decline and didn’t  have much to offer the creative world .

Its been a learning journey , as I’ve drawn the pictures,  to  keep persisting and pushing through , even when my drawing brain seemed to turn into a cheesy fudgy squishy   brain .

It’s been a journey of my own scaredy cat brain , as I felt anxiety and possibly even fear at times , when I’ve worried that the author , psychology professor Dr Allison Waters , wouldn’t like my work .

IMG_1641

But , I persisted ! I worked through the  scaredy cat cheesy fudgy squishy brain days and I’m SOooo close to being finished and ready to take on some more projects .. like a possible job with a big children’s book  publishing firm here in Australia illustrating a series of chapter books  …. ( woohoo!) . It’s not definite yet , but I need give my cheesy, fudgy squishy scaredy cat brain the flick ( “give it the flick” is “throw it away” in Aussie slang) and GIVE IT A GO !

IMG_1642

Love to all !

Sandy

 

 

Running to the finish line of a book illustration

I’m  on the countdown , nearing the finishing line and hurtling up the home straits – yep I’m finally getting closer to completing the illustrations for my FIRST EVER  book illustration commission – ‘Jessie and the Scaredy Cat Brain ” by the lovely  Dr Allison Waters .

“Jessie ” is a book about a girl with anxiety . It’s going to be used by Dr Waters in her research and therapy to help children with anxiety . Which is just beautiful .

 

 

IMG_1550

 

In fact , little anxious Jessie, her Scaredy Cat Brain and Happy Cat Brain  have become buddies of mine .

I have to say though , they’ve  gotten up my nose and , indeed caused me , their artist designer , to want to say very unkind inappropriate things to them when they have raised my levels of anxiety when the little darlings have refused to sit still long enough for me draw them in a different pose, or when they don’t seem to want stay around long enough for me to find a way of positioning them on the page  .. but they are pretty annoyingly cute and endearing at the same time . I love them . I do . Really .

But , even though this project is drawing to a close , some late nights of work in the art studio are still to be had .

 

 

 

Love to all

Sandy

Running to the finish line of a book illustration

I’m  on the countdown , nearing the finishing line and hurtling up the home straits – yep I’m finally getting closer to completing the illustrations for my FIRST EVER  book illustration commission – ‘Jessie and the Scaredy Cat Brain ” by the lovely  Dr Allison Waters .

“Jessie ” is a book about a girl with anxiety . It’s going to be used by Dr Waters in her research and therapy to help children with anxiety . Which is just beautiful .

 

 

IMG_1550

 

In fact , little anxious Jessie, her Scaredy Cat Brain and Happy Cat Brain  have become buddies of mine .

I have to say though , they’ve  at times gotten up my nose and , indeed caused me , their artist designer , to want to say very unkind inappropriate things to them when they have raised my levels of anxiety when the little darlings have refused to sit still long enough for me draw them in a different pose, or when they don’t seem to want stay around long enough for me to find a way of positioning them on the page  .. but they are pretty annoyingly cute and endearing at the same time . I love them . I do . Really .

But , even though this project is drawing to a close , some late nights of work in the art studio are still to be had .

Lets just hope I don’t have to foster out Jessie and her feline friends before I finish .

Orrrrr…..

 

 

Love to all

Sandy

Swings

When I was a kid , I wanted to fly .

I mean , literally , FLY

Like  in the sky , kind of fly

Not in an aeroplane .

Not with wings , like a fairy .

But basically kind of take off , from the ground and , well , soar , up into the blue yonder .

I took to running down the ginormous grassy hills in my school playground , arms stretched out , optimistically waiting for my little legs to lift off .

News Flash :

It didn’t work .

So , the next best thing, was to go on the awesomely huge and cool grey steel 1970’s  swingset  in our backyard and try to tap into the invisible laws of aerodynamics and magic .

I’ll let you decide if that one worked.

And so , when the 52 Week Illustration Challenge topic was “Swing” …

Well, I had to draw this cartoon and stick it right in my illustration portfolio

Enjoy !

xo

Sandy

 

IMG_1567

 

 

 

 

Cows

Upon the dawning of a  bright and crisp winter’s Saturday morning this morning , my family and I had a pleasant venture out to the countryside , escaping the “big smoke ” of Brisbane , to imbibe the beauty of the Australian bush and most importantly , to watch our youngest play soccer and subsequently stuff ourselves with pastries at the local country bakery .

And for some reason , I have come back from this journey , not only 3 kgs heavier , but with a burning need to draw a cow .

So here is my portrayal of :

” A cow ”

No doubt some of you , my uber intelligent blog readers , will see similarities in my little sketch , to the works of the great 17th Century Dutch pastoral painter , Paulus Potter , who sadly and remarkably , died of the milk borne disease , tuberculosis. Perhaps he should have taken to painting chickens .

