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!

August’s – 52 Week Illustration Challenge

It’s pouring down today and so it is perfect weather to sit down, write blog posts and listen to my favouirte podcasts.

I am currently watching and listening to:

  • Children’s author Jen Storer’s Girl & Duck video’s everday Friday
  • The Yarn which takes you behind the scenes of children’s literature
  • All The Wonders where readers can discover new books

I have to confess that I found this months themes a bit too abstract and therefore struggled until the last minute to come up with somthing for most of them.

Week 31: Realism

Digital using Tayasui App

Week 31 - Realism

Week 32: Hairy

I did enjoy sketching out these yeti characters in pencil before colouring them in on my ipad in the digital art .

© Ramona Davey 2016
© Ramona Davey 2016


Week 33: Father

I used gelli printing for their bodies and posca pens for the detail.

© Ramona Davey 2016
© Ramona Davey 2016

Week 34: Intricate

Week 34- Intricate

Week 35: Grandfather

Collage, gellie printing and pen

© Ramona Davey 2016
© Ramona Davey 2016

This weekend is the start of the #SCBWI Conference 2016 held in Sydney. It is a big event for children writers and illustrators and I am really looking forward to it. As New Member Co-ordinator I wil be on the look out for any newbies that look a bit lost and hope to make them feel comfortable at their first writers conference. Look out for me if that is you!

I have a couple of editor consultations to go to and hear feedback on my manuscripts from two experts in the industry. Fingers and toes are crossed that at least one of them likes my writing. I will be also be a Roving Reporter at a couple of the workshops or speaker sessions. But don’t worry, if you couldn’t attend there will be plenty of us blogging about the event.

Have a great weekend!


Roving Reporter at this years SCBWI Conference

Two years ago I attended my second SCBWI Conference as a newbie Roving Reporter. The photo is of me and the inspiring Illustrator/author Bruce Whatley at  SCBWIAusNZ14

This year I have the great opportunity to be part of that team again. You can read more about me and the other reporters here:

I’m really looking forward to the event. It is a great time to catch up with old writerly friends, make new ones, network with publishers, listen to established authors and illiustrators and their success stories as well as getting feedback on your own work. I highly recommend attending or joining. If you are a new member and feel nervous that you won’t know anyone, come and find me. I am SCBWI Sydney’s New Member Co-ordinator. I’ll look after you. 🙂

I hope to see you there!

Writers festivals and Conferences 2014

The last few weekends have been extraordinarily busy for writers. They have consisted of the following events:

Children’s and Young Adults Writers Festival hosted by Aleesah Darlinson

Hachette editor Suzanne O’Sullivan talking to illustrator Sarah Davis

CYA Conference 2014 which I have written about here: CYA Conference 2014

Me very proudly collecting my First place certificate for a rhyming preschool picture book manuscript

SCBWIAus/NZ 2014 of which I was lucky enough to be a Roving Reporter. You can read my report on Pitching to Publishers here: The Art Of Pitching To Publishers

The publishers
The publishers

It has been a jam packed couple of weeks, filled with useful tips and advice for published and aspring writiers. It’s a great time to network, to catch up with old friends and meet lots of new ones. Now it is time to buckle down, read the feedback from the the manuscripts assessments I have had recently and polish my work to my best ability!

CYA Conference 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 4.23.38 pm


All through last week my fingers were tightly crossed. I had received an e-mail to say I had been shortlisted for the CYA CONFERENCE  Aspiring (Unpublished) Competition ~ 2014.

This was exciting news and with support and encouragement from my other half I decided to fly up to Brisbane where the Conference is held. The winners were announced very early in the morning. The winner of third place was announced. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I must be second!’ The winner of second place was announced. I panicked and thought, ‘Oh my god, how embarrasing, I hadn’t been shortlisted at all, it was a mistake!’

Winning had not occured to me at all, but I did, much to my surprise!

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 4.12.37 pm


Goodnight Gorgeousaurus is a rhyming manuscript that takes you through the busy, adventurous and hungry day of a young dinosaur (or a child dressed up as a dinosaur. I have left it  up to the illustrator to decide how the text can be interpreted.)

This was a great start to the day that was jam-packed with workshops. Here are just a few:

Slashings Of Editors

This was a great insight into what a selection of editors would like to see, including: professionalism, a great hook and stories with heart. They also mentioned how they often read manuscripts in their own time, after a busy day and therefore your work must stand out and make them want to read on.

