SkADaMo Day Three

November 4th, 2013

A quickey for day three…

skad day 3 copy

SkADaMo Days One and Two

November 3rd, 2013

DAY ONE – I am very worn out and I think my sketch kind of shows this…

 skad day 1 copysml

 DAY TWO  –  A little frustrated with all of the extra noise around the house this weekend, I am also very tired keeping up with my son’s shift work. See I can hardly wax lyrical…

skad day 2copy

SkADaMo is similar to PiBoidMo and NanoWriMo. The month of November is overflowing with challenges for the creative mind.

SkADaMo is Sketch A Day Month and as the mane suggests I will be doing a two minute sketch… or trying to every day this month.

Jacque

Too Much?

October 28th, 2013

149341_10150842669871376_360692873_n

 

This blog is called Jacque’s Mind Wanderings, I think it should be called The Ramblings of an Idiot sometimes.

Let me show you.

This morning I got the boys off to work and school, did my quota of writing and then at 7am decided to go back to bed for an hour or two, I was exhausted. In that 2 hour period I had at least 5 different dreams. By the way, my friend Stasia makes incredible licorice when she stays in resorts – I think this one was on the moon??? Isn’t it strange that in our dreams we often visit the same landscape or buildings, I can’t tell you how many times I have been on a particular escalator in a particular shopping centre. The escalator is so long, it goes on and on, and the entire dream is often played out on it. Often when I am on the escalator it is with someone new, if it isn’t, I ask the person with me ‘ Do you remember what happened last time we were here?’ and they never do… maybe because it is my dream?

So any way after I had my 5 dreams and the cat laying all over me I thought I had better get busy and go to the art studio to finish my artworks for next week’s exhibition… four hours later and I’m still not there. I have however created labels for the exhibition, name, title, medium,, size and pricing with the 30% commission, and I have now sent off it to the gallery. This morning I have also submitted a picture book manuscript to an agent in New York, tidied a pile of papers at the side of my desk and come up with 5 new picture book ideas. I have visited friends on Facebook and solved the problems of the world. But I SHOULD be painting. Even as I sit here and write this to you I am procrastinating aren’t I? Now that I have shared that with you I can stop talking to myself and go paint, thanks for listening.

I’m going now, could you tell I’ve had three coffees in four hours – NO?

P.S. Here is the invite to my exhibition…

 (Im)Possibilities

 

Jacque XX

Stop! Halt! Hit the Brakes!

October 2nd, 2013

stop-95477_640

So… who’s feeling like an IDIOT?

Me

PiBoIdMo is November!!!! Not October….

BUT that doesn’t mean you can sit back and do nothing all month – NO WAY.

You have an entire month to read as many picture books as you can, paint something, write something or make up a new brilliant recipe…. that last one is if you send some to me to sample OK.

Yours truly

The Over Eager Idiot 🙄

October is PiBoIdMo Time!

October 2nd, 2013

piboidmo2013-slogan-490x301

 

It is already the 2nd of the month on this side of the world and I am up to idea #2…

If you would like to join in the fun and come up with 31 picture book ideas in 31 days just click on the picture above and it will take you to Tara Lazar’s very cool website to register.

OR

If you like you could use the challenge to come up with 31 random ideas for ‘stuff’ during the 31 days – you choose. Ask some friends to join you and form your own idea group.

Jacque

PiBoIdMo Hop

October 1st, 2013

Tara Lazar    [Writing for Kids (While raising them)]  founder of PiBoIdMo [Picture Book Idea Month] and author of the fabulous picture books ‘The Monstore’, ‘I Thought this was a Bear Book’ and ‘Little Red Gliding Hood’ has invited me to be part of her blog hop and answer four questions, I am thrilled to bits about it.

the monstore

I love just about everything about Picture Books, as an art-form I think they rock. I am also in awe and a little in love with a whole group of very talented picture book writers and illustrators.

I have been fortunate enough to become friends with so many of them and I meet new ones all of the time through PiBoIdMo  and the online 12×12 both of which I have mentioned before.