Enjoy my masterpiece

Love to all from beautiful Brisbane Australia

Sandy

xxoo

IMG_1538

 

 

 

 

 

Harry is Proud

 

I did this little doodle today … in a meeting at my other job as an Occupational Therapist with little deaf and hard of hearing children …. maybe one day I’ll illustrate and maybe even write my own book for deaf children … and make it through a meeting without doodling … or not .

 

For Olive – and why I draw for kids 

IMG_0509So, my  blog post today is dedicated  to a precious girl , called Olive , aged 10 . I hope you get to see this Olive .

I’ll explain why ….

Olive, your dad visited our home to do a pest inspection this morning , which was really cool , because our house needed a pest inspection because the teeny tiny  little ants that keep trooping into in our bathroom are driving me INSANE  . I hate them , the little  sods.( apologies  to all any ant lovers out there)

And Olive, we also don’t really want our humble abode to be eaten by another type of ant – termites .And your lovely pest inspector dude dad sprayed our ever growing termites nest in the front yard so they won’t eat up our house ( more little sods ) which is nice.

But, as usual, I digress…

The reason this pest inspection was extra specially cool though Olive, was actually because I ended up having a nice chat with your pest inspector dude dad about martial arts, the tough lifestyle of a chef, ( his former occupation) , difficult rude customers , being a parent, and , you know ,other  boring stuff that grown ups talk about..

And THEN we talked about REALLY awesome stuff like ” life” and ” why there are so many annoying hypocritical Christians in the world ” and “unicorns ”

And , as well as enjoying the chat , your Dad made me reflect , that I am really super blessed to be doing all this illustration work for kids .

I am blessed , Olive, that I have some big publishers now wanting to put my messy scratchy artwork in their files for future children’s books.

That’s UBER exciting

BUT

Even though that’s great – the reason I am REALLY blessed is because I can draw crazy pictures which will be going in books , that will bring happiness to children , just like you Olive-  precious daughter of  the pest inspector dude , who gave up his chefs job which involved long shifts that kept him from his little girl (you) and that had left him too tired to interact with her (you) when he wasn’t working so he left that job, so he could be with you a whole lot more.

Because….

He loves you so much . That was obvious .

So Olive, I hope you get to read this post.

You are on my heart , because I have a 10 year old daughter too and her dad and I love her just as much as your dad does .

Which is why I drew Cupcake Marshmallow Sunshine the Unicorn for my girl  …and for kids just like you .

I draw for you guys

I hope you enjoy   your own limited edition autographed print of Cupcake the Unicorn that I sent home with your Dad today after he killed the sodding ants 🐜

Much love to you Olive

and

all my beautiful readers,

Sandy

SAY WHAAAT ??? An illustrator in a state of shock

So , I’m dumbfounded , flabbergasted, astounded and stoked ( ie pretty happy in Aussie slang) . I came third in the CYA, aspiring illustrators competition .

IMG_1318

 

I will back track to the beginning of the story –

About 3 months ago I decided  at the very last minute to enter an illustrators competition for the  Children  and Young Adults authors and illustrators conference, 2017 . I thought to myself ” This will be a good experience Sandy . A great way to get feed back on your artwork and illustration style Sandy and learn more about the craft – Sandy . ” So, I coddled together some little drawings , based on the text given . It was a trifle frustrating being only able to enter 3 drawings as I felt like I wanted to do so much more . But , I carried on , doodled away and sent off my drawings with few expectations .

And here I am , 3rd place winner in the “aspiring ( unpublished ) “illustrators section. The stuff of a little female in the western suburbs of Brisbane Queensland Australia’s dreams .

The competition involved illustrating the  first 2 chapters of a children’s early chapter book ” Sam Treasure :In the Whale’s Garden ” by Tina Marie Clarke . As usual my pictures ended up on the comic side . But hey , that’s my style .

So, without much further ado – presenting …….

“Sam Treasure – In the Whales Garden “by Tina Marie Clarke. Illustrations  by Sandy Flett

(The title page didn’t go in the comp but I had fun designing it … pretending I was a REAL illustrator kind of person )

 

IMG_1329

I was so wishing I didn’t have to draw a CATAMARAN !! FAR OUT- that was tough for me …

IMG_1330

IMG_1331

IMG_1332

This ones my fave – made me think like a kid again – which is not something I find difficult

 

 

 

IMG_1333

I had fun drawing the little creatures in the background observing Grandee  and Sam together at the controls

 

IMG_1334

The End !

In the next few days I’ll chat about my experiences with the publishing editors . It was pretty cool , can I just say .

Ciao

Sandy