Structuring a story with Pamela Rushby

Pamela highlighted 9 questions you should ask about your story, as well as asking us ‘were we a plotter or panster?’ I decided I was a bit of both.

Pamela Rushby CYA 2014

Let Your Pictures Do The Talking By Peter Carnavas 

Peter’s workshop was interactive which was great. I am always happy to be taught a few tips and tricks to help me develop my illustration skills. He also discussed storyboards and how they work:

Peter carnavas CYA 2014

The whole day was great and the cherry on the top was meeting fellow aspiring writers, current winners, like Elizabeth Kasmer and Catherine from Squiggglemum:

me and catherine CYA 2014

and previous winners like the lovely Kat Apel:

Kat Apel CYA 2014


Editor meetings were available and these are extra helpful in getting feedback on your work. I came away with a head full of useful information and heartful of new friends.

Well done to all the team at CYA!


The Art Of Creating Character

Nina with two of the books she has illustrated

On the fourth and final day of this years SCBWI Australia & NZ Conference programme I attended as illustrator masterclass with the lovely Nina Rycroft. I don’t have many notes for this class, the reason being that it was very hands-on, which is exactly what you want when it is a practical class. She demonstrated the following:


  • how she presents her work (sample pieces) to publishers
  • what a ‘tear sheet’ is (something I had never heard of)
  • how she draws the first thumbnails for the whole story concept
  • the various stages she goes through to get to the final piece
  • if your animal characters move from left to right this helps the children read the book in the correct direction
  • do not paint any detail where the fold of the page will be
  • don’t particularly illustrate in order of the story
  • mark out the ‘crop marks’ and ‘fold marks’


  • consider where the text will go
  • left hand text should generally be higher than right hand/page text so children scan the words in the correct direction
Each picture book is an accumulation of lots of sketches, practise and hard work.
One of the areas I requested Nina to cover along with other class participants is that of anthropomorphic techniques. (Anthropomorphic = ascribing human traits to non-human things. Think of the clock and teacups in Beauty & the Beast). Generally I am a realistic drawer/painter. I can draw what I see but have a lot of trouble doing it from imagination. So this was a great lesson for me. Here are some of my examples:
The dancer

Nina is a big believer in acting out what it is you are trying to draw. So if you are drawing a dancer, stand, move, dance in the position you are trying to illustrate. feel where the weight is. How is the body balanced? Feel as well as  observe.

Close up of dancer’s face
Practising facial expressions

Move your face into the expression you are trying to draw. then try to convey this with amnimal faces.

Happy, sad and angry pigs.

I learnt so much from this masterclass and Nina was a great teacher. Now all I need to do is practise and find my own style!

4th International SCBWI Australia & New Zealand Conference

Highlighted sessions I hope to attend!

Tomorrow afternoon I will be nervously on my way to my very first writers conference which is jammed packed with author talks, writing workshops, book launches and pitching opportunities for 4 days. It is the 4th International SCBWI Australia & New Zealand Conference, and you can read lots about it at their very useful blog here: The SCBWI Australia & New Zealand Conference Blog. The great thing about this conference is that it is combined with the 7th Children’s and Young Adult Literature Festival on Saturday. I went to this last year and it was great!

In preparation I searched the internet for any useful advice and tips about attending writers conferences. Here are a few a found that helped answer a feww questions, worries and concerns I had floating around my head.

Over at

Talking to Agents and Editors at Conferences 

Adjusting Expectations for Conferences and Critiques

Over at Cheryl Reif Writes:

Things to Love in the Writing Life: Conferences

Ten Keys to Your Best-Ever Writing Conference!

Over at La Vie En Prose:

Conference 101: Know Before You Go

Over at Picture This:

A Better Critique Story

So, my checklist is as follows:

  • Don’t be shy – agents and editors expect to be approached in a friendly fashion – just don’t pitch to them unless asked (save your pitches for the organised pitch sessions)
  • Know your needs – Do know what I need to get from the conference – what are my current needs as a writer?
  • Be prepared – practice your ( 2 min) pitch,
  • Research  – check out the editors, agents, authors, and other speakers who are attending

But most importantly of all the resounding advice is to have a good time – get to know the agents and editors and other writers – put a face to a name – make connections and have fun!