Wombat Books Blog

Wombat Books blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Aussie kid's books.

Aleesah talks about Yay! It's Library Day!

DSC 6173What made you say yes to being involved in the Illustration Challenge?

It sounded like a really fun project to get involved in and one where I could work closely with young artists, possibly helping to set them on the path of an illustration career. I'm all for engaging kids in writing and the arts and getting them to explore their imaginations and creativity. As we're discovering, there are SO many talented child artists out there, which is just lovely to see. 

What do you like about the Illustration Challenge?

I like the fact that it engages children and their families and gets them excited about creating a book where they can be the stars of the show. When we conducted the launches for Zoo Ball, the result of the first Illustration Challenge, the winning artists were so proud of themselves and rightly so. We had a lot of fun with it, presenting the children their books and showcasing their achievement to classmates, parents and the local media. Getting your work chosen and subsequently published in a hardcover picture book is a huge achievement and it was great to see everyone celebrating that.

What are a few of your special memories out of the Zoo Ball challenge?

Getting that first glimpse at the entries as they rolled in, seeing the book come together with all the beautiful winning illustrations - which allows you to discover something new on every page as you move from one illustration style to the next - and then seeing the looks on the kids' faces at the book launches where the focus was on them. There were lots of smiles, lots of laughs, lots of happy kids.

What hopes do you have for Yay! It's Library Day?

I really hope children, families, schools and libraries get behind the initiative. The story I've created this time allows for children to use their imaginations and create wild and vivid scenes throughout the book. Having the story related to a visit to the library also allows us to focus on two things: the beauty of books and stories and how they can engage children on so many levels, and also those amazing school and community spaces, those much-needed, much-loved but sometimes undervalued libraries and the people who work there.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1429 Hits
0 Comments

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Alexander

alex lauSMALLAge: 10

School: Camberwell Grammar School

What are your interests? I love reading and drawing. My favourite book series at the moment is Harry Potter. I also like drawing comics. My latest comics book is based on my favourite game: Minecraft.

Tell us about your illustration? I was invited to enter the competition with a number of other boys in the school by our deputy principal. I drew my illustration with colour pencil and crayons. I like it because I think it looks vivid and interesting.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1153 Hits
0 Comments

Zoo Ball: A Children's Book Created by Children

9781925139433 SThe Zoo Ball Challenge provided aspiring young illustrators an opportunity to be published in a professionally-produced children's book and gain an introduction into the world of illustrating.

Zoo Ball is the latest picture book from award-winning children’s author, Aleesah Darlison. It follows Ned and his ball’s journey through a zoo as it bounces from tiger to toucan and tapir too – as well as many other favourite animals.

Young illustrators from all around Australia sent in their entries to Wombat Books and the winning students were chosen by a popularity vote.

Isabelle, a Zoo Ball Challenge winner, is thrilled about what this opportunity will mean for her. “I entered the Zoo Ball Challenge following Aleesah Darlison’s visit to our primary school at the beginning of 2014,” she said. “Aleesah was really passionate about her writing and I am really passionate about my drawing. I thought immediately that this was the challenge for me.”

Other young Zoo Ball artists are now budding illustrators because of this competition. “I loved the feel of a pen in my hand and paper under my fingers,” said Macy, a fellow Zoo Ball winner. “As I grew, I read more children’s books and I saw the pages filled with colour and it gave me new ideas for my drawing. When I heard there was a chance of being featured as an illustrator I knew that this was a chance I could not miss.”

Zoo Ball is officially out today. You can buy your copy here. 

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1553 Hits
0 Comments

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Sarah

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Sarah

First name: Sarah
Age: 17
School: Open Training and Education Network (OTEN)

What are your interests? I like drawing, watching movies, cooking, dancing, playing the piano, and bike riding.

Tell us a bit about your illustration? At the time of the Zooball challenge I was experimenting with drawing on the computer so I decided to attempt creating a drawing with it for the challenge. Although it was not quite the quality I wanted I felt it conveyed the essence of that scene in the story. I felt it adequately showed how Ned was feeling as he watched his ball sailing into the lion’s cage, and I also thought it created a sense of anticipation.

Why did you enter? The reason I entered the Zooball challenge was because I was curious to see how well I would do, and the thought of getting a drawing published was exciting.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2337 Hits
0 Comments

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Isabelle

Meet Isabelle 

Isabelle

Age: 11
 
School: Maria Regina Catholic Primary School
 
What are your interests? I love to draw or paint whatever comes to mind on any given day; using chalk, charcoal pencils, watercolour pencils and acrylic paints. Listening to pop music and singing are a very big part of my day. I also enjoy playing soccer and tennis. Being part of a team keeps me fit and I get to spend more time with my friends.
 
