It has been a while since I have participated in a drawing challenge. 52 Week Drawing Challenge founded by Tania McCartney ended and I got a part-time job as an art teacher in a local primary school. My time has become limited for my own creativity but I felt a longing to get back into it. Inktober was perfect!

I’m not going to beat myself up about the fact I didn’t complete the challenge because that is pointless and on the plus side I did more drawings than I would have done not even attempting the challenge. So here are the first 10 days:



So much has gone on in the past month I do not know how I managed to fit it all in on top of a brand new job. So this post will be a bit of a photo fest to try and include everything.

First their was KIDLITVIC2017. If you haven’t attended this yearly festival yet than it is a ‘must’ for next year. I flew down to Melbourne excited to mingle with authors, illustrators, editors and agents.

Our writers group ‘Picture This’ being framed!

The best thing about writers festivals and conferences is meeting up with like-minded people who become your friends for life.

Then I went and unexpectedly got myself a job as a part-time Visual Arts teacher in a local primary school. I have hit the floor running familiarising myself with the Australian curriculum, remembering 300+ children’s names, meeting new staff and painting everyday.

The white board showing all the different activities going on for each stage.

This has meant that my creativity has all gone on this job and left me no time for the 52 Week Illustration Challenge of which I have participated in since day one for the last 3-4 years. At least I am still being creative just in a different forum. Next term we are focusing on clay modelling!

Year 1/2 children exploring mono-printing

Then I was flying up to Brisbane for the CYA Conference. This was another jam-packed day.

Jacqueline Harvey says, ‘Editors are the bomb!’


Tina Clarke introduces the amazingly talented Shaun Tan  via Skype to a room for of illustrators in awe.


Nadine Bates talks about the place for interactive books and her new venture Kindergo.


I make new friends.

Illustrator Sandy Flett.


And catch up with old ones.

The wonderful Sheryl Gwyther and myself.

This post would go on forever if I was to write about all the valuable snippets of information that was shared during these events. But I hate long wordy posts, so I shan’t write one. I do insist you try and attend an event like this though, as they are huge sources of information about the writing world. The editor consultations are gold dust and are the best thing you can do to make your manuscript get closer to your publishing dream.

See you at the next one!

December – 52 Week Illustrations

I feel this year my motto might very well be: ‘Better Late Than Never.’ I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. I have always been a punctual person, like half an hour early kind of punctual, but this year I have already missed the dates for 3/4 of the themes for this January’s 52 Week Illustration Challenge. Should I give up? I ask myself this every year. See last years blog post: #illo52weeks – January’s Ilustrations And each December I am always super glad I didn’t give up as I find myself looking over 52 different styles of illustrations, some rubbish, some good and some I am really pleased with.

As I was away for a month at Xmas I didn’t quite get around to posting December’s illustrations. So here they are:

Week 49: Gift


Week 49- Gift


Week 50: Festive

Copic markers

Week 50- Festive


Week 51: Celebrate


Week 51- Celebrate


Week 52: Reflection


Week 52- Reflection

So this year, I may not meet the deadline each week but I have decided not to stress too much about it. Aslong as I complete the themes, that is okay by me. If the  Xmas holidays or something like your eldest starting high school is taking priority (as it is this week) that’s fine. I’m going with the flow rather than battling upstream. Late is better than never and on that note, Happy New Year everyone!

PS: let’s totally forget the fact that I turned up a week early for my writers group meeting yesterday! It’s going to be that kind of year. 🙂

SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand Christmas Party

As a home mum, I have no end of year work social doo to attend, no staff meetings to chat with colleagues and no lunches to natter over. To top that, writing and illustrating is a solitary hobby/ career. This is why being part of an organisation like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is essential for your well being. The best thing about SCBWI is that it has regional chapters all over the world. I belong to SCBWI Australia East & NZ and am proudly the ‘new member coordinator.’

