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Visual Diary #7

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog with the latest scribblings from my visual diary. My creative work is more focussed on novel writing at the moment (more on that soon), as well as another project that you will see below. Even so, images are always forming in my mind and sometimes, if I’m lucky, I can grab a sliver of time to trap them on the page…

A little voodoo doll who has been following me around for a while, and whose story I hope to make into a graphic novel one day:

The way I felt when amongst the crowds of the Woodford Folk Festival this year:

Not exactly a visual diary page, but another creative project I’ve been working on. The latest stop motion trial I have done for my Brave Squish Rabbit book trailer:

For now I’m packing my creative tools (visual diary, iPad, notes) into a suitcase and heading off to Darwin for this year’s WordStorm. I’ll be doing a number of school visits, as well as a reading in the kids’ program and doing a full day workshop (for adults) all about making picture books. You can check out the program here – if you’re in the area I hope to see you there! Wish me luck avoiding the crocs…

Visual Diary #6

The best thing about making the visual diary while I was travelling the US was that it re-kickstarted my daily doodling habit. It reminded me how much I enjoy drawing just for fun, rather than only when I have a project to do or a book to finish. So I’ve made sure to keep the ritual going now that I’m back. I’ve started a new part of the diary, where I’ve continued to collect images about life, people and silliness. Below are the first few drawings…

My diary mascot asserting himself:

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Doodling wigs for David after a gig one night:

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After seeing a soldier in the Queen Street Mall handing out red balloons:

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Inspired by the strange road signs along the highways of Broken Hill:

Visual Diary #5

A beautiful New York Valentine’s Day – a Vietnamese feast, chocolate and karaoke in K-town:

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Chinese New Year – Happy year of the rabbit!

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Sadly, the end of my US diary and the end of my travels:

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This is the final instalment of my US diary posts. I have, however, continued the practise of regular scribbles in my visual diary … so I’ll post up images from it occasionally. Apart from that, next post we’ll be back to regular scheduling :)

Visual Diary #4

How I felt wandering around the Museum of Modern Art (on my own):

Image inspired by an almost completely unrelated sculpture at the MoMA:

A Chelsea vacuum cleaner store, which randomly had a bronze statue of a kid playing a sax in the window:

Visual Diary #3

A successful shopping trip (one of the stores was called ‘Strawberry’):

An odd stall at the Chelsea markets:

Two Jewish men discussing the weather:

Still more to come…

Visual Diary #2

Trying to order a small hot chocolate at Starbucks:

Serena’s hallucination of the Chess and Checkers Visitor Centre in central park:

Brain food I grabbed on the way to the SCBWI conference each morning:

More to come…

Visual Diary #1

As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been keeping a kind of visual diary of different things that have happened along the way on my US trip. I’ve collected conversations, cultural oddities, random thoughts, strange happenings and characters from the streets of New York, trying in some way to capture a collage of the day to day of my travels.

I began with the above array of pens, moleskin diary (never leave home without one!) and glue stick. Here are some of the pages so far…

On the plane from Brisbane to LA:

Hopping on the plane to New York:

The strangely named US towns we flew over:

I’ll post more oddities as I capture them…

Planes, Trains, Cars and Bounty Hunting (or an overseas trip)

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Yep, that about sums up the next seven weeks of my life. Three planes, two trains and over three thousand kms of road will take us through seven countries on a massive European adventure. At least I’m calling it an adventure – some would call it insanity, considering how much driving we’ll be doing on the wrong side of the road, but I wont let that deter me.

And the bounty I’m hunting? Ideas, inspiration, writerly knowledge, illustratorly experiences, oddities and a whole lot of mischief. Plus, of course, rabbits. I am always on the lookout for rabbits. I will hopefully capture a few European varieties (you can see the ones I captured on my last big trip to America here, including the strange pink demon rabbit pictured above).

While in Europe I will get to do some pretty amazing things as a writer and illustrator, including*:

  • Scotland: I’ll be spending nearly two weeks in Edinburgh and St Andrews and several small towns in between, researching a young adult novel that I’m writing which happens to be set there. So much to look forward to … seaside villages all scuddy with cliffs, gothic churches, crumbling castles, eavesdropping on local teens. But most of all just generally absorbing the feel of the place and letting the world of my story settle into my skin.
  • England: I’ll be doing a short residency at Seven Stories, the UKs national centre for children’s books. I’ll get to be a part of some amazing exhibitions they’re putting together, browse their archives of original literary artefacts, help run activities for young people and learn from their expert staff all about engaging children in the world of books.
  • Italy: I’ll be attending the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the world’s leading children’s publishing event. I’ve had an image chosen for the second year running to be exhibited by the Australian Publisher’s Association Stand, and I’ll be featuring on their table doing live illustrations each day. Bologna also hosts an exhibition of the world’s leading illustrators, a bunch of professional development talks and is the years biggest networking event for creators, publishers and agents.
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My travelling visual diary

I can’t really tell you whether I’m excited or nervous or completely overwhelmed by it all. The feelings are quite indistinguishable. But either way it’s going to be amazing.

It’s not all work type stuff though. We’ll also be seeing my family in England, heading to Berlin for my man’s birthday, off to Venice just because, then driving in a meandering style (ie. we’ll likely get lost) down through Italy, southern France and into Spain.

Needless to say I may not be around much over the next two months. If you do see me here, make sure to shoo me away from the computer. I’ll likely have other things I should be doing … like freezing my little cotton tail off in the biggest cold snap in Europe since the 80s.

Now it’s time to get packing, if my pup will ever let me…

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* A significant part of this trip is generously supported by a career development grant from Arts Queensland.

The Big Apple

As some may remember, last year I received a travel grant to attend the New York Winter SCBWI conference, as well as meet my publisher and US agent. Over a week ago, after boarding a plane, travelling backwards through time and flying over oceans and ice, Squish Rabbit and I landed in the frosty Big Apple.

Unprepared for the freezing conditions (I’m no snow bunny), the first thing I did was head out shopping. Ok, so it wasn’t just because I was unprepared … there were some incredible winter sales with awesome hats and boots and coats luring me into stores. Needless to say it was a successful shopping trip.

The SCBWI conference was incredible, with many inspiring talks and presentations on everything from digital publishing and picture books, to crossover novels and writing humour (Mo Willems!). Lots to take away, and I’ve left with a growing urge to dive back into my stories.

While over here I’ve been lucky enough to have the company of a number of lovely Aussie authors and illustrators. I spent the most time with Serena Geddes, Tina Burke and James Foley – all incredibly talented and whose books you should check out. After the conference we got up to all sorts of shenanigans, including: iceskating, pizza and gelato in times square, snow fights, Irish pubbery, late night hot chocolates (and maybe some cocktails), Chinese New Year (year of the rabbit!) and plenty of random meandering.

I’ve been keeping a visual diary while here, filled with ticket stubs and a muddle of found objects with scratchings and scribbles over the top. I’ll put some up over the next few days, but for now I’m going to go take another big bite out of that apple…


About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:

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