Posts Tagged 'rabbit'

Squish Rabbit Launch (in Photos)

On Saturday 3rd September a bunch of old friends, new friends, family, families and a horde of little rabbits (plus one spiderman) all gathered together at Black Cat Books to help me launch my first picture book, Squish Rabbit. Everyone warned me that the day would speed by and be over before I knew it, so I made sure I enjoyed every second. The classy Pascalle ‘Bunny’ Burton MC’ed the day, while Michael ‘Bouncing’ Bauer (amazing writer and good friend) did the honours of launching the book. We had live music from the talented songstress Skye ‘Rabbit’ Staniford, while Richard ‘Hoppy’ Grantham entertained with his playful keyboard tunes. There was even an appearance from a real bunny (quite a feat in Queensland where rabbits are illegal), and also a visit from a not so real one…

Some of my favourite moments from the day:

  • Signing my first book
  • NOT misspelling a single child’s name
  • Michael revealing the little known beginnings of Squish Rabbit as ‘Squish Cockroach’
  • Promising myself that during my thank-yous I wouldn’t cry and would only make others do so (failing at one but succeeding at the other)
  • The kidlets hopping around eating the ‘for-decoration-purposes-only’ carrots (instead of the cupcakes)
  • People pointing out that I had worn a carrot coloured dress (unintentional win!)
  • Pascalle’s unexpected magic trick (multiplying rabbits! – exactly why they’re illegal in QLD…)
  • Richard’s lollypop formal shirt (designed by him but made by his grandmother)
  • Skye’s impromptu version of ‘Old McDonald had an Alien’
  • The magician performing mind blowing rabbit magic while seeming to have some kind of meltdown mid-act
  • Spiderman running around amongst all the little kids dressed as rabbits (there’s always one)


Then again, rather than telling you about it all, why not let the images speak for themselves?

Morning launch? So what - let there be wine! Plus red balloons from the book

Lots of orange and green type food (Squish would be proud)

We were up until midnight making hundreds of little carrots for the cupcakes

David and I enjoying the fruits (or veg?) of our labour

Skye and Richard delighting the kids and adults alike

Rabbit! (I didn't Squish this one)

Magical bunnies

Some of my favourite little rabbits

Michael clutching his book (I did promise not to steal it...)

Kathleen, Jules and Peter (some favourite writing/illustrating peeps)

Some notorious bunnies from the day (including one tiny pink one plucking the decorative carrots for her lunch)

Who knew spiderman also enjoyed carrots?

Signing a book for a little pink bunny

Some of the precious rabbity gifts I got on the day

What’s Up Doc?

WARNING: For all those who feel secure in their homes, let it be known that in this digital age – no one is safe. Not even bunny loving writers. Did you know you can take screen shots (photos) via skype? Clearly this goose didn’t. I was innocently skyping with a good friend the other day (you know who you are), goofing around as I have been known to do, when she discovered how to take screen shots. Of me. Oh the horror.

Personally, I feel rabbit ears kinda suit me, but that’s hardly the point.

You have been warned.

Happy Easter everyone…

A Little Bit of Silliness

As I mentioned the other day, I’m currently working on a new rabbit picture book (not related to Squish Rabbit). I didn’t plan to do another rabbit book, but I suppose when there are always rabbits in my head it’s hard not to let them take over – they’re constantly bumping into other thoughts and sparking new ideas. That said, the main character isn’t actually a rabbit. Or at least he sort of isn’t. It’s hard to explain.

The idea came from an old uni assignment (interestingly enough, so did Squish). In my web design course I had to create a basic home page that linked to the four assignments I’d completed over the semester. Most people did a home page with reasonably generic buttons, however I wanted to do something that reflected my personality. Of course, it had to have rabbits. And so began the first stumbling idea that is now a picture book called ‘Rabbity George’.

I have put the original home page up on my website, although the buttons are now linked to a bit of silliness instead of my ancient assignments. Hop on over to my website if you’d like to check it out, and just look for the above image to find it. While you’re there, see if you can pick which rabbit is George, and why it is that he doesn’t always feel very rabbity…

Illustration Sunday

There seem to be two ways picture books develop for me:

  1. The story comes first: something triggers an idea for a story, so I write the first draft before setting out to design characters to fit it
  2. The character comes first: a vivid character turns up in my mind and demands to be drawn, and after a while their story becomes apparent

My little monsters are an example of the first, while Squish Rabbit is an example of the second (Squish was with me for about 2 years before his story turned up). Below are my latest sketches and another example of the latter. About a month ago I woke up with this character’s name and image firmly in the front of my mind. Even though I was desperate to draw him then and there, I didn’t. Just like with my story ideas, I’ve learnt that putting characters in my sketchbook too early can trap them on the page. If I leave them in my head for a month or so, they’ll grow and change. It gives me time to watch them gamble about; to observe how they move and interact with the world. Are they confident, shy, clumsy or zen like? Do they seek to be with others or prefer to wander alone? What do they look like from each and every angle?