So yesterday, I met up with recent newly joined members for a ‘Meet & Greet’ session. This is a great way to network, get to know like minded people and catch up on industry news. I love talking and meeting new people, therefore this is the best role for me. By the end of the session the new members no longer felt shy to attend the Xmas party that was starting up straight after, because they now had a group of familiar faces to enjoy the food and fun with. Here we are:


So here are a list of reasons why you should join your local SCBWI:

What more could you want. Have a great week and I hope to see you at the next event. 🙂

What does your main character look like?

A thought suddenly occured to me this morning as I arrived home after dropping my kids off to school. They were dressed up as Goldilocks and William The Conqueror for their Book Character Parade.  It is Book Week, which by the sounds of the many excited children in the playground, tells you that this is a hugely popular week within the school year.

The thought was this:

If my middle grade novel ever got published, and a child wanted to dress up as my main character, Sirona, a 12 year old girl from Gaul in the 1st Century AD, what would she wear?

I already had some idea and little hints are written in the text but the question made me think about it properly.

Could the child make-do and find the whole outfit within her household? Maybe she would need to buy at least one accessory.

In this photo below is my son dressed up as William The Conqueror. Most of his outfit has been found in our wardrobes. The crown is made out of card. All I had to buy was the sword. (Yes, I am hoping I don’t get a phonecall from his school saying there’s been an accident. :-))

Joseph as William The Conqueror


So how does Sirona look? She is a 12 year old girl from from ancient Gaul in the 1st Century AD. I had to do some research as to what type of garments were worn in that time period.

 Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 2.15.04 pm

I looked online. Pinterest was a great help.

I read non-fiction and fiction books, inlcuding Asterix.

Here is my research board for this novel:

The Hidden Hoard – writing research



So the questions are:

How does Sirona where her hair?

Does she wear a long  dress or tunic and breeches?

What colour is her dress or tunic?

What colour are her breeches?

Are her tunic and breeches checked as was the fashion and method was used to create fabric for clothing?

Does she wear sandals or boots?

What accessories does she have on her person?


Even though I thought I knew all of this, considering Sirona’s outfit as something children might want to wear, made it real. It made me think about it in a practical way. Which was great.

So I ask you, if a child wanted to dress up as your main character that you are writing about, what would they wear?



#illo52weeks – December’s illustrations

Well, I can’t believe another year is done and I managed to complete 52 more illustrations for the 52 Week Illustration Challenge founded by Tania McCartney.

Week 48: Warm

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015


Week 49: History

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015


Week 50: Party

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015


Week 51: Family

© Ramona Davey
© Ramona Davey


Week 52: World

Week 52- World


This year I have particularly enjoyed line drawing. Has a definite style emerged yet? I’m not sure, but others say they can recognise my work. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this ever growing community and have been determined each week to complete an illustration no matter how busy or chaotic life may be at the time. I have set myself an achievable goal. I did not have to complete masterpieces each week but I had to complete a drawing, a sketch, a painting, an illustration each week before the deadline.

Am I glad I stuck to it, for sure, will I do it again this year for 2016? Maybe, I haven’t decided yet… you will have to come back soon. 🙂

Here is a brief glimpse of all my illustrations for this year:

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 5.59.21 pm

#illo52weeks September’s Illlustrations

Another busy month has passed and five more illustrations have been completed on time (just)!

Week 35: Botany

pencil & copic markers

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015


Week 36: Dance


© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

Week 37: Geometric


© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

Week 38: Fauna

Acrylic & permanent marker

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

Week 39: Melbourne

Collage, copic markers & Artline pen.

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

As you can see by the last illustration that the warm weather has arrived reaching 33 degrees! You will never hear me complain of the warm weather, I love it as does my little blue penguin. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by, see you next month…

CYA Conference 2015

Last year for the first time ever I attended the CYA Conference in Brisbane. I  had been shortlisted in the pre-school category and so was keen to go. Much to my utter amazement and delight I came 1st. You can read more about it here: CYA Conference 2014

I attended again this year because it was the tenth year anniversary and I had enjoyed it so much last year. Much to my surprise I was shortlisted again. Twice. In utter disbelief I came 1st in the junior fiction category and 3rd in the middle grade category.

I have mentioned many times the importance in entering competitions because without polishing my work, meeting deadlines and entering competitions such as this and sometimes shortlisting or winning I would have nothing to put on my Author’s Bio as an aspiring writer. An Author’s Bio is often required when submitting work and it is something worth thinking about in advance.

  1. Here is my stuff  (just an overnight bag was all I needed) for my flight from Sydney to Brisbane:
packed ready to go
Packed ready to go.

2.Enjoying the peace and fancy decor in the smart hotel room:

Me being all arty in the hotel
Me being all arty in the hotel


3. Meeting and mingling with new and old friends at the networking dinner:

Catherine Oehlman, me and Elizabeth Kasmer.
Catherine Oehlman, me and Elizabeth Kasmer.


4. Arriving early at the Conference Center (7:30 am) to hear the results of the Aspiring (Unpublished) Competition:

me receiving certificate
Receiving my certificate from the lovely Suzanne O’Sullivan – Associate Publisher of children’s books at Hachette Australia. Photographer in photo is Peter Allert. Photo by Catherine Oehlman.

4. Taking a photo of the certificate! 🙂1st place certificate

5. Listening to fascinating authors tell us about their humorous journey to publication and how they keep getting their inspiration once published:

Morris Gleiztman
Morris Gleitzman

I learnt so much from the editor consultation sessions.

I made new friends.

I was inspired by other writers.


Here are some little bits of useful information gleaned from the CYA Conference:

Paul Collins (author & publisher at Ford Street Publishing) suggests:

when getting bookmarks made only print them on one side so you can sign the back.


Meredith Costain (author) believes that:

great openings need to be immediately engaging… gripping… have likeable characters… make you want to find out what happens next.


Morris Gleitzman (author) liked:

as a child to find the exception to the rule.


It was a great weekend and I look forward to next year!

#illo52weeks – June’s Illustrations

June is a busy month for me – lots of writing deadlines for a variety of competitions, submissions to prepare for editors at the CYA Conference this coming weekend (so excited and nervous) and the weekly illustration challenge to participate in.

Week 22: Childhood

As a child, my siblings and I had two rather amorous rabbits, Princess Leah and Luke Skywalker.

Copic markers & artline pen.

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015


Week 23: Rain

Coincidently there was a lot of rain during the week of this challenge. I think that helped.

Collage, watercolour.

© Ramona Davey 2015


Week 24: Calendar

This theme had me stumped for most of the week. Then I decided to give digital illustration a go again after a long break from it due to not having the resources. By the way, my 9 year old daughter likes my digital illustrations the least. Feed back is always useful no matter how painful. 🙂

Adobe Illustrator (ignore the red lines around each month, this is a screenshit of all the artpages as I did not know how to get all the images onto one page.)

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

Week 25: Africa

I had so many wonderful collage creations in my head for this one but my hands had a completely different idea.

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

Well that’s it for June! Can you see a running style yet because I can’t.

Today, the new theme starts for this week – Week 26: Land

#illo52 weeks – April’s Illustrations

Due to all the writing commitments I have given myself I have decided to post my illustrations for Tania McCartney’s 52 Week Illustraion Challenge as a job lot each month rather than each week.

So here are my illustrations for April:

Week 13: Transport

Pencil sketch & Copic markers

I had Easter on my mind.

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

Week 14: Whimsy

Biro on a serviette in a cafe 🙂

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

Week 15: Vietnam

Pencil sketch, Copic markers, paper, tissue paper

I like looking at this one. Although my figure is a bit stiff I am pleased with the overall effect. I am enjoying working in collage.

Week 15 - Vietnam
© Ramona Davey 2015

Week 16: Structure

Gelli printing, collage

Don’t ask me why the ice is pink. It is the image I had in my mind that wouldn’t go away.

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

It is Week 17 and the theme is Fluffy. I have no idea what I am going to do??? Or how I am going to do it yet…