1. What am I currently working on? … Well the list is extensive – thanks to PiBoIdMo 2012 and 12×12.  [links back to an earlier blog]

Each month I write at least the first draft of one [more likely 3] picture books. They are rough, but to me, their mother, exciting. I won’t go into detail as there are simply too many but I will tell you about another current picture book project close to my heart.

In a couple of months Wombat Books is releasing ‘The Bear Said Please’ my first published picture book. It has been a long journey for my bear and he has become part of the family. I wrote, roughly illustrated the story, and made a picture book dummy all in a couple of days then sent it off to Penguin. Months and months later I received a rejection letter that made me cry – I WAS SO HAPPY… they loved the story… but the marketing team wasn’t so sure it was timely. I FELT GREAT!

My computer

My computer

By this time I was onto other projects and didn’t get round to doing anything with the story so it sat lonely and dejected in a drawer for a couple of years. Friends kept reminding me it was there, I was too busy L eventually I pulled it out and dusted it off and sent it to Wombat Books a fairly new Australian publisher. A year later, I received a contract via email. In the mean time I had finished the illustrations [twice] and was considering self-publishing. Now I had a contract,

I AM GOING TO BE A

PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!!!

TBSP card

As a promotion for the release of my book I have been busy pattern making and sewing. Through my website I am going to run a promotion. If a reader pre-orders a signed copy of the book they get free postage and their name goes into a draw to win one of ten handmade bears. So sew, sew, sew… The bears look just like my illustration and I am so pleased. The bears are very cuddly too.

Bears-media

2. How does it differ from other works in the genre? I’m not sure it does differ. It is for very young children with repeated words like up, down and around. It is a rhyming story about a hungry bear that learns to use his manners. The illustrations are simple.  I really don’t know what to compare it to, all I know is that the bear needs a hug – cue the soft toys I am making.

3. Why do I write what I do? Well I write what I would like to read – simple.

4. What is the hardest part about writing? Oh I have lots of answers for this one.

  • My fingers get tired.
  • It is really difficult to drive a car and write at the same time.
  •  Other stories interrupt my thoughts when I am trying to concentrate.
  • Seriously though I failed high school English [nearly anyway], my teacher belittled me in front of the entire year group, so to me the hardest part of writing is confidence or lack of it. Even though I have found success with my writing I still have Mrs. Jenkins in the back of my mind saying horrible things to me.
  • The other difficult thing is following through on ONE project. I get sidetracked with other stories and get excited about them… I need to finish, finish, finish, one project at a time.

Now to tag some friends for you to visit….

 

:mrgreen:   I have met Teresa Robeson through 12×12, lives in Indiana USA and this is her first year doing PiBoIdMo I am sure she will come away with way more than her allotted 30 ideas. I have discovered Teresa is a science geek, home farmer and preserve bottler, and an avid Dr Who fan. She has been writing for children since 1991, and for adults since 1994, with her published works appearing in Babybug, Ladybug, the SCBWI Bulletin, and other places. She has taken a number of courses and classes from Institute of Children’s Literature, Gotham Writers’ Workshop, and various authors and illustrators. With the camaraderie of three critique groups, she continues to write for all ages from babies to adults, with a preference for speculative fiction and nonfiction. More about her can be found at http://teresarobeson.com

:mrgreen:   Saba N Taylor is a teacher by day and a writer by night. Her stories are inspired by her charming childhood and the awesome children she teaches and cares for. She runs a blog, The Family-Ship Experience where she writes reviews for children’s books, interviews authors and so much more. Saba is published in three anthologies as well as four teacher study guides that accompany novels published Al-Walaa Publications and Muslim Writers Publishing. Saba is currently working/editing a few of her favorite manuscripts and hopes to one day find a good home for them. When she isn’t teaching or writing, she is attached to her camera snapping photos of everything under the sun (and moon :D)  

:mrgreen:   Chitra Sounder started  writing poetry in Tamil when she was 14. She went on to write in Hindi and English as well. During her years in Junior College, she wrote songs for puppet shows for her school magazines. She won the Best Poetry Award in Junior College. In 1999, she moved to Singapore, to work as a programmer in a bank. That was when she decided to go back to writing. Her first choice was writing for children and after ten years of learning the craft and the business, she is proud to have published over 20 titles and hopes to keep writing for a long time. Currently she lives in London, where she works in a bank and writes children’s books in all the free time she can get. Some of Chitra’s titles are “Balu’s Basket’ “Where is Gola’s Home’ and ‘As I Wish’

Blog Hopping

September 14th, 2013

 

Hopping down the bunny trail, wiggling my bunny tail – I wish. No bunny tail here. It’s not even Easter.

What? It’s not a bunny hop?

Ohhhh, a BLOG HOP, right.

blog hop

My picture book writing buddy Sue Frye tagged me for the blog hop and has given me nine questions, and asked me to answer three or more. I will then tag some unsuspecting friends inviting them to answer their choice of the nine questions. This Blog hop has been travelling around the world and has hopped the pond from the United States so I added Roos’.

Here are the nine questions: 1. What are you working on right now? 2. How does it differ from other works in its genre? 3. What experiences have influenced you? 4. Why do you write what you do? 5. How does your writing process work? 6. What is the hardest part about writing? 7. What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet? 8. Who are the authors you most admire? 9. What scares you?

 question

So, here go my answers….

Question 1: What am I working on right now – The question should be ‘What are you not working on right now Jacque?’ Busy, brain dead and beat, is how I would describe myself at the moment. My ‘To Do’ list is out of this world. As this blog hop has been passed from writer to writer I digress to add some arty content.

I am supposed to have my solo exhibition for the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery finished and ready to go. Titled For the Love of (Im) Possibilities – Daring to Defy Urban Experience. It is nearing completion, which is great *cue clapping.  

New Year

Sadly, one month earlier than this Exhibition  is the Innisfail Biennial Art Exhibition, this is something I have worked very hard to co-ordinate over the past six years [I have help from my sister on this]. The sad part is, I have been SO busy with other things I have NO artwork to enter. We usually attract about 300 entries from across the country for the prize money in sixteen categories.

My writing, well I am really enjoying that. In May 2014 I have a picture book The Bear Said Please coming out, published by Wombat Books I have recently returned from two writers conference/festivals in Brisbane and Perth and learned many new things. I am also very busy writing picture book stories submitting to OS agents each month as part of a 12×12 writing challenge and yesterday I sent off a story to Penguin *fingers crossed.

TBSP card

Did you know, not only can a person polish furniture, but you can polish writing too? I think I am getting better at it.

Question 4. Looks good: Why do you write what you do?

Simple answer, I like to write and paint what I like, what I enjoy. If I don’t like it, firstly, I won’t enjoy creating it and who wants a job they hate – right! And most importantly, it won’t be my best work. When I write and paint I don’t have a sale in mind, I love that baby and nurture it, watch it grow… I want to keep it.

*Deep and meaningful alert ** I have been giving a lot of thought lately to the craft. What I have decided is it doesn’t matter if you are a visual artist, a musician or a writer, you must first learn the craft, the rules, then, when you are proficient you add yourself and it becomes an art.

Question ummmm,…how about I answer questions 5,6,7,8,and 9, all at once. My writing process and my painting process are very similar, hard to describe, but very similar. When I am in my zone it feels like I am doing breast stroke through multi coloured jelly, I won’t sink so there is no fear of drowning, it feels good. Both art forms have words and images, they come into my head together and lead the other by the hand as they skip along my canvas or screen. Music plays a big part in my creativity and often tiny pieces of song lyrics appear woven through layers of paint. I have an extensive playlist that covers Beethoven and ACDC. One of my favorite musicians is a guy I met in France by chance {I’m a poet and didn’t know it} Bob Devan have a gander at his website and get yourself one of his CDs.

bettystelepathic  Bob has sound clips on his site and this song is one of my favorites, have a listen.

The hardest thing I find is to stay focused. I can honestly say as a result of having a mind that travels while I am trying to concentrate is that there is nothing as a writer that I haven’t tried yet, nor as a visual artist – oh wait, yes there is as a visual artist I haven’t set up an installation of myself naked in public [nor will I so rest easy]. As far as authors I most admire, I am fortunate to be friends with most of them. [OK I’ve met them, once, alright I waved] But Dr Seuss and Edward Lear are my all-time favorite writers. I worship Walt Disney and thought for many years my inspiration to paint was from watching a beret and smock wearing Bugs Bunny, but NO it turned out to be Peter Russell-Clarke whom I was fortunate enough to paint for the Archibald art prize last year.

Last question… what scares me? Long answer… I failed high school English, my teacher hated me I am sure. When asked what I would like to be when leaving school she told me [in front of the entire year] that I should settle for a job at Kmart as that is all I could aspire to. – Thanks Mrs Jenkins for the motivation.

But I am terrified I will be discovered as a fraud.

Well that’s all folks…

I’m tagging my good friends

Tanja Bauerle    http://tanjabauerle.com/  Author and illustrator of books for children

Monique McDonell      http://moniquemcdonell.weebly.com/blog.html Romance writer – mmwaa big kiss

And

Cheryse Durrant    http://cherysedurrant.com/ Young adult urban fantasy

Give the girls a week or so and pop on over to their blogs to check out what they are up to – trust me they’re awesome.

P.S. Cheryse has a debut novel out tis week!!!

 

A Few Digital Words

June 25th, 2013

Please let me re-introduce Jennifer Lewis, visiting my blog again. 🙂

Enjoy.

Digital Artwork by Jaime Jasso - I think it is fantastic.

Digital Artwork by Jaime Jasso – I think it is fantastic.

 

What Is True & Tactile: Art & the Digital Revolution

Getting a grasp on how the digital age has rocked the art world is probably easier for non-traditionalists. Postmodern and passionate, much of the world’s art scene revolves around the acceptance of art’s marketability as a product as it continues to transform into new incarnations with every technological leap.

Some say it is tragic, breathing their Dickensian overtones. Impersonal, mechanical, and void of the same kind of intensity which gave the Renaissance its divine exuberance and the 20th century its chaotic and revolutionary power. Purists spurn the lack of getting down and gritty, of being able to leave the drawing board with chalk or charcoal clouding their fingertips. Art, it is felt, has begun to fulfil utilitarian function, conforming to design principles that fill a corporate space. And just about anyone can cast a lens flare on a shot which should have taken meticulous planning to capture, even hours to achieve.

Mediums as Communication

But of course this isn’t entirely true – the digital era has granted unprecedented access to wonderful things. It’s not just the Adobe phenomenon which pushes the limits and sculpts a virtual world which is becoming more fantastical and realistic at the same time, a marvellous theatre of sorts – but the fact that millions of artists throughout the world have created their own niches and communities and share their work, giving and receiving critical feedback. Online tutorials, open-source software, and a vast library of galleries spawned from grass-roots groups to international institutions have uncovered an age in art which empowers and enthrals. An inspired individual can sit at their desk into the late hours of the night, clicking their way through some of the most unique and interesting pieces of art from the other side of the globe – a feat which would not have been possible at any other time without considerable difficulty. And despite our wildest imaginations, where would those colossal paintings of quasars and nebulae be without the Hubble?

Historical Resistance

Perhaps the biggest reasoning behind resisting the age of mass digitization is the trivialization of the artistic process. Some argue that it has been robbed of its essence, when gruelling hours of physical toil and meticulous composition can be executed in mere minutes via a high-tech graphics-rendering program and be mass produced. Artists have been rebelling against this for centuries, including outspoken thinker John Ruskin in his defining work The Stones of Venice as a response to how the Industrial Revolution (the “first” digital revolution, if you will) was degrading authenticity and craftsmanship, pitting aesthetics and function against one another.

Rebirth through New Technology

But this can also be reviewed as a slightly reductive analysis – the Industrial Revolution certainly captured artist’s imaginations socially as well as scientifically, in concept and in material with better resources at hand to create their world. And the same can be said of the digital age, which has liberated various mediums. Design has always been functional as well as substantial, and its evolution into minimalist, more stream-lined forms is not representative of a lack of spirit but a reflection of how art encapsulates the core of present society. As a response, period revivals and wonderful fringe genres like steampunk have emerged from the edge to garner their own hip following and start their own movements. The novelty of mixing “futuristic” tech style with Victorian fashion has found its way in everything from Goth festivals to self-customized laptops and flash drives. Artists are intrinsically intuitive, and very aware of the materials and means they choose for conception – even if it means using technology as a way to defy or parody itself.

