Category Archives: cats

Federation Square drawing and chatting tomorrow (13th June)

I might see you at Federation Square, if you are Melbourne based. Please say hi, if you are in the area. I’d love to see you.

I’m bringing a small number of limited edition prints to sell at the book stall along with signed books.

Below are some prints from the actual book, that will be for sale. And following them you’ll see some altered book prints which show the inspiration for the medium that was used in the book. But they also show the difference between the artificially created cream and the natural vintage book parchment.

My chance to sing lores JudyWatsonArt Ready Set Go lores JudyWatsonArt Thunder imprint page boat lores JudyWatsonArt Thunder opening spread seascape lores JudyWatsonArt

The parchment is naturally a much dirtier colour… which appeals to my inky nature, but the Allen & Unwin book designer Sandra Nobes very rightly recommended a clean cream for the book itself, and this is where PhotoShop was my ally. Thanks Sandra and PhotoShop.

tabby kitten lores JudyWatsonArt Cornish library tick cat lores JudyWatsonArt

Book Signing Phobia

Here’s a lesser known part of the job of being a drawing machine. When we sign books for people, it  is a nice thing for them if the signature comes with a little doodle, drawn for them, right before their very own eyes. And it’s nice to be able to do that for them. It makes us happy too. If it works.

But the inscription is done in pen and can’t be rubbed out or corrected.

And when we draw during the usual course of our day, we usually do many drafts of any illustration before we get it right.

And if we mess up our inscription doodle we have the problem of either sending a deplorable doodle out into the world defacing the otherwise pristine title page of a newly purchased book, or replacing the book with a new one… which we might also mess up.

Now remember that some of us are very temperamental drawing machines, the kind whose engines won’t start unless the key is turned in just the right particular way, may never run very well on a Tuesday, and if the oil runs low we are likely to smoke. You will now realise that the aforementioned anxieties at the back of our minds can cause a little fumble in the fingers; a wobble in the wrist; a twitch in the felt-tip… and then…

Doom!

That is why I am practising my book signatures today.

With Best Fishes

With Best Fishes – practising my book signing today and this is page four. Ahem. 

I have spoken to illustrators who say they won’t do it any more. They will write anything but won’t draw. (And I’m not even going to discuss the issue of spelling difficult names correctly… or easy names for that matter.)

I have spoken to illustrators who say ‘it’s important to make the mark.’

I have watched with awe, some illustrators who sign and doodle with ease.

I have watched with awe, one illustrator who was CLEVER enough to get a rubber stamp made up in advance! (Yes, OtherJude, that was very clever!)

And I have used my bookmark giveaways to circumvent this problem with some success. (It’s much less stressful to draw on a bookmark, than a $25 book.)

photo 1

Anyway, see you at the next book signing!

I’m ready.

I think.

Enjoy your bookmark!

Enjoy your bookmark!

Little Cats (or patience is a virtue)

I was led off the trail of birds this afternoon. I had an important task to complete that was overdue. Lisa S contacted me many months ago to ask about my Cornish Rex artwork and she has been waiting patiently in New York for a signed copy of Thunderstorm Dancing for a long time. Boy is she tired!

Because she has been waiting so long, she got some little bonuses in her bundle. Some Cornish doodles. Lisa has two Cornish Rex cats. One is black (Nigel). One is white (Finley).

Check out Finley with my Cornish Soliloquy drawing from last year.

Cornish Soliloquy cat

Here’s the title page from The Cornish Soliloquy

Finley

Here’s adorable Finley!

Today, I have finally wrapped up a signed copy of Thunderstorm Dancing for Lisa and it will go into the post tomorrow, bedecked with cats.

Tucked into the book:

White Cornish Rex on Endpapers JudyWatsonArt lores

A little white Cornish sketch painted on the endpapers of ‘The Book of British Villages’. I was going to paint him on a map of Cornwall, but I got engrossed in this one instead.

Black cat white cat

The little white cat with his friend the black cat, drawn on a (terrible) 1980s dress pattern

Thunderstorm Dancing all wrapped up:

wrapped copy of Thunderstorm Dancing

Ready for the post bag

And finally, a doodle on the envelope:

cat parcel awaiting stamps

parcel ready for stamps

When I was at the post office a few days ago, the only stamps they had were husky dogs… That’s not going to go down well! Fingers crossed there are some stamps there tomorrow that are more feline friendly.

Illustrated Envelopes

Betty Birthday lores

Betty’s birthday letter

Pa Ray birthday letter

Ray’s birthday letter

Hugo bugs and chickens

Hugo’s letter, just because he loved this envelope so much. What could I do?

I’ve always loved illustrated envelopes and illustrated packages. For an earlier mention go here. But now I am lucky enough to own a book full of them, thanks to my friend Geri Barr who gave me one just because I like them…

Or was it because she has a secret agenda? Perhaps she buys them for all of her illustrator friends and is right now amassing a HUGE and VALUABLE (requires all caps) collection of illustrated envelopes addressed to her. Aha! That’s it!

