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 )

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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 .

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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

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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 !

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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

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

In the Whale’s Garden

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So, this little picture was drawn for my portfolio and inspired by the CYA illustration competition that I’ve been shortlisted in . ( still picking myself up off the floor about that one !?!)

The boy, Sam , is swimming with a Whale , in the Great Barrier Reef – much like I will be doing tomorrow when I meet with some book editors about my artwork ie -slightly apprehensive , excited , but hopefully not wet …from fear …

As God is in the business of miracles , I am  saying  my prayers for thick skin to grow in my body tonight .

See ya !

Sandy

Creativity and Jesus

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I just read this verse from the bible , ten minutes ago .

It’s talking about a guy in the bible called Paul who has an AMAZING story of being a murderous angry Jesus hating man , and completing turning his life to becoming a Jesus adoring dude . And this verse is from  about a section of his life when he  was being begged to stay in a certain town to keep on sharing his knowledge of Jesus, (which he probably would have loved to have done) , but instead , set sail for another place , Ephesus , saying as he left “I will come back if it is God’s will “.

His life was run by Jesus …..

I’m an artist , and I love Jesus too . I gave  my heart to Him when I was 10 – and I swear , that since I was that arty creative little girl , to now , being an arty 45 year old woman , Jesus has run  my life .When I have  let him .

“When I have let Him”  …..I haven’t always allowed Jesus to direct the way I live .

I have been anxious , like the little girl scared of the moon at night , worrying about which way my life will go .

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My daughter Tara, used to be scared of the moon  … a water colour illustration I did a few weeks ago for the 52 Week Illustration Challenge .

It’s so easy in our comfortable middle income Australian life , to try to run things our way . To try to control our anxiety ourselves . To try to run our lives by ourselves .

As an illustrator/artist, I have become used to creating my works – a gift I know comes from God . God has given me an amazing opportunity  in the last few months , to illustrate a book to help children with anxiety , written by an Associate Professor in Child Psychology at Griffith a University , here in Brisbane , Dr Allison Waters     . It’s called “Jessie and the Scaredy Cat Brain ” . God has also led me to paint portraits for people , portraits of people who have passed away , of pets they love . I know in my heart these opportunities come from Him – because they do something that blesses people and moves them to feelings of love and peace .

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A page from “Jessie and the Scaredy Cat Brain ” . Jessie is with Happy Cat looking at a situation with her teacher that can make her worried . I’ve put this one in my portfolio .

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Me and the lovely Zhulina with a portrait I painted of her father , an Afghani General who did in a plane crash when she was very young . Zhilina gave this portrait to her mother who now lives in Italy . Zhulina cried when she saw it .

However  ,  this gift of creativity gift that can also lead to a tendency to feel you can create and control your own way in life .

If I ran my life MY way , I would become an illustrator for children’s book that will be published and sold in shops and read by children across the land !

BUT , I also need to prioritise  God , first up , top of my list !

He is my good , kind , peaceful loving Heavenly Father . He wants the best for me . He wants me to share his love with other people .

With you in fact .

And so I have this morning – before I start a big start on my artwork for “Jessie ” today … which will likely be at least 8-10 hours of work , I’ve tried to put Jesus first .

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I’ve read Gods word , the Bible , and found the little verse I shared above , that has just jumped out at me from the page . And now , I feel compelled to share this blog post with you before I start work .

Finally , as the next big event in my life looms near ( only 3 days to go !) – the CYA conference , a conference for authors and illustrators of children and young adults and illustrators  . I have paid $100 a pop to meet with editors of BIG publishing companies -Penguin , Affirm , Black Dog Books and Hatchette , to get feedback and hopefully be contracted by one of them as an illustrator

But , God , I promise to you that I will trust that I will be lead by you .

“If it is Gods will ”

That’s my Theme .

Love to all

xxxooo Sandy

The feverish updating of an illustration portfolio

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I’m so excited !!!! I’m like a kid at Christmas time who still believes in Santa!!

This artwork is going in my portfolio for the Children and Young Adults author and illustrators conference . I’ve been burning the midnight candle/iPad working industriously and feverishly to get my portfolio ready for this BIG event .

More info to come later…

But watch this space as I share my portfolio entries with you all .