Tell us a bit about your illustration? I researched each animal included in the page spread and on the back cover to make sure I captured their true expression and personality. Secondly, I figured out where the ball needed to be placed on the page and designed the characters around it. Finally, I carefully drew the animals in the foreground and left the background till last, placing them in their zoo environment and making the ball look as though it was bouncing from animal to animal each in their separate enclosures. I really loved designing the pelican on the back cover because the ball was scooped up in its bill throughout the story. I thought this would be super challenging to illustrate, but I was really happy with the outcome. 
 
Why did you enter? I entered the “Zoo Ball” challenge following Aleesah Darlison’s visit to our primary school at the beginning of 2014. She wasisabellewise really passionate about her writing and I am really passionate about my drawing. I thought immediately that this was the challenge for me! I entered 5 illustrations which took me three months to complete, and then kept my fingers crossed. I wished and thought how cool it would be to see one of my drawings in print for my family and I to enjoy forever.
 
Any wise words? I would like to say that if you find something that you really love, go ahead and do it. You never know when opportunities like this might come your way. Take them with both hands, be brave, and do your best!
 
Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1950 Hits
0 Comments

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Meredith

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Meredith

Meet Meredith

Age: 14

School: William Carey Christian School

What do you like best about your illustration? I drew, first, the outline of the major shapes in my picture, and then used water colour pencils to fill in the picture. I liked the lighter colours where the glass fence appears.

Why did you enter the Zoo Ball Challenge? Because I enjoy drawing and something different to draw.

Tell us a bit about yourself? I really love drawing and painting and anything crafty! I play piano and love it.

Meredith

 

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1834 Hits
0 Comments

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Brendan

Meet Brendan

brendanAge: 11

School: Camberwell Grammar School

Tell us a little bit about your illustration? At the start, I read the whole story a few times. While I was reading, the animal that particularly interested me was the penguins. So I decided to work on the two pages with penguins. I went on the internet to look at many different penguins photos and cartoon penguins which gave me inspiration to draw my penguins in a more funny and vivid way. I did many drafts to create each of my penguins with different actions and facial expressions in order to make them all unique. My illustration depicts the penguins trying really hard to catch the ball, so much that they do not notice that the pelican has scooped it up and flown away. I tried to make my drawing more interesting to match closely in line with the text.

 Why did you enter? Thank you very much to my school for letting me know about this illustration competition. I wanted to enter because it was in the holidays and it would give me something fun to do. Moreover, it meant that I might have a chance to have my illustration published. I felt so excited about it and I like drawing which made me want to brendanparticipate even more.

What are your interests? I enjoy drawing and playing Minecraft in my spare time. I also like footy and soccer. My favourite thing to do during holidays is going away. Reading, writing stories and sleeping are also my favourite activities.

Any final words? Finally, I want to say a big thank you for choosing my illustration and I can't wait for the book Zoo Ball to come out.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1859 Hits
0 Comments

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Hari

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Hari

Meet Hari

Age: 9

School: Camberwell Grammar School

What are your interests? I have been interested in drawing from a very young age. I like to draw cartoons, landscapes and characters from books I enjoyed reading.  Drawing the scene from Zoo ball interested me because of this. Apart from drawing, I also like reading and playing the Violin. I love travelling and enjoy learning about different cultures.

Tell us a little bit about your illustration? I chose to draw the illustration on page 10 which shows the Kangaroo kicking the ball over the fence. I tried to make the ball look distinctive and bright as the ball is an important part of the story book. I enjoyed entering this competition and drawing the picture, as I like drawing animals and cartoons. I wanted the picture to grab the attention of young readers.

Why did you enter? I found out about the competition through my school and received encouragement to participate. I was excited by the chance to illustrate a part of this book and share my love of drawing for small children.  

Any other comments? I am grateful to wombat books for the opportunity to be involved in this book.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1881 Hits
0 Comments

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Charlotte

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Charlotte

Meet Charlotte

Age: 9

School: Kalbar State School, Kalbar Queensland

Tell us a bit about your illustration? I practised it first, on scrap paper.  When I was happy with it I put it on the right page.  I thought it was quite good because I had used bright colours.  I liked how the tree was on the edge of the page.

