#illo52weeks – Week 3: Retro

Retro could mean so many things. Definition of retro :



1. Retroactive: retro pay.
2. Involving, relating to, or reminiscent of an earlier time; retrospective: “As is often the case in retro fashion, historical accuracy is somewhat beside the point” (New York Times).
n. pl. ret·ros

Fashion or style, as in music, reminiscent of an earlier time.
I was stuck for this weeks theme. I attempted sketch after sketch only to rub each one out. Today I just sat myself down and made draw. To help me narrow down what it is I am trying to achieve I have decided to try and create an illustration that would be suitable for a picture book. This has helped me to focus.
© Ramona Davey 2015 - copic markers and pencil crayons

© Ramona Davey 2015 – copic markers and pencil crayons

Next weeks theme starts tomorrow (every wednesday) and it is ‘Bugs.’

#illo52weeks – Week 2: Italy

Every week I panic and think I won’t be able to come up with an illustration for the 52 week Illustration Challenge – it really does make me feel nervous. I almost feel like giving up but I don’t because the joy I feel when I do manage to create a new piece of artwork is wonderful.

Week 2: Italy

Pencil, copic marker, coloured pencils, Artline pen.

I was so stuck with this theme and then I realised that the book I am reading is based in Italy. Masquerade is written by my writing buddy Kylie Fornasier, and I am thoroughly enjoying all the drama and intrigue that went with the Carnevale.

© Ramona Davey 2015

© Ramona Davey 2015

This year to keep me inspired and creative I am taking part in the following:

Revimo 2015

This challenge has just finished and I managed to revise 5 manuscripts in four of the seven days allocated to this wonderful challenge.

52 Week Illustration Challenge 2015

This challenge is currently in Week 2, but you can join in at any time.

CYA Conference Competition

This competition opened recently and closes on the 30th April. last year I came first in the Aspiring Unpublished category for preschool. Such a boost to my confidence! You can read about it here: CYA Conference 2014.

Other challenges and opportunities may arise as the year goes on and I will attempt to participate or submit work to as many as I feel I am ready for. I can’t wait! :-)


#illo52weeks – Week 1: Fairytale

Yes, it’s that time of the year again when you are up for new challenges. I cannot believe how quickly last years illustration challnge founded by Tania McCartney went. And I still cannot believe I am going to join up again! Will I have the time? The energy? The inspiration? I hope so and I will try my hardest to participate each week no matter how busy or uninspired I may find myself.

I will submit an illustration each week no matter how I feel about it. And we can be our own worse enemies where judging our own work is concerned.

So here is the first illustration of this years 52 Week Illustration Challenge for 2015 is:

Week 1: Fairytale (copic markers & coloured pencils)
Week 1: Fairytale (copic markers & coloured pencils)

Drawing anthropomorphic characters is incredibly difficult for me. I want to develop my skill in this area, to simplify my drawing and be consistent in style.

This week I am also participating in ReviMo2015 founded by Meg Miller – this challenge encourages you to revise a manuscript for each day (if possible) from the 11th January to 17th January.

So far I have managed to complete day 1 and tonight I will meet up with my critique group to see what they think of my revisions!

#illo52weeks – Weeks 51 & 52

I can’t believe the year is over – which means The 52 Week Illustration Challenge founded by Tania McCartney is also over! It has been a great challenge to be part of and I have created over 52 illustrations that certainly wouldn’t have existed had I not participated. It was a delight to see everyone else’s creations too. If you would like to see the complete collection click here: 52 Week Illustration Challenge 2014

Week 51: Silhouette

My other hobby is family history and I love the old silhouettes or Victorian era cameos that were in fashion as broaches and wall portraits. This is my daughter drawn using textas onto white oval shaped paper and then stuck onto black card. Ignore the dodgy and wonky outline of the oval, I had to draw the shape by hand. :-)

Ruby By Ramona Davey 2014

Ruby by Ramona Davey 2014


Week 52: Fireworks

Last night was New Years Eve and so it was apt to finish with fireworks. Using a Gelli printing plate can be a bit hit and miss. I love this aspect about this medium. Using cut out firework shapes I created layers of different colours and finished the illustration by adding the cut outs on top to create a mixed media collage.

Fireworks by Ramona Davey 2014

Fireworks by Ramona Davey 2014

I had a great evening watching the Sydney fireworks with family. So Happy New Year everyone and thank you for all your wonderful support throughout this creative year!


#illo52weeks – Weeks 47, 48, 49, & 50

Lucky you, you get four illustrations this week. Gee, life is flying by so fast at the moment, I can barely keep up. School’s are breaking up tomorrow for the long Christmas holidays, so kids will be home!


Week 47: New York

This was a dufficult theme for me. It was too abstract. But I will not quit or avoid the challenge. I like history and was thinking about New York when it was new and young.

Week 47- New York

pencil sketch


Week 48: Fox

Foxes are harder to draw than I thought. I felt nervous and therefore decided to keep it small.

pencil and pastels in a 10cm x 5cm sketchbook

pencil and pastels in a 10cm x 5cm sketchbook

Week 49: Sunshine

Whilst still unpacking the house from a recent move I found my printing resources again. I was a bit out of practise and the first few attempts were disastrous, but I was pleased with the final result. I wasn’t brave enough to add the dark inner circles to my sunflowers. I didn’t want to ruin the illustration. It is sometimes important to know when to stop.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 1.13.35 pm

Gelli printing

Week 50: Christmas

I love Robins! When I thought of Christmas, I thought of Robins, which then led me to think of worms and some kind of Christmas truce. Just like the truce on Christmas Day between the soldiers of opposing sides during World war 1.

pencil & watercolour

pencil & watercolour

Now to mull over next weeks theme which starts tomorrow (Wednesday): Sillouette

#illo52weeks – Weeks 45 & 46

Week 45: Leaves

My daughter was playing around on ‘Sketchpad.io,’ so I thought I would have a go as I am always happy to try out new mediums.

Here is my attempt at ‘Leaves.’ I had the story Jack And The Beanstalk in mind when I created this image:

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 2.21.03 pmThere has been a great trend for digital collage style illustrations in picture books in the past ten years. I am a fan of that style and love playing with patterned backgrounds. For example the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child, by David Mackintosh’s books, eg: Marshall Armstrong Is New To Our School and the wonderful illustrations by Liz Anelli.

Week 46: Circus

This is a great them and so many ideas could have been created. Sometimes just choosing the one idea can be a challenge in itself. I recalled that the collective noun for puffins was circus, so that was the basis of the idea for this weeks them, A Circus Of Puffins.

Here is the initial sketch which part of me prefers as I am always hesitant to add colour incase I ruin the image:

Week 46- sketch for Circus


And here is the coloured version in pencil crayon which is not 100% satisfactory but that’s because I ran out of time and am trying not to be too precious with my illustrations during this challenge. My focus is provide an illustration within the deadline rather than finish a polished artwork each week. Week 46- Circus

Now to the next theme: New York!


#illo52weeks – Week 44: Yarn

Each week I have no idea what kind of illustration I am going to do – each result is a total surprise to me. I thought yarn was going to be impossible and then an idea came from out of nowhere, like they do with my writing.

Here is this weeks theme:

Week: 44 Yarn

Week 44: Yarn

My house moving is complete and I am slowly finding all my art resources again. With this illustration I started off with a quick pencil sketch. I turned it around and looked at its reflection in the mirror (to check it wasn’t a wonky tree). Then I painted the illustration using watercolours and outlined it in Artline fine liner pen.

It’s November and signs of Christmas are springing up in the music being played in shops (already) and I attended my first Christmas function of the year. See photo below:

CBCA Christmas Dinner

I’m in the stripy dress with my fabulous friends from the writers group I belong to. Being a homemum means I have no staff doo to go to for Christmas, so I love writerly functions as a time for me to be able to socialise and get away from writing and drawing which can be a very solitary occupation. We are at this years Northern Sydney’s CBCA Xmas Dinner, where inspiring authors and illustrators like Peter Carnavas sang to us on his ukelele and Wendy Blaxland shared with us her journey for her newly launched picture book, The Christmas Rose.


And if I’m mentioning Christmas that means we are near the end of the year and near the end of the brilliant 52 Week Illustration Challenge that Tania McCartney founded  and that without it I wouldn’t have created half the amount of illustrations that I have achieved.

This weeks theme is: Leaves :-)


PS: If you are thinking of Christmas present, than maybe my little Christmas themed picture book is the perfect gift for someone you know. The Jersey 12 Days Of Christmas

#illo52weeks – Weeks 40, 41, 42 & 43

Week 40: Abstract

My aunty told me about how my father had illustrated his family using abstract block shapes. The illustration used to sit on the mantel place. She doesn’t know what happened to it and I never found it amongst his things when he passed this year. So I thought I would like to try and recreate something similar and here it is;

Week 40: Abstract


Coloured pastels on a piece of cardboard.


Week 41: Black & White

I couldn’t decide between a zebra or a panda, then I copped out and thought a panda would be easier!

Week 41

Pastels and charcoal on black card.

Week 42: Under the sea

What you see above the water may not be what’s ‘under the sea!’

Week 42- Under The Sea


Copic sketch markers with paintbrush nib

Week 43: Bird

One of my favourite Leonard Cohen songs came to mind with this theme, Bird On A Wire.

Birds On A Wire

Copic markers with paintbrush nib and Artline pens.

How fast has the time gone! We are already into October and nearing the end of this fabulous challenge. My aim by the end of this year was to try and establish an obvious style, but as you can see by this  post  I have used a different style for each theme and do not look like I am getting any closer to my objective. Never mind, illustrating something is better than illustrating nothing. :-)

#illo52weeks – Week 39: Words

I am packing up house and this has forced me to go back to basics and develop  my hand drawing skills. The main area that I am keen to progress in is children’s illustration for picture books/ chapter books. I had this in mind when I completed this weeks theme for the 52 Weeks Illustration Challenge.

Week 39: Words

Pencil, coloured pencils, artline pen

Week 39: Words - Penguin Costune Parade

A picture book is created through a strong relationship between the words and the pictures. The word count in picture book manuscripts is dropping and currently the preferred number to aim for is the 500 mark.

So you have to choose your words carefully.  Here are some tips:

  • don’t write the obvious – the illustrator will portray that for you
  • avoid adjectives (ly words)
  • use fresh language
  • avoid dialogue tags, ‘said’ is sufficient – the words you have chosen should imply how the character is feeling

Here is a great post about editing your text by Juliet Clare Bell over at Picture Book Den.