Building a portfolio

I made a decision at the beginning of the year to focus more on my illustration than my writing this year. It suddenly made sense that this is what I should be doing because it was art that was my first love when I was young. I am rekindling that passion. So far it has been a great journey with lots of hard work but satisfying results. I’m not an expert yet but I am better than I was at the start of the year and that is what practice is all about.

I was a roving reporter for this year’s Biannual SCBWI Conference and I had the opportunity to browse all the amazing portfolios submitted for editors and agents. You can read about it here: Roving Reporter and here: Illustrator Showcase 2019

I took away some really useful tips and information about what makes a great portfolio and have been working hard to create my own in time for this year’s CYA Conference.

I have also participated in the following to help me improve my skills:

Now I am ready for the school holidays which start in a week. I will give myself a break before looking for a new project to participate in – I work well to deadlines. They motivate me and keep me practising my skills.

I showed a mini book I created for the Curtis Brown Course on a previous post : New Year – New Projects

Here is some of the work I have created towards building a dummy picture book. During this project I had to consider the fold of the book also known as the gutter, flow of writing from left to right and where the text would fit within the illustrations amongst many other things to consider.


Rough double page spread in pencil


Double page spread in colour using Procreate on Ipad Pro


It’s not perfect and my 13 year old daughter was quite happy to highlight the inconsistences in my illustrations. I’ll take any feedback I can get no matter how brutal 🙂 Feedback will help me get to be the best illustrator I can be. A picture book dummy is a great way to learn how to create a children’s book. Next I will work on the front cover as I noticed there were mock front covers in some of the illustrator portfolios at SCBWI so this is another skill I want to learn.

You can see more of my work on my instagram page: RamonaofJersey

Well that’s it for now – I have to go and prepare my art lessons for the rest of this week!

SCBWIAuNZ Sketch & Scribble at Luna Park

Today I participated in SCBWI’s Sketch & Scribble event held at Luna Park. It was so much fun. Lots of chatter, catching up with fellow writers and illustrators amongst beautiful views. What more could you ask for? Well maybe Luna Park being open for starters! Yes, it was closed but that just added to the humour of the day. We are creatives. We can work around this hiccup. And we did, taking a lovely stroll through Wendy Whitely’s Secret Garden. So if Luna Park had been open we all would have been none the wiser about this secret treasure behind the park.

Children’s author Katrina McKelvey prompted us to ‘look up’ and use our five senses.

Here are some of the sketches I managed to fit in between all the chatting:

Parts of some of the very colourful rides.


The city skyline behind the park.


I particularly liked the seagull on the right with his little head cocked to the side as if he was curious to know what we were all doing.


As SCBWIAuNZ’s new member co-ordinator I also had the opportunity to meet some new members for the first time. This is the bonus for belonging to an organisation like SCBWI. You get to meet, connect and network with like minded people. Writing and illustrating can be a lonely career so these occasions and events are a great way to meet new friends and catch up with old ones.

Maybe I will see you at the next one!


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. 🙂

SCBWI Conference Sydney 2016 round up

Sunday night I attended the pre-conference networking dinner for #SCBWISyd Conference 2016. Boy, did I have a lot of networking to do. I was one of a great team of Roving Reporters as well as being  New Member Coordinator for SCBWI Sydney.  So if I came across anyone standing alone looking lost I went up to them, introduced myself and had a chat. If friends walked by I would grab them and introduce the newbie to them. It was fun. It was exhausting. But luckily I am a sociable person so this was the perfect role for me.

You can read my Roving Report here: Pitch to publishers

The reports written by other Rovers can be found here: SCBWI East Australia & New Zealand

Editor Consultations

I had booked two editor consultations from different publishing houses. The feedback I received from both editors about two different manuscripts was invaluable. Fresh eyes on your work is so important. Especailly from experts in the children’s book industry. I could not wait to get home and rework my stories.


On the final day, there was a choice of two masterclasses and I have to admit, I always feel torn as to which one to attend. This time I chose the class for illustrators with the uber talented Sarah Davis. I love learning new tips on how to illustrate.






I tweeted quite a lot about the event and you can check out my Twitter feed here: @RamonaofJersey 

I also bought books written by two friends that have recently been published. I am lucky enough to have Penny Morrison as a critique buddy and Elizabeth Kasmer I met at the CYA Conference in 2015.


But the best thing about the conference really is the great writing community you become a part of. Here I am on the right of the photo with new and old writer and illustrator friends: