We began with our usual Show and Tell session celebrating six member successes and new publications. This session is always so inspiring as it often reveals the backgrounds of new publications and the serendipitous and innovative ways some creators bring their work to attention of publishers, the industry etc.
Our first speaker, the lovely and talented Marjory Gardner, revealed how Flexibility (and saying ‘Yes,’) is Key to this industry and to a number of her successes and experiences, such as flying around the Pilbara and judging competitions. ‘Often when you say yes to one thing it serendipitously leads on to other things.’
Marjory shared her journey over thirty years from her beginning illustrating educational readers to trade publications, using her love of pattern and colour and filling up the page. The same principles she uses in her gorgeous, colourful illustrations today.
Ann James, beloved narrative artist of over 60 books including Little Humpty, Lucy Goosey and The Way I Love You, showed us how Illustration is a Catalyst to Story. For Ann collecting and DIY is very important. She was encouraged as a child to play, build and make. Poor eyesight as a child led her to really look at things. Ann seeks inspiration in other illustrator’s work too, rendering beautiful images that really show colours, textures and shapes. Ann shared some of her process and the wonderful, varied experiences that art has brought to her life and work. Her tactile way of working generates ideas, including through illustrating and creating clay characters.
Of course next, we indulged in our usual delicious afternoon tea and all important tete-a-tete, networking chat time, catching-up with friends and meeting some new ones among our constantly growing membership.
We were then privileged to hear from charming and entertaining artist, Leigh Hobbs, our current Australian Children’s Laureate, who revealed ‘everything to do with my work is to do with character.’ He also shared the secret to Old Tom’s origins, not the version he tells kids. An ex-secondary school teacher, Leigh said that teaching has provided him with a lifetime of ideas. He doesn’t write for kids but for himself. He believes in kid’s logic.
Leigh kept us laughing with his humorous anecdotes, his delightful, self-effacing, manner and sincere honesty regarding his process and love of combining art with literature. I loved his closing sentence, ‘In your heart, those special kids/moments are what keep you going.’
We rounded off a fantastic afternoon and year by adjourning to Father’s Office Speakeasy Bar & Restaurant for Christmas drinks and more network chat and socialising. (Plus some yummy finger food. Thanks, Caz Goodwin.)
After our SCBWI Vic planning meeting today, we have a really exciting program emerging for 2017. Lots of great industry and member speakers and a really great program. Stay tuned, dates and more info will be revealed in the New Year.