I wonder if it’s too late to copy her… Geri, you devil.

If you don’t have lots of illustrator friends who are willing to be duped, you can buy a copy of the book, and I’ve just now found another one that I will have to buy! Oh my goodness!  Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer

Some interesting things I was able to confirm while I experimented with illustrating standard (yes, cheap) envelopes:

• Wet media make your standard (cheap) envelopes buckle in an alarming way (but pencils and felt tips are great and very portable)

• Home made envelopes would be really, really special and you could make them from thick watercolour paper and use whatever media your heart desires.

• Illustrated envelopes look okay when they are drawn (and coloured – optional) but look so much better, after the address goes on. Unfortunately I can’t publish them on-line with the lettering intact because that would be rude to recipients. But you can take my word for it. If you want to.

• Choice of stamp can be crucial to success. If you live with a stamp collector, you’re set. If you don’t, you have to go to the post office and ask the people behind the counter to show you their REAL stamps which are hidden in a drawer. They will look a bit annoyed. Be prepared.

• All this is just dandy until you realise that you can’t send an empty envelope. After all the time you spent laboriously illustrating an envelope for your friend, you now have to write a letter! Or send them a cheque if you have more money than time. But do this quickly, cheques will be extinct even before  REAL stamps.

Enjoy envelope decorating, and letter writing if you can find some time, because it is very satisfying, and ever so much fun to receive one.

 

Bologna Children’s Book Fair, here I come!

Oh boy! My air ticket is about to be booked for this!

http://www.bookfair.bolognafiere.it/en/home/878.html

240314 - fiera internazionale del libro per ragazzi - - foto Nucci/Benvenuti UFFICIO_STAMPA01

I can’t quite believe it. I’m letting myself be swept along and away.

Thunderstorm Dancing will be going on a holiday to meet lots of people at the fair, and one of the spreads from the book will be featured in the Hello From Australia exhibition, organised by Books Illustrated.

I’ll be helping set up the stand with Ann James and Ann Haddon and generally loitering about with my eyes out on stalks. And I’ll have a stint or two doing drawing demonstrations, which should be fun. The only shame is that the fair is for book industry folk and is not open to the public so I won’t have any children coming to visit. I love the conversations that happen with children when I am drawing for them.

There will be several other Australian children’s authors and illustrators there too (and the numbers are rising). And intriguing lectures. Some of last year’s ones were called things like:

Not for girls, neither for boys: free novels to grow up freely

The universal language of fairy tales


Stories and lines
(in the Illustrator’s Café… I might spend a bit of time there)


How to Animate Your Children Story
(meaning to turn it into an animation)

Illustration beyond the page
(What happens when illustration leaves the book and expands to new worlds. From children’s plays on dogs and hyenas, to body painting the Book of Ester.)

The Future of Education is already here: Literature for Children and Young People in the Cloud


Writing for children, a different outlook on the world


Show us your illustration!

And many, many more. So I am looking forward to some great conversations and much inspiration.

I’ll also get time to pop down and visit my friend David Capon in Puglia, Southern Italy, here. Wow! How beautiful is Casa della Scrittrice?

Trulli houses from my-italy-piedmont-marche-and-more dot com

This is Puglia. Those trulli remind me of a scene I absolutely loved in The Horse and his Boy by C S Lewis. Does anyone remember the scene where Shasta is outside the walls of the city of Tashbaan, alone amongst the tombs and the sun goes down? A cat comes and keeps him company. (The cat is Aslan in disguise of course.) I just LOVE a magical cat.

One of the beautiful illustrations by Pauline Baynes

One of the beautiful illustrations by Pauline Baynes

Actually they also remind me of another favourite book, Tomi Ungerer’s The Three Robbers.

At the end of the book, the three robbers build an orphanage with domes the same shape as their hats.

At the end of the book, the three robbers build an orphanage with domes the same shape as their hats.

It’s a busy time. More soon.

 

 

Cartoon Cornish

Comic Cornish Judy Watson Art lores

The Scribble Cornish of yesterday, became a fully drawn and painted Cartoon Cornish after dinner last night. I started out to do an inky depiction, with wet edges, to suggest the fuzz, as per all of my work this year really. Fast and loose… But strangely I found myself taking the unprecedented step of using a sharpened Prismacolour pencil to draw in some detail, as the Prismacolour Artstick was frustrating me by going off rather too wildly on its own tangents.

And although, this picture is not exactly as I would want it, I have to say, I quite enjoyed being careful… relatively careful… for a few moments :-)

Anyway, Mr Cornish salutes you.

 

Cornish clock-watching

cornish watching fish judywatsonart loresNo time to talk today. Here’s the Cat Called Thunder watching a flying fish… or is he watching the clock?

Two pictures to complete and then all is done!