Big shoes to fill after Pamela Rushby’s piece in last month’s newsletter, I was there for her pitch and loved it, how exciting that it has now accepted now for publication!
My story goes back to 2010 when I was nursing in the area of Diabetes Education, a sad time as my brother was then diagnosed with mesothelioma (asbestos related lung cancer) and I said to myself. …...’what would I REALLY like to be doing in life?’ Well, I wanted to be an artist, not knowing what form that would take or which direction to go in, I stopped work and started drawing birds! As we had visited Bruny Island many times, it seemed possible to sell work on Bruny at a gallery in Dennes Point. A passing comment about illustrating caught my attention (it is amazing how one listens out for conversations and opportunities) and it was ‘game on’ from then on. I attended the 2012 Sydney Conference with no idea what I was doing, taking a portfolio of horses, goats, ducks, dogs, all very arty and well-drawn but not what is necessarily needed in publishing! It was a steep learning curve and even though I didn’t get many points for character development, narrative and visual quality, I was hooked.
Attending SCBWI meetings in Melbourne, Adelaide, Maldon and Sydney, putting my name down for assessments and hogging the only chair in the children’s literature section of Fullers Bookshop in Hobart (I am classed as a senior) I fell completely in love with this world.
I have finished illustrating two books now, and about 8 months after the 2014 Sydney meeting I was phoned by Brian Cook, a literary agent and asked if I would like to join his stable of illustrators. Well, I am amongst some esteemed company and although I have had discussions with NLA and Penguin, I am waiting for my third book to jump out at me. Getting your work out there and going to as much as possible is still vital, the hard work doesn’t and hasn’t stopped. So, I am now working on a new portfolio for a meeting in Melbourne in May with KidLitVic…….no horses, goats, ducks or dogs...well not as many.
Thank you to SCBWI for making my world so much fun! I love the support, friendships gained and the professionalism of all involved.