The depth of the artistic process itself has not changed, either. Just as a city-dweller can easily escape into the world of nature, the presence of digital art has not deterred art lovers from the joy of feeling a soft crayon scrape into a section of porous Bristol vellum. Art therapy, for example, is an increasingly recognized profession which is gaining momentum by its effectiveness in providing treatment through direct, tactile interaction with materials as expression. Digital technology is not likely to hinder this, but its ability to accurately document art therapy and distribute it to a wide range of viewers makes it more than useful.

Hardware Accessibility

Now, more than ever, accessing art supplies, learning about various techniques, discovering new artists and delving into history from around the world is easily achieved thanks to digitization. Photography in particular has become a common pastime for everyone, with digital cameras of ranging levels and photo editing programs readily available on everything from specialised computers optimised for graphics performance to ipads and smart phones. As these devices are becoming more enhanced, their availability is increasing with the growing network of online trading and selling. This open, accessible, and highly-driven market makes it easy to buy, trade, or sell your ipad 2 or old Polaroid so that you can upgrade to the next level and has formed its own niche, becoming a vital life-source for students and aspiring artists who are able to work on their projects anywhere at any time, even at the source of inspiration itself. Portability is key in this fast-paced world.

The art world has always been subject to social change – or rather, society has always been shaken into redefining itself through a poignant interpretation and reaction of its condition through art. The digital age will not limit the role which makes art so crucial for the human soul, nor will the basic tactile ritual of creating art diminish. Whatever a screen cannot capture that is found in the presence of the real thing only challenges digital artists to experiment with new ways to convey the sense of texture, lighting, and even smell. As long as technology is treated as a means to an end rather than an end itself, it will only add the legacy of art. And even if it overreaches itself, it will be the primary characteristics of art which herald another renascence and return the world to itself again. The debate will always remain, however – and it must, for art must always challenge and be challenged itself.

Thanks to Jennifer for sharing, I hope you enjoyed her post as much as I did.

Jacque

Arrrrgh, It’s All About Digital.

June 25th, 2013

thats_not_a_house

It never fails to amaze me how the world works, things fall into place and as someone wise said “The teacher arrives when we are ready.”

The past few weeks for me have been incredibly busy [whats new]. My world has revolved around questions with a digital flavor, a couple of questions were ‘no-brainers’ and a couple had my brain working overtime.

Two weeks ago I received a contract via email. It was from the Education Department requesting permission to digitize one of my books [pictured above]. It will be available for children with severe disabilities. That was a no-brainer, as far as I am concerned they can have it and I don’t need to be paid. The same week I received two other requests….

One from an old school friend Beryl. She is the Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology and coordinates the Masters of Education ‘Studies in Literacy’. She is writing a book on grammar strategies for teachers. She requested the use of one of my books. Parts of it will go into her book to show teachers how various childrens books can be used for teaching purposes. ‘What is digital about that?’ I hear you ask…. I had to learn to use Drop Box – I am now a master.

My computer

My computer

The image above shows something else digital that I have been working on…

The third request I received that week was a contract for one of my picture books by Wombat Books. ‘It’s a picture book!’ I hear you say, ‘What’s digital about a hard cover picture book?’ I had to scan in 30 odd watercolour paintings. The scanner I have [a good one] and another scanner both had trouble capturing the images properly. I ended up adding a little more paint and fighting with my scanner till I got it right. Whew!

Then, I had to learn a whole new Adobe program – Indesign [the one you see pictured].  I must say I can do it with ease now 😀 . Because this book will also be an eBook,  I had to manipulate quite a few of the double spread pages in another program and  😥 I couldn’t work out how to do what I wanted. Digital World to the rescue in the form of a Facebook Friend somewhere else in the world who told me …very simply I must add… how to do it and Vwalla! Done! Thank you Nicky Jonson from 12×12  The teacher appeared.

Happy Dance.

