Category Archives: Events

Thunderstorm Dancing, coming soon

Hello! It looks like you can pre-order a copy of Thunderstorm Dancing now on Booktopia. And probably lots of other places too.

Plans are afoot to have some celebrations throughout April to mark the release of Thunderstorm Dancing, and I’ll post more on that soon.

Huzzah!

Thunderstorm Dancing by Katrina Germein, illustrated by Judy Watson. To be published in April 2015

Thunderstorm Dancing by Katrina Germein, illustrated by Judy Watson. To be published in April 2015

Wet your toes!

Wet your toes!

 

PAPERWORK

You’ve heard it said that creative types are not much good at paperwork? I’d like to say that doesn’t apply to me. Unfortunately I can’t. (I’m no good at vacuuming, or baked goods either.)

My passport expired over 10 years ago, which means I have to apply for a new one and supply lots of bits of PAPERWORK proving that I am who I am. And some of the ones I have to provide (like my birth certificate) were not to be found earlier today, which meant that I had to apply for a new one. Guess what? You have to provide lots of OTHER PAPERWORK to prove who you are to get a replacement birth certificate!

I found myself thinking how it would be if your house burnt down and you couldn’t prove who you were because your PAPERWORK was burnt to a crisp, and your computer… That would be the perfect time for my family to disown me, wouldn’t it? If they pretended they didn’t know me, I wouldn’t be able to prove they were pretending.

But you can all stop worrying. Mum and Dad (who haven’t disowned me yet) found my birth certificate and it turns out I really am their child.

Here are some photos; the only ones I can find, because Scott has put all the photos in the roof.

Mal in uniform with Jess

Here’s Dad, and Grandma, when Dad was a fine young lad in the Navy during WW2.

IMGP4011

Here’s me in Canberra, at the museum a few years back. This is completely random and proves nothing. I could be lying.

And last of all, here are some chicken sketches, because the boys and I are taming Hazel’s friend Princess Leia and it takes lots of after school chicken cuddling. She is a Bantam Australian Langshan and not a naturally tame person. Probably an artistic type.

Taming Leia dont catch me lo-res

Princess Leia sees us coming… Just DON’T!!

Princess Leia finding this whole thing rather alarming

Princess Leia finding this whole BEING HELD thing rather alarming

Oh, but wait... Arthur has found her weakness. It's a chin tickle!

Oh, but wait… Arthur has found her weakness. It’s a chin tickle!

Hazel finds it all very amusing

Hazel finds it all very amusing

And up on the left you see a little exploration into clothes/feathers territory. For Leonard Doesn’t Dance. It was really, really nice to sit down with the boys in the chicken run and draw birds at the end of the day. My brain was all rumpled from all that paperwork.

Now it’s only Leia who’s rumpled.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Bird Doodles during HarperCollins Author Workshop

I like to think I was being wonderfully efficient with my time last Friday afternoon at the HarperCollins Author Workshop Day. (Lordy!) After doing the blobs on the train going to the event, I doodled on with these birds during the presentations as well as taking notes!

I’m not sure I needed to take so many notes, but the doodles were a continuation of some character development for a HarperCollins picture book I will be working on over this coming summer. So that seems quite appropriate really.

Leonard doodles2 judywatsonart lores

The bird will sort himself out without too much trouble, because he’s kind of there in spirit already, even though his appearance does morph quite a lot. But what I’m interested in particularly is how to depict the legs, making them as versatile as possible for doing all sorts of things that birds don’t generally do in the common suburban back yard (like dancing the polka), and not getting bogged down by actual bird anatomy, whilst also not offending my own sense of birdishness by having ‘knees’ facing the wrong way or anything.

I can’t seem to help that. My dad is a vet. Sometimes I look up the skeletons of the animals I am drawing.

Leonard doodles judywatsonart lores

I do want this particular bird to have big feet if possible. There’s a reason. But I don’t want them to hamper the drawings either. So I will be playing around with options and we’ll see where we get to. In this second page, you see me having the wild idea of fat legs!

