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Monday, May 27, 2013

Sydney Writers' Festival 2013

Hi, Friends, did you enjoy your weekend? I had a wonderful time with many authors and illustrators in Sydney Writers' Festival (23 May to 26 May). It had a broad range of topics and many events from children's fun to politics in literature. Leading people got togther in our publishing industry. I was particularly looking forward to seeing Sally Rippin, Libby Gleeson and Judith Ridge.

Sally Rippin (author/illustrator, above) is from Melbourne. Oh, Sally is so popular. Her workshop, "What It Takes to Write Great Kids Books" was sold out! She is an idol for children and adults! This charming and humorous lady is very sensitive and so caring! (*I soon realised she kindly offered me help at a stairway). We often had big laughs and chuckled together.

I sketched Sally during a fun workshop, "Making Characters Who Do What You Want Them to Do!"  That workshop inspired me so much! Hey, Friends, it was very interesting to see how other illustrators develop characters. And people around me were saying, "Ooohh, wow..." looking at my quick sketch. 

Then, I attended Libby Gleeson (author)'s 2 panell discussions. One was "Creative Writing as Freedom, Education as Exploration."  Panellers tried to empower disadvantaged people by creative writing. I admire Libby Gleeson. Libby is one of Australia's best known and most highly regarded writers for young people. I check her any articles on children picture books and literature. She's a deep thinker with great enthusiasm for children's literature and so caring for emerging talents. Libby always encourages me and supports me so much! In the discussions, interesting arguments covered from politics, feminism to young people's creativity in respct of literature and writing. Ah, I'm a life long learner! 


Judith Ridge is one of the key persons for publishing industry and fine art activities, especially, for Western Sydney. The project, "WestWords," is brilliant and exciting. Caring Libby introduced me to Judith. Kind Judith welcomed me. I'd like to talk about an Immigrant Women Speakout Association publishing project that I was involved last year. Judith gave me her precious time. We had a friendly talk. My "souvenir" to IWSA!


The Writers Festival was terrific! So many book lovers and writers-wannabes were, too, at pires in Walsh Bay, just under Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Oh, yes, all these key persons above also belong to Australian Society of Authors and me, too. So, the Festival is the place for catching up as well as knowing each other.

Friends, networking is critially important, particularly, for illustration job. If you come across any conferences and big workshops related to your work, I highly recommend you to join them. I always learn lots and make friends with wonderful people and catch up with nice old friends. Surrounded by excellent people in our industry, I'm very happy and keep up my ongoing picture book projects. Nice, those leading people all care for me cheer me up.
Hahahaha, Sally and I will get together in her bookshop tour in Sydney this week. It would be a great fun!! 
Friends, Happy Painting, Happy Cuppa with same minded people!!!  







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Monday, May 20, 2013

Self Acceptance

Hi, Friends, did you enjoy a weekend?
Blog friends ask me, "How could you be always so positive?" To answer that question, I'll chat over "self-acceptance." "Unconditional self-acceptance" is the most precious insight I've learnt from psychology at uni. In short, with self-acceptance, I've become a happy and positive person! Today, it helps me accept myself and others in daily life.

Self acceptance is not easy, if a person does not understand who s/he is well. I come across so many people blaming on themselves too much or demanding themselves too much. Consider this question; do you want to "draw like Michelangelo"? Sure, all of us say, "No." But in fact, we tend to demand ourselves too much at a varied level in daily life. It hurts an individual deeply and ruins  self-esteem.

Art work is, indeed, a person's inner world and a relation with an outside world. It's a tragedy that a person struggles to paint like a famous artist and flawless. It's really sad that a person never gets satisfied with what s/he has created (actually not bad, nice!). A person repeatedly boasts old stories and lives in the past. S/he always curses at her/himself and consequently gets depressed. But a person tends to be blind to her/himself or hardly has an objective view. In other words, people harm themselves endlessly.

It's very a pain for a third party to see self harming people. As if bleeding people were hitting their heads against a huge same wall again and again, criticizing themselves dreadfully. Or people rigidly demand themselves more than they do/can. Or people do not appreciate what they do/can. Or people have a fear of a third party or an outside world or themselves. Or contradictorily, people have huge pride although they lack genuine confidence etc, etc. Too judgemental. Irrational thoughts depress people. Self acceptance can change those attitudes above, I've learnt.

