A Fun Day Out Illustration Competition

The results have come in for the New England Illustration Prize. Well done to the winners and everyone who entered!

My illustration for the theme ‘A Fun Day Out,’ didn’t get selected but I am okay with that.

Being a writer means you get used to rejections. I come away feeling that I am glad I entered because you have to be in it to win it, and if you don’t enter your chances are zero.

Rejections seem to spur me on to do better next time and that’s the great thing about competitions. Plus, I come away with an illustration I might not have even bothered attempting if I hadn’t chosen to enter.

Here it is:

I had just been teaching painted paper lessons to my year one students. It was fun to do and the artworks looked fabulous. I wanted to try this at home. Yes, I know another style! If you have read my posts before one of my biggest obstacles as an illustrator is that I don’t know what medium I like to work with best or what style my best art is so I keep trying out new stuff. Hopefully one day it will all click into place. It’s a bit eclectic like my dress sense and my house. ūüôā

I don’t know why I chose sharks except I suppose I wanted to choose an animal that you wouldn’t normally think of as having a fun family day out. I didn’t want it to be predictable.

The sea and sand textures  were created by putting blobs of paint onto paper and scraping a plastic ruler across the page. I accidentally got blue on the sand but I liked the fact that it looked like the sea reflecting on the bottom of the seabed so I left it.

I look forward to the next competition to see what I come up with.

 

#illo52weeks – August’s illustrations

Phew! August was a busy month. going back to casual teaching in a primary school has not only been nerve wracking and exhilarating but also taken up a lot of what would usually be my writing and illustrating time. But nevertheless, I kept on time with each illustration if if it was by the skin of my teeth. So here they are:

Week 31: Shakespeare

I decided to use good old fashioned pen and ink as this was the first thing that came to mind when thinking of shakespeare. he would have written all his manuscripts and plays in pen and ink, probably with a quill, but I didn’t go that far. ūüėČ But I did look for a Shakespeare quote to help me with my idea.

Week 31- Shakespeare
© Ramona Davey 2015

 

Week 32: Fabric

I am still keen to keep improving my digital skills and The Princess & The Pea came to mind.

Week 32- Fabric
© Ramona Davey 2015

 

Week 33: Mythology

Drawing characters is also another area I want to improve, especially cute ones like this little fella in his dressing up outfit as Medusa. I think Book Week must have been on my mind as my kids were dressing up during this week for Book Character parade. My daughter went as Tweedle Dee and my son as Asterix, although living in Australia not many of his friends knew who he was, in jersey they would have done, especially being only a couple of hours away from France.

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

 

Week 34: Japan

This one was tricky for me. I had never been to Japan so couldn’t draw from memories. So I decided to do another¬†little character/figurine.

© Ramona Davey 2015
© Ramona Davey 2015

 

And then finally the full results for the CYA Conference Writers Competition arrived in my inbox. You can go to this link here: Final results. Initially you get to find out whether or not you are shortlisted, which I was and you can read about it here: CYA Conference 2015. Then you get the judges feedback which is so valuable but this doesn’t tell you where you came in the ratings but the Final results do.

So here are my results:

Category 1 РPicture Books РPreschool ~ Suzanne O’Sullivan, Lothian Books, Hachette Рmy manuscript TEN LITTLE RANGERS came 9th out of 107 entries.

Category 2 РPicture Books РPrimary ~ Suzanne O’Sullivan, Lothian Books, Hachette Рmy manuscript THREE GREEDY PIGS came 7th out of 147 entries.

Category 4a – Chapter Books¬†~¬†Suzanne O‚ÄôSullivan, Lothian Books, Hachette.¬†– my manuscript THE WOODLINGS came 1st out of 16 entries. ūüôā

Category 4b – Chapter Books¬†~¬†Suzanne O‚ÄôSullivan, Lothian Books, Hachette.¬†– my manuscript SIRONA”S SECRET came 3rd out of 36 entries.

I like to know where I am placed. It help me see whether or not I am improving, which manuscript is my strongest and most appealing to it’s reader and which manuscripts to get polishing ready for submitting to editors/publishers.

This weeks’ illustration is Week 35: Botany.

#illo52weeks – Week 11 & 12

Week 11: Green

Gelli printing / collage

Week 11: Green
© Ramona Davey 2015

Week 12: Costume

Artline pen / collage

© Ramona Davey
© Ramona Davey

We break up for the Easter holidays today. I am sure Easter was on my mind when I completed Week 12’s Costume illustration. I was thrilled to see it included in Nicky’s picks here: 52 Week Illustration Challenge

As the last week of March it has been busy due to the closing dates for the following competitions:

SCBWI Work In Progress Grant

Rate Your Story Writing Contest

Caterpillar Poetry Prize

I can relax for a few days before I prepare manuscriipts for the next competitions:

CYA Conference Aspiring (Unpublished) Competition ~ 2015

Creative Kids Tales – 2015 Bone, Box or Sea Shell competition

Fingers crossed! ūüôā

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!

 

Writing Processes Blog Tour

Thank you to Penny Morrison for inviting me to be part of the ‘Writing Processes Blog Tour.’

Penny is the author of the Hey! series and is currently having her debut picture book illustrated  (to be published by Walker Books Au). How exciting is that!

Have a look at Penny’s post for the ‘Writing Processes Tour.

So here are the following questions to explain my processes:

Works in progress
Works in progress

What am I working on?

