Busy Times

It’s been quite a while since my last blog post as I’ve had a busy few months. They’ve been busy for several reasons, but the best reason is that we were planning a wedding! Last weekend Chris and I got married amongst family, friends and flowers. It was a wonderful day. I’m looking forward to things quietening down a little bit, and being able to have a bit more time and space to work on creative things. Good times ahead!

KidLitVic 2019

So it’s been about a week since KidLitVic 2019, I’ve had a busy week so this is my first chance to sit down and think about how it all went. It’s such a great conference, and a great opportunity to meet publishers, writers, and other illustrators involved in creating children’s literature. 

This year I had my folio on display at the Illustrators Showcase. This is my second time at the conference, and I felt much more confident than last year. When I was putting my folio together, I had a look at last years folio, and realised how much I’ve improved. I know I’ve got a long way to go, but it was certainly encouraging to see for myself that there’s been a big change. I think it’s hard to see that when you’re in the middle of it, so getting to step back and see where I was last year, and where I am now was a good process.

I also decided to do one masterclass and one assessment this year. First was the master class which was held by Donna Rawlins. It was about ways to get your portfolio to stand out, and to improve your work. There was so much really good information, and Donna is an entertaining speaker, so it was a great start to the day. My favourite part of her talk was her advice to look at other illustrators critically, and really think about why you like their work, what works and what doesn’t. Then taking those elements into your own practice. It made think about how I often get caught up in my own head a lot of the time, and that it’s good to look at what other people are doing, and why certain illustration/art styles speak to you.

Next was my assessment with Clair Hume from Affirm Press. It’s really hard to put your work out there for assessment. While I’d love to just get positive feedback I can recognise that that wouldn’t be helpful to me at this point. I need that push to make myself try new things, and get better, rather than becoming complacent. Clair had a lot of great suggestions and constructive feedback for me. We were able to talk about ways I can create more depth and movement into my images, and really elevate my work. It was helpful feedback and it’s given me a lot of things to think about and work on into the future.

Honestly I’ve been feeling a bit down about myself the last few months. I’ve been struggling to keep working as a freelancer and all the challenges that come with that. Being at the conference this year made me think about whether I want to keep pursuing illustrating children’s books. It feels hard to get a foothold in the industry, and there are a lot of other ways I can put my artwork out into the world now. But I love books so much, and reading stories. I love that I have one book out in the world, and I want to do more. 

Coming to the conference has given me some more direction for ways to improve, with some clear steps forward. And I’m excited to start working on that.

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