I’m not sure if this could work in moderation, or whether it might offend my aforementioned sense of birdishness…

 

Blobby bookmarks

Last weekend was the Warrnambool Books Children’s Book Festival in celebration of the bookshop’s 30th anniversary. I was a guest illustrator on Friday and did a school visit at St Joseph’s Primary School before a book signing at the family owned bookshop.

While I was there, I decided to mix up two ideas from other clever illustrators. I have seen Jude Rossell giving out bookmarks with small illustrations on them at illustrator events. And Alexis Deacon has described his fun practice of painting or drawing blobs and then turning them into something here and here and most awesomely here.

I was just after something simple and quick to do in between signing books, so mine were pretty basic but the kids loved them. Here are some of the bookmarks I did the next day at home, simply because they were so much fun. In fact it was rather hard to stop!

photo 1

photo 3

photo 2

photo 2-1

photo 1-1

They take about one minute each.

• First paint a pale grey-brown blob with some interesting projections and bumps.

• Then paint a few more while the first one dries.

• Go back to the dry blob and add a few lines with a felt tip pen to turn it into whatever springs to mind.

• Finally, add a touch of colour if you want to. (I didn’t do this to many of them in the bookshop. They were very simple.)

My two boys joined in with great enthusiasm and did some fabulous ones. It is a good activity to do with kids, and taps into their wonderful imaginations. In the case of my two boys, it was fun to see how they formed an alliance whereby Arthur would paint the blobs, and then after they dried, would ask Hugo what the blob should be. Hugo, with barely a split second’s hesitation would say: ‘That’s a pig blowing a trumpet. That’s a fish with legs. That’s a cow shouting.’ And so on. Arthur happily drew them after that.

Like me, they found it hard to stop once started :-)

Greyfur the fairytale kangaroo

Here are some first quick studies of Greyfur the grey kangaroo for the Puppet Challenge as requested by the maestro, Clive Hicks-Jenkins. Lovely to begin drawing this layered fairytale character (she’s feisty and brave but also soft and loyal) but it’s quite likely I may go in another direction altogether… he he. Big Bad Wolves always appeal to me for some reason. And then there’s my old favourite, Angela Carter and her wonderful fairytale renditions. The Courtship of Mr Lyon, and The Tiger’s Bride too. Fabulous. And then there’s Puss in Boots!

It does occur to me that the design of any character would be very different for a glove puppet as compared to a shadow puppet or a marionette. Aaah! Decisions. I’ll just squeeze some sketching here and there in between my desperate pre-Christmas attempts to get further with Thunderstorm Dancing, and no doubt the puppet will evolve of its own volition in the end. Things usually do.

I am so hooked on drawing in vintage book pages now. They are so warm and welcoming. It’s hard to draw on anything else! By the way, the first sketches are done with a Prismacolour pencil in ‘artstick’ form. I love Prismacolour pencils, and the other day I discovered these blocks that look like conté sticks, but are not smudgy like conté. I’m using it for Thunderstorm Dancing and really enjoying it.

Greyfur study1 Greyfur study2 Greyfur study3 Greyfur study4 Greyfur study5 ink Greyfur study6 ink

Puppet Challenge at the Artlog

Puppet Challenge! Hooray!

Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

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Hello Peter Slight here, curator of the Artlog Puppet exhibition with the details of the challenge!

As Clive mentioned in his introductory post, the theme is ‘Folktales, Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends’, a subject close to many of our hearts and hopefully one that will stir some interest and fire imaginations! You can choose a timeless classic, a little known gem or a half-forgotten fable. Inspiration will be the fuel that gets you through this challenge. Just choose whichever story you feel like conjuring up a character for in puppet form.

There’s no restriction on the materials or puppet type, as I would like contributors to be free to express themselves and their ideas in whichever ways they feel are best suited to the task. This challenge can be as simple or complicated as you care to make it. Hopefully we can bounce a few ideas off of each other…

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