The point of self-acceptance is to know who we are, become what we are fully. It requires honesty and courage to face our reality. But, if we only prefer what we want/desire in ourselves, it's not "unconditional." "Unconditional" is critically important -- whatever we did/do or despite the facts, if we love ourselves, it maximises our abilities. Then, we will bloom out what we have fully.  Let us chuck perfectionism into a bin! We, only human. Why not make mistakes? In my view, forgiveness is nearly equal self acceptance ; healthy self-love enables us to love others properly. That is the ultimate beauty of human behaviour, isn't it? I "joyfully" make mistakes and enjoy them all and learn a lot! (Does it make sense? I hope my sloppy English will make sense.)  

I hope I will create "Sadami's" picture books, not like any other illustrators's styles. Good news! I finished up the education picture book with Australian Council. The top and a team's feedback is "Excellent!" Happy surprise! Australian Council has kindly organised a courier to pick up my work this week. Yey!!
The trade picture book project is right on a track. I'll just do my best. 
Friends, please, never, ever hurt yourself. You're precious and beautiful, because you're you! Let's enjoy our lives fully and have fun in drawing.
Happy Painting!!    
(*The sketch above was a guest speaker at a church meeting. A psychologist and community worker for women's mental health. The speaker kindly gave me her favorite say, "Change thoughts(=attitude). Change Your World!" spot on!)


 



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Monday, May 13, 2013

Life Drawing & Robin Norling Contact!

Hi, Friends, I've been busy with the two picture book projects. The education project has a due date in this week. I'm at the last page! Nearly there. In busy days, life drawing refreshes me every Monday evening. Here we go!  All work, A2.

BTW, Oh, my! Blogging brings unexpected happy encounter!  Robin Norling, a very famous artist and well-respected lecturer contacted me!!! His very close friend, working with Robin for years at NSW Art Gallery found my blog post on Robin's teaching about life drawing. Robin and his friend courteously sent me a special thank you letter with his book for art students. They say my blog post has "touched Robin." Their contact encourages me so much. Oh, I'm so happy(never expected his contact)! Also, happy to tell them my achievements as an artist.  I much owe my success to his kindness and teaching at NSW Gallwery 16 yrs ago. His teaching is in me, an artist Sadami. Below, 20 minutes.


Back to the topic, life drawing. What motivates you for life drawing?  The beauty of human bodies is awesome. It motivates me to draw it. I always feel something in a model. Even in the same model, my interests are different such as movement, face expression, colour, proportion, posture etc, etc. Below, I played with colours and strong lines. 15 minutes. 
 I do not know how to say my feelings in language. It's much like "instinct." I just respond to something I feel. My picture book illustration mentor says, "Your first language is drawing, visual person!"  Hahaha, so true. Each model's face expression quite interests me. Ah, life drawing always reminds me that I am a portraitist, too. Done in 20 minutes. 

How do you start up life drawing? My life drawing process is much like sports. I start playing with lines by a graphite for warm up. When "something" in a model excites me and I cannot stop my joy, I'll pick up watercolour brushes(= until I feel something, I do not start). I forget everything and just have fun on paper. 


But mannerism should be eschewed.  This week, I'd challenge a "direct watercolour painting and drawing later" methods again.  I still can remember Robin showed us to try different methods of drawings. It taught me the importance of flexibility and exploring of  creativity. Also,  blogging brings wonderful encounters on the earth. Let's enjoy this communication methods that enriches us. 
Friends, Happy Painting!!
















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Monday, May 6, 2013

Nurture vs Nature

Hi, Friends, how is your weekend?
This week, I'll chat over talents vs efforts in how I've learned human figure drawing. Often people ask me Qs while sketching people. The typical two questions respresent nature vs nurture
"Wow, you're talented," 
"How/where did you learn it? "

According to Oxford Dictionary, "talent" is "natural aptitude or skill." 
In the analysis, the semantic definition is