Everything at the moment, which feels a bit hectic. But I am working for 3 deadlines/closing dates which are happening in the following week:

  • I have to submit manuscripts for appraisals at this years SCBWI Conference
  • submit a manuscript to CYA Conference Writing Competition
  • submit a manuscript to KBR Unpublished Picture Book Award Competition

Actually, the first one is the only job I have to do, but the second two are what I need to do to help me develop into a more satisfying and successful writer. Entering competitions helps you work towards deadlines. Some offer feedback sheets which are invaluable and help you to spot strengths and weaknesses in your own work.

So, what am I working on?

3 chapter books/ middle grade novels

1 rhyming picture book manuscript ( I know, rumour has it that they are not easy to sell to publishers, unless the ryhme is perfect – I intend to make it perfect ūüėČ

2 prose picture books

and¬†Tania McCartney’s 52 Week Illustration Challenge

This weeks theme: Horse
This weeks theme: Horse

How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

I learnt a new word last year – scatalogical. I submitted a manuscript to an American Literary Agency for Julie Hedlund’s 12 X 12 Writing Challenge (write 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months). The agent replied to¬†me with a very nice rejection letter explaing that ‘scatalogical’ humour was not her thing.

I don’t know why but many of my manuscripts seem to contain scatalogical humour in some shape or form including: cow pats, bird poo, super-glue poo. Maybe that’s how it differs.

I also have two manuscripts which have a connection to the island I was born on – Jersey, Channel Islands.

Why do I write what I do?

I have often read blogs that say don’t write to trends, write about what you know or enjoy.

Well, I know about Jersey, living on a tiny island and Jersey cows.

But I’m not an expert on a great variety of poos – although I have stood in dog poo (which isn’t lucky) and bird poo has landed on me ¬†(but that’s ok because it’s lucky.)

I love history and therefore I have two manuscripts that are historical. Both are based around real events. One is a picture book which made my daughter cry. She thought it was a horrible story as the father wasn’t going to make it back in time for his daughter’s birthday. (She threw the manuscript on the floor!)

The other one is a middle grade novel which is so exciting to write but difficult too. It is based in 50BC and as I wasn’t around then it is quite hard to make sure I am including details that would have existed then, eg: food, transport, tradition, clothes (or lack of – Gauls had been known to fight naked!), family life, rules, etc…

How does my writing process work?

In the past I have entered Tara Lazar’s¬†PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Ideas Month). Or I have seen something in the news or in the newspaper, on Facebook or something my kids have done – and Bingo! It has given me an idea.

I then go through the following quick checklist:

  • WHO is the main character?
  • WHAT is the problem/ inciting event?
  • WHERE is this happening?
  • WHEN is it happening?

I write the first draft. Spell check it. Read it out loud into my voice memo onto my iphone (this is especially useful for my rhymimg text)

I have recently come across this devise to help you hear your work: http://www.naturalreaders.com/index.php

I also get my 8 year old daughter to read out the manuscript aloud.

Then I meet up with my brilliant critique group and they give me valuable feedback on the good and the bad. And I rewrite, rewrite and rewrite until the writing feels polished and every word is needed. This can sometimes be hard to judge.

And now to introduce next week’s blogger;

Rob Harding

Rob Harding
Rob Harding

Rob Harding is a voice-over artist, TV presenter and kids author. You have probably heard Rob’s voice before – perhaps on the radio or TV for Coke or Optus or perhaps one of those ads where he shouts at you about a Massive Clearance Sale. He appears on the BBC’s pre-school channel CBeebies, where he gets to dress up as a gnome and speak in a pirate accent, although usually not at the same time.¬†

Rob has also written several critically acclaimed children’s books.¬†At this stage, none of these books have actually been published, so the critical acclaim only comes from Rob‚Äôs kids. His wife thinks they‚Äôre OK. His dog thinks they stink. (Which actually isn‚Äôt such a bad thing because she used to eat her own poopy.)

Find out more at www.robharding.com.
 
Thanks for stopping by,
Ramona x

Reading to an audience

It s the last day of the school term and I had the opportunity this morning to read my book The Jersey 12 Days Of Christmas to my daughter’s class of year 2 children. What great fun!

me reading 1

 

I had intended to read the words but being in rhyme I found myself singing the whole book. Apparently, I didn’t sound too bad but in my mind I could hear my voice getting more and more high pitched. Behind me is my daughter Ruby, who doubles up as my assistant and editor. As I read the paperback version, she demonstrated how to use the ebook version on an ipad which included tapping the illustrations to hear the sounds.

Here are a few things to consider when reading to an audience:

  • if you are wearing a dress, remember to keep your knees together (see photo below – cringe!)
  • you are not reading to yourself – turn the book around so the audience can see any illustrations
  • project your voice for the children that always navigate towards the back so they can hear too
  • have eye contact with your listeners
  • slow down – I tend to rush when I am nervous.
we leant on each other for support
We leant on each other for support.

Today’s class visit was my second. The first time I was invited to read a new manuscript about a Little ¬†Blue Fairy Penguin to a class of year 1’s. This was great too, as I could watch the children’s reaction and take note of moments when their eyes glazed over with boredom or when they giggled, asked questions or started to fidget. All really useful indicators as to how engaging your story is. Thankfully, they enjoyed the story as did the lovely teacher.

This was a fab way to end the year – and what a year it has been – I have:

I look forward to next year – Merry Christmas to you and thanks for stopping by!

 

PS: Thank you to Melissa from Miss Sew & So for taking the photos.