Australia A to Z
I just realised (possibly very belatedly of me) that July is a super special month – with two of my books out, and BOTH FEATURING ECHIDNA/HEDGEHOG GUYS!! What the….?!
Dreaming of Australia A to Z was actually finished a long time ago, but is finally here and celebrates all of my favourite Australian flora, fauna and colours… It was so much fun to create and out with Windy Hollow very soon.
There’s Only One Dad Like You is my follow up to TOOMLY with Affirm Press and is all about the brilliance of dads. I’m so proud of it and can’t wait to share more soon too!
Still wondering how I ended up with two of my own authored books both featuring similar animals on the cover! Ha! I hope you enjoy reading them…
Gosh it has been a whirlwind of a year – books, kids, all sorts of goings on, and it doesn’t look like things will calm down any time very soon! However, on the weekend I did my first Big Design Market and I had a ball launching new products I’ve been working on over the last few months – tea towels and silk scarves! These are now available on my Etsy shop and I was so chuffed to have them on my stand on the weekend.
My poor blog is neglected, but a good sign of how busy things are. I did manage, after several months to make a newsletter today – you can read it here with some my latest news. Including details of this new pin!
I am super excited to the extreme to join literary agency Bell Lomax Moreton as one of their illustrators. I’m a huge fan of the work from their stable of authors and illustrators and I’m looking forward to the new opportunities this will be bring.
So it’s been a crazy year, and this is my third book for the year. What the? Considering how much work they take, its crazy they all ended up in the first few months of the year, but there you go. There will be one more in a few months, but until then, I’m going to enjoy the release of this one, Love Was Hiding by Jennifer Loakes, illustrated by me, and published by Windy Hollow.
To explain this book, I thought I’d share a bit of an overview from the press release and some images…
Love was Hiding is a picture book that showcases a child discovering the love that his mother puts in to the every day caring tasks. From neatly tying shoelaces, to patiently waiting at the bottom of the slide; from patching up a skinned knee, to running a bubbly bath, the story highlights the sometimes hidden ‘acts of service’ that mothers so lovingly do for their children.
Through each turn of the page, children will feel the warmth of their mothers love. Younger children will enjoy the beautiful soft illustrations, and follow the adorable rabbit family in the story. Older readers will relate to the day-in-the-life of the sweet child rabbit and learn more about their mother’s love.
A heartfelt picture book that will be treasured by both mothers and children, Love was Hiding is perfect for ages 3 and upwards.
The book had only 90 words or thereabout and it was tricky at first trying to work out how to communicate visually the beautiful concept of a parent’s love being there even if they are not. I ended up combining watercolours, iPad illustrations and Photoshop to create a kind of mystical rainbow (!) and a starry theme to the bunny’s world. I feel really happy with the outcome and hope if you track one down you enjoy it x
Yesterday I had my first crack of presenting to adults a bit about my life as a freelance illustrator and working as a book illustrator, and surprisingly – it was fun (for me at least!). I felt like I had heaps to say, after a long road (working in publishing for ten years, and then taking on freelance illustration life over the past 6 years).
The lovely SCBWI team in Victoria run quarterly events with authors, illustrators, and people working in the industry, and they are always inspiring. I was speaking alongside the knowledgable, engaging and lovely Kaye Baillie (who taught us all about her research process for her books) and inspiring, talented and also lovely Melissa Kiel (an experienced publisher/editor AND award winning writer!). I think it would crash my site to load my whole slide presentation (!) but here’s a little soundless video of my process (and please ignore the ridiculous amount of unread emails in my email account in background!!). It may make no sense, but perhaps to some illustrators as I shared my process working between digital and watercolours, using Photoshop and Kyle’s Brushes, layers, blending modes and mucking about.
Hullo! In April a new book is coming out, a book all about the senses, written by my pal Tania McCartney and published by EK Books! It features all the same characters of the first book Smile Cry – and that same clever flip-over format. Fun! My lovely partner and kids made a soundtrack for a little video about the book you can see here, and here are a couple of my favourite images from the book…
You can purchase the book from your local bookshop or from EK Books. Thank you!
I have been a busy monkey this past month, but I just sent out a newsletter with all the latest. You can read it here if you are so inclined… here’s a little slice.
And so on!
You can also sign up to my news each month (I’m a bit more disciplined about my newsletter than here!), just add your details here. Thanks!
Happy Year of the Dog! I have recently worked on a new picture book celebrating dogs, the Chinese zodiac and explaining about some of the animal/personality traits. This weekend in Melbourne we are having a little party for the book and to celebrate the Year of the dog!
2017 was such a big year for my work – I wanted to make a note for myself for some of the new illustration projects that really made my year…
- Birds – I loved creating little watercolours for sale on Instagram, and this lead to new things like prints and bird pins (more on those later)
- Books – I finished FIVE PICTURE BOOKS!! It’s pretty amazing how much I cranked out considering I only had two official days a week to work (but kind of made up hours double that – nights, naps, weekends etc)
- Markets – due to babies, I had a few years off markets but it was really fun and rewarding to do Finders Keepers again and meet online clients and friends face to face, and just chat and sell my work. Super fun.
- New opportunities – I started working with a card agent who works with overseas companies and I am going to begin a range with a UK client, who are awesome.
- iPad – this wasn’t exactly a project but I was nervous spending the money on one late 2016, and it has become invaluable in my work practice.
- Pins! I was thinking about doing one for ages, but was too nervous to invest in a run which only really works with 100 or more. But since then, I’ve done something like 8 designs and they’ve all sold out! So much fun creating new bird pin designs and sharing online, and of course wearing.
Finally, While my poor little bloggy crawled to the finished line in 2017, I was busy loading all my recent projects and busy bits and bobs on INSTAGRAM – its such a happy little place for artists to share! My page is https://www.instagram.com/jessesmess/ and you can see all my latest work there. In the mean time, here was my “top nine” Insta posts for 2017.
Big thanks for reading, now I have to start musing on 2018…. Hmm, next blog post.