The other digital questions bouncing around in my noggin the last few weeks have been not so great to deal with. The entry forms are now ready for the Innisfail Biennial Art Exhibition, the rules had to be altered this year due to a couple of entries last time that rocked the Art Boat. All of the problems we had revolved around digital art… can a print of a photograph with a little paint on it be entered into the ‘Representational Painting Section’? We eventually created a whole new section for any artworks with a digital element.

Do you remember my visitor last week Jennifer Lewis? Yesterday she sent me some very relevant words regarding digital art. I will share these with you in the following post.

Have a great day

Jacque

I Have a Visitor…

June 7th, 2013

I would like to introduce Jennifer Lewis to you.

She was recently involved with writing a number of guides for those looking for help when they know someone who’s struggling with addiction on behalf of the Coalition Against Drug Abuse. One of the most inspiring things that came up was how the arts – everything from exploring poetry to painting and pottery – had shaped people’s lives and offered many an important tool to aid their recovery.

Jennifer has written for us today, I hope you enjoy her post…..

 

art and addiction

 

How Authors and Artists Inspire Those Battling Addiction

If you watch movies or keep up with TV shows, it will shortly come to your notice that addicts are only ever depicted in one of two ways. They are either monsters who purposefully ruin their lives and the lives of other people around them, or they are incredibly repentant and remorseful. The truth of course, is far more complicated than this, and if you are someone who is dealing with addiction, chances are good that you need a more nuanced portrayal. This is where books and art can come in. Artists and authors that take on the issues of addiction can offer more fascinating insight into the factors and the reality of the condition.

Drinking: A Love Story- Caroline Knapp


This autobiographical work documents the author’s journey from her teen years well into her adult hood. From the time she was young, she turned to alcohol as her solace, and even when her life was crumbling around her, she refused to admit that she had a problem. It wasn’t until Knapp was 36 that she checked herself into a rehabilitation program, and after years with Alcoholics Anonymous, she went on to a prestigious career as a journalist.

Serenity: It’s a Good Deal- Bill Hanks


Hanks, like Knapp, is also a graduate of a 12-step program, and his problems include both drug and alcohol. This is definitely a narrative about recovery, and as Hanks points out, it is not always an easy journey. Deciding to get better is only the first step, and though it is the most important, that does not mean that the other steps are easy at all. He talks a great deal about finding peace in the journey to recovery, and also about learning more about the person that you are. 

Dry- Augusten Burroughs


Many times, addicts are completely indistinguishable from other people. Burroghs himself remarks on how very normal he looked, even when he was drinking several drinks for every one his drinking partners took and staying out all night. He talks about how he kept his life from falling apart while he was addicted, and how eventually, those measures failed to hold up. His memoir of recovery is one that is quite wry, and it also explores the idea of how to stay off harmful substances once you are back in the very environment that encouraged them in the first place. 

Beauty Queen- Linda Govich


Beauty Queen is not a memoir, but instead it is a work of fiction that is heavily inspired by real life. In this work, Samantha is a teenager whose concerns start out as being very standard. However, within a very short amount of time, her life has spiraled out of control, leading to heroin addiction. This rather harrowing story is told entirely in journal entries, and it is very easy to sympathize with Samantha as she deals not only with addiction, but with her family and friends. The narrative also deals with addiction as an inheritance, as her own mother is an alcoholic.

Creating Art and Writing


If addiction to drugs and alcohol is considered a destructive act, it makes a certain amount of sense that the way to counter it is with something creative instead. Many people find that their lives feel empty without the drugs that once kept them afloat, and they can find solace in the idea of putting something out there instead. If you find that you need a way to speak to the world, you will discover that art and writing is something that can help you. As you seek to guide others, you will find that you can learn more about yourself. Writing your thoughts down or learning about art journaling can help you create something that is more impressive than what you had before. Consider where your own journey to addiction is taking you, and consider the words and images of people who have been there before. This is something that many people who are recovering from addiction need; they need to realize that they are not alone, and that they are not an exceptional case. Understanding more about the various narratives of addiction can help you learn more about your own condition and those of the people around you.

 

Thank you very much Jen, have a great week.

 

Jacque