Just yesterday I was finally ready to draw my new character. His name is Piggy-Wilikins, a tiny teacup pig with big ears:

His story hasn’t turned up yet, but I know it will – and I’m certain it wont take as long as Squish’s did! I’m starting to get a good sense of his personality already, and I think he may just be my very first confident protagonist (although he’s still a misfit, which seems to be developing into my trademark). Now I have him down on paper I can get back to the story I’m supposed to be working on – the storyboard of a new rabbit picture book. I’ll be posting character sketches from that project in the next few days.

Please excuse me while I hop off to dabble in some rabbity ink…

PS. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Gone Fishing

Well, not exactly fishing. Tomorrow we head off to the land of ice, New Zealand, for a ski trip. Should be hilarious really, considering I have no idea how to ski. You can be assured that comical photos are to follow.

This little ski bunny will be back in a week and a half. Wish me luck, but don’t tell me to break a leg … or an ankle … or a wrist …


Picture Book Baby

Rabbit - runI must apologise. I’ve been neglecting this blog horrendously. But that’s because I’m a new mother … of a picture book baby.

As mentioned previously, I’m currently taking a break between novel drafts to focus on a picture book project. She started off small and pink, wailing for attention, and once I gave her some she demanded it all. Over the last month or so she has grown in fits and starts, and is slowly blossoming into all I know she can be. At times it’s been joyous. Other times painful. But so worth it in the end.

In many ways, illustrating can be tricky. One illustration may take an entire day, and even then it may not be working the way I hoped.  After spending so many hours of focussed attention on one image it’s easy to get too close, making it impossible to pinpoint what isn’t working. Each time this happens I have to remind myself to go through the following steps:

  1. Get a non-illustrators opinion: their unbiased eye is often the best at spotting problems (my fiance is an absolute star at this)
  2. Get an illustrators opinion: it’s easier to talk craft with other illustrators
  3. Try illustrating the scene from a different perspective: this can make a flat scene more dynamic
  4. Jot down a series of words about the scene, focussing on character motivation and emotion: it helps to pinpoint exactly what the image should be capturing
  5. Go back to the drawing board: get away from the scene, pull out fresh paper and start playing

Just today I finished assembling all the text and images – there are only a few fiddly things left to do before it’s ready to be sent off into the submissions ether. Below are a couple of scenes I’ve been working on over the last week, using watercolour, collage and digital art.




Illustration Friday

For me, when drawing, there is nothing more rewarding than when the ideas are flowing onto the page and they’re matching up with the images in my head.  This doesn’t always happen.  Certain projects take longer to come together, and sometimes what I envisioned in my mind doesn’t always work when it gets down on paper.  Luckily the former is true for my latest illustration project.

Below are some images I’ve been creating for the picture book concept I mentioned in my last post.  This project has been a dream to work on – a wonderful vacation for my mind each day,  in between the hard work of redrafting my novel.  Instead of wrangling with words, I’ve been tickling colours and shaping stray lines, enjoying the way it all comes together on the page.  It’s nice to have a project with no external pressures – right now this is just mine, folded away inside my mind, where I’m allowed to enjoy the ideas just for myself and dabble for the simple pleasure of creating.  In these images, I’ve been playing with how to express the story and emotions of my main character, Squish.





The Wall

sewEveryone hits it eventually.  The dreaded wall.  Luckily my wall seems to be made more of a kind of transparent fabric rather than bricks and mortar, so it has slowed me down but not stopped me.  I’ve been working on the third draft of my mentorship novel for a few weeks now.  While the planning was tough, the actual writing has been flowing quite well.  Until now.

There’s always a place in a manuscript (often several) where the writing gets really tough.  For me it was a particularly tricky scene to write – smack bang in the middle of the novel – the dark point for my protagonist.  Writing through this scene and out the other side has been hard work.  I’m pretty stubborn though, so even in these stages I still write every day.  On the good days, I do well above my daily word quota, but on days like these I just skim the minimum.

It’s not unusual that during the difficult stage of any novel a new idea comes along to tempt me with its freshness.  Christine Bongers recently blogged about this phenomena, using a really clever analogy.  But like Chris, I’m finding ways to work on both projects.  The new idea has become like a reward, which I only get to work on once I’ve gotten through (at least) my quota of words for the novel redraft.  It’s also a very different project: a picture book, where I get to play with words and images.  It’s actually the perfect project to start while redrafting a novel, because the smallness of it is quite refreshing.  I’m also finding that, since starting the new project, I come back to my novel each day with more energy.

The new idea came after yet another person asked if I’d done anything with Squish, the small rabbit that runs across this blog.  So essentially, I’m fighting the wall with a small white rabbit.  He must know kung-fu, because he’s certainly doing a good job of it.

Note: My working title for the story was ‘Squish, the Small Rabbit’ but for obvious reasons it has since changed (just read it aloud).



I have no idea what you’re talking about … so here’s a rabbit with a pancake on its head.

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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