Why did you enter the Zoo Ball Challenge? I belong to a Book Lab at my school and the parent who runs it encouraged all of us to enter.  It seemed like a fun idea.

What are your interests? I love drawing, playing bass guitar and reading.

Any other words? I was very excited to be chosen to be included in the book.

b2ap3_thumbnail_cha.jpg

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2468 Hits
0 Comments

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Macy

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Macy

Meet Macy

Age: 13

School: Adelaide High School

Macy hoto on 05 07 2015 at 202

Tell us a little bit about your illustration? The page I drew was page 4-5 of Zoo Ball. I was given a line which my illustration was to be paired with. Page 4-5 was about an amazing animal, native to Australia… The kangaroo! The way I went about it was to capture the liveliness of the kangaroo and the joy that it brings to children. My cartoon had to be filled with joy and colour so that children reading the book would want to look at it again and again. I used water colours and pen to create this effect. It turned out as vivid and eye-catching. I particularly liked how your eye is drawn to the pops of colour that don’t clash and work well together. 

Why did you enter? As a small child I used to spend long amounts of time in a space our family called “up top.” Every month my parents would supply me with big sheets of drawing paper, and even as a toddler I knew that I loved art. I loved the feel of a pen in my hand and paper under my fingers. As I grew, I read more children’s books and I saw the pages filled with colour and it gave me new ideas for my drawing. Sometimes the only thing I had to occupy myself was my drawing. When I heard there was a chance of being featured as an illustrator I knew that this was a chance I could not miss. A chance to be published in a book that would potentially reach lots of children and inspire them to draw was why this competition was a could-not-miss chance!

What are your interests? As a small child I grew up with art by my side, (obviously), the other thing I enjoyed and found pleasure in was participating in sports, such as running, track, field, badminton, netball, touch rugby and football. I have represented my state three times. I enjoy doing short runs around my neighbourhood, (next to a beautiful river near my house) as it keeps me fit and healthy. My other hobbies include: cycling, reading, dancing, singing, walking and shopping!  All of these things play a big part in my life keeping me happy and that is why I keep them in my life.

What inspires you?My inspiration came from an artist called “Hannakin.” (A local Australian artist.) Whilst searching round a market in Adelaide I saw this amazing little store entitled “Hannakin.”  It was filled with perfect little tokens and hand-drawn cards. The drawings were such a new idea to me. I realized in my little artist brain that I could potentially turn this style into one of my own. As soon as I got home I jumped straight to my desk, my little drawing space, my pen felt so naturally free as I traced a new kind of drawing style. The characters seemed so perfect and my small sketches grew from tiny ideas to a big thought out piece of art and became unique in a quirky way until they were my own designs. And this inspiration came from a little stall in the centre of Adelaide.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1763 Hits
0 Comments

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Tayla

Meet Zoo Ball Challenge Winner: Tayla

Meet Tayla

Age: 12

School: All Saints Anglican School

What are your interests? My hobbies include art, running, playing guitar, singing and hanging with my friends.

Tell us a bit about your illustration? I drew this picture with watercolour pencils while looking through lots and lots of photos of cartoon animals where I got my inspiration. I started off with a rough sketch and spent many hours perfecting it. The thing that I liked about this competition was the interesting subject that we had to draw. The book uses lots of different animals and I loved using different variations of colour to brighten the picture.

Why did you enter? I entered this competition because I love art and especially drawing animals. I thought it would be a great opportunity to get a picture that I created printed into a fun and exciting book for children.

Any last words? I really look forward to seeing my picture in this amazing book. I feel privileged to be involved, so thank you.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1732 Hits
0 Comments

Meet Zoo Ball Cover Winner: Alyssa

Meet Zoo Ball Cover Winner: Alyssa
Meet Alyssa

Age: 14

School: Presbyterian Ladies' College

What are your interests? My hobbies include sketching animals, painting flowers and nature, drawing anime characters, playing the piano and oboe, playing tennis and baking desserts. I love going on holidays, hanging out with my family and friends, Japanese culture, Alaskan malamutes and huskies, home decor and funny stories.

Tell us a bit about your illustration? First I sketched out my idea which would complement the text. I wanted the upset zoo keeper to be in the centre of the page, with a few observers surrounding him and the monkeys in the background. I felt that a simple illustration would be more effective. After refining my sketch, I traced the outline using a black fine liner and coloured using watercolour paint.

Why did you enter? I chose to enter this competition because I thought that it would be very exciting and special to have my own illustration in a published book. The opportunity to contribute to a picture storybook does not come around often.

Alyssa has received the cover illustration award and will be offered the opportunity to complete the cover illustrator. Well done Alyssa.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
1833 Hits
0 Comments

Free book with all orders! One week only.

Free book with all orders! One week only.

Excited by the upcoming Illustration Challenge book - Zoo Ball, by Aleesah Darlison?

Purchase any book from our website this week and recieve a FREE copy of Aleesah's first book published with Wombat Books - Puggle's Problem (paperback).

Puggle's Problem is a gentle, humorous tale emphasising the importance of perseverance and patience. It also showcases some of Australia’s best-loved native animals and their unique characteristics.

ONE copy of the book will be sent every order place online through our website this week. 

Aleesah is also the author of Little Meerkat and Little Good Wolf illustrated by fellow Aussie, Shannon Melville.

 

*Offer valid until 5pm, AEST Friday, 28 November.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2558 Hits
0 Comments

Extra bonus for voting!

We would like to take the opportunity to assure children and families that voting is not the only criteria for whether their illustration will be published in the book. The judging panel will make their final say based on the skill level of the child ensuring the quality of the book is high.

The voting may influence placement and who gets priority where there are multiple entries for one page, however, we are hoping to be able to include the majority of children in the book in some way, even if that means children are asked to illustrate a different page or adjust their illustrations just like they would during a normal publishing process.

So all children's illustrations will be thoroughly considered by the judges for page placement.

We thank children and families for their response to the voting. We have decided to offer up to two extra prizes for children with high votes, separate to whether or not their illustrations are finalised in the pages of the book.

Out of the voting finalists we hope to choose children to give the following extra opportunity. Two children will receive a $100 Wombat Books voucher AND the opportunity to design the Ends Pages of the book. The ends pages are the inside front and back covers.

 

Don't forget voting closes on Friday, 28 November!

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2167 Hits
0 Comments

A chat with illustrator Liz McGrath

A chat with illustrator Liz McGrath

As part of the inaugral Wombat Books Illustration Challenge, we will be running a series of blogs featuring successful illustrators - to offer advice and inspiration and help budding illustrators learn from the best in the 'biz'.

Liz McGrath is the illustrator of the new Happy Pants, due for release in May 2014.


I'm Liz McGrath, the illustrator of Happy Pants, a bittersweet story of a little boy whose life is turned upside down when his new baby brother arrives. The boy is very confused by his mum's changed mood. It's a sad time for him, but the story shows the family finding support, and ends as we glimpse a brighter future for them all.

Question 1: When did you start illustrating and what was the first book you ever illustrated?

I've always loved to draw and paint, and became an art teacher. Over the years I've illustrated lots of books, but most of them don't appear in bookshops. They are the sort of books or booklets that you are given for free. For example a multicultural songbook that was given to kids when they visited their maternal and child health nurse. And a book showing non-English speaking mums ideas on how to be active with their kids. Even a kit used in schools used to encourage kids to walk or ride to school. I've also done lots of posters, postcards and magnets. In fact my own kids used to say "you may not be famous Mum, but you sure are on a lot of fridges!"

Question 2: What is the most challenging part of being an illustrator?

Understanding someone else's idea, and bringing it to life. It's a shared journey, and that can take a lot of talking and listening.

Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an illustrator?

I feel very lucky when I spend time at my desk working with paints and pencils. It's like a dream come true. And I get really excited about seeing the finished product.

Question 4: When given a story to illustrate, what is the first thing you do to get your ideas flowing?

Rough sketches, and lots of them. Look out for the bits that work, and think about what makes them work.

Question 5: If you could give one piece of advice to a budding illustrator, what would it be?

Listen carefully, read lots of great picture books, and have fun.

Find out more about Liz McGrath

Find out more about the Illustration Challenge

 

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2330 Hits
0 Comments

A chat with illustrator Sandra Temple

A chat with illustrator Sandra Temple

As part of the inaugural Wombat Books Illustration Challenge, we will be running a series of blogs featuring successful illustrators - to offer advice and inspiration and help budding illustrators learn from the best in the 'biz'.

Sandra Temple has previously illustrated Puggle's Problem by Aleesah Darlison (who is the author of the Illustration Challenge book - Zoo Ball) as well as a range of other books - many of which feature zoo animals from around the world.


