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.
I’m excited (and nervous) that next weekend the mighty Finders Keepers is on, and I’m going to be there! I’ve been a part of this amazing market every few years (in between kids!) and to be back in their tenth anniversary year is super special.
My studio is a bomb site of artworks being prepared for the event – prints, little originals, cushions sewn by my mum, and lots of other goodies. Come find me!
A long time dream has been doing a Christmas book, and it is now complete! A new book with Windy Hollow called Merry Everything is being released in October, and it was so fun to work on. Tania McCartney wrote a beautiful book and it was so fun drawing animals in Christmassy action around the world.
Tania made this lovely animation with all the art from the book, and details on the book launch are below.
It’s the first day of Spring, and the release day for If Baby Could Talk, my new book written by Michael Wagner and published by Windy Hollow. It was super fun to work on as my baby was just the right age to model for me for this book, and was learning to walk as I was painting walking babies… hurrah!
If Baby Could Talk
If Baby Could Talk
If you are at a loose end tomorrow, we are launching this book at The Little Bookroom at 3pm, with champagne, cupcakes, balloons and hurrahs!
My poor bloggy has been a bit neglected, but not through me not having anything to write. IT’S BEEN A MANIC FEW MONTHS! But in a good way (although many colds and flus – not so good too).
However… Two new book covers have been released, with the books coming out with Windy Hollow both in September!
First of all is If Baby Could Talk, written by the wonderful Michael Wagner. I’m so excited about this book, it was just so fun and easy to work on, and can’t wait to see it in person. Windy Hollow shared this sneak peek….
And following that in late September will be my first Christmas book, with my dear pal and colleague (having now worked on three books together!), Tania McCartney. I didn’t realise until now how the covers are similar colours! But the content is quite different, this one all about animals rather than kiddos, and it’s a really fun concept Tania created.
I am just sooooo happy that I have been able to keep creating kids books… A dream I’ve had since I was a kid. Looking forward to sharing these in more detail soon. x
After many years of wanting to do one of these, I finally got an enamel pin designed – and no surprises, it is a Superb Blue Fairywren! Pretty happy to have these up in my shop now, and wearing them around!