Sandra Temple is an international award winning wildlife artist. She is passionate about conservation and the environment. Usually she is asked to illustrate books that require a lot of animals and birds in them. Sandra is also an author, multi media tutor and a body painter for events and film.

Question 1: When did you start illustrating and what was the first book you ever illustrated?

I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil properly. In nearly all the photos of me as a child I am colouring, drawing or reading. The first book I ever illustrated was in Primary school, it was about a little fawn who was afraid of being alone. I even laminated it.

Question 2: What is the most challenging part of being an illustrator?

For me, it's trying to make my pictures are not too different from what the writer sees in their own version – usually in their head, and also keeping the publishers ideas there too.

Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an illustrator?

When the illustrations are finished and they are all approved, I get a feeling of satisfaction, but my favourite part has to be when children enjoy the story read out loud and it becomes their choice to read over and over again.

Question 4: When given a story to illustrate, what is the first thing you do to get your ideas flowing?

I always read the book aloud a few times to see how it flows. Then think of each page as a picture and sketch small thumbnail sketches of the pages very roughly. After that it's lots of scribbles until the characters develop. The pictures need to match the words so if the kangaroo is wearing a red spotted scarf I make sure that it IS wearing a red spotted scarf and things like that.

Question 5: If you could give one piece of advice to a budding illustrator, what would it be?

Draw, and draw, and keep drawing. Study human bodies and movement, and if serious, find a good teacher. It is possible to teach yourself (after all, I did) but much quicker to be guided by someone who can help you with shortcuts and tips.

Find out more about Sandra Temple

Find out more about the Illustration Challenge

 

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
2552 Hits
0 Comments

A chat with illustrator Shannon Melville

A chat with illustrator Shannon Melville

As part of the inaugural Wombat Books Illustration Challenge, we will be running a series of blogs featuring successful illustrators - to offer advice and inspiration and help budding illustrators learn from the best in the 'biz'.

First up - Shannon Melville, she has previously illustrated a number of books by Aleesah Darlison (who is the author of the Illustration Challenge book - Zoo Ball) including the new Little Meerkat and Little Good Wolf. She has also illustrated a number of author picture books.


 

Shannon Melville - I live near the Canning River in Perth. I have illustrated eight books. I love animals and enjoy illustrating them. I love all the colours of the rainbow. I enjoy walking my caramel and chocolate coloured kelpie Hugo down at the park, he loves chasing balls but doesn't always bring them back, a bit annoying when he drops them in the river or ocean! I have a new baby daughter who is keeping me busy and a kind, supportive husband. When I am not illustrating I also work as a graphic designer and Disability Arts Worker.

Question 1: When did you start illustrating and what was the first book you ever illustrated?

I received my first illustration job in 2006, in the final year of my TAFE course but the first book I illustrated in 2009 was called ‘My Arms Your Legs’ written by Kim Rackham, I only had 5 weeks to illustrate 70+ illustrations!

Question 2: What is the most challenging part of being an illustrator?

Promoting my books and encouraging people to buy them. Drawing things out of my head that do not exist in real life can also be a bit tricky such as a meerkat swimming; you can’t just ask a meerkat at the local zoo to jump in a pool for you and start swimming!

Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an illustrator?

Researching new subject matter on the internet, at the zoo, a park, around the neighbourhood and learning interesting facts that assist with my illustrations. I also really enjoy getting to work with various types of media, in particular pastels and coloured pencils.

Question 4: When given a story to illustrate, what is the first thing you do to get your ideas flowing?

I draw a few small thumbnail sketches on the author’s manuscript. I also write a list of all the references I am going to need to illustrate my story. I usually find most of my photo references on the internet but will also use books too if I need to. I visited a zoo to try and draw platypuses once but they swam too fast to draw them!

Question 5: If you could give one piece of advice to a budding illustrator, what would it be?

Draw as much as you can, sketch objects from life (right in front of you) as well as from photos. Try to work on your unique style and don’t compare yourself to others too much, we all have different ways of seeing and different ways of expressing ourselves which makes it interesting. Publishers don’t want to see everyone illustrating the same way, they like variety. Be prepared to change your work, none of us draw a masterpiece every time we draw. You need to realize a children’s book is created by numerous people: an author, illustrator, publisher, art director, editor, graphic designer, printer and so on, so there will be other people’s opinions to consider.

Find out more about Shannon Melville

Find out more about the Illustration Challenge

 

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
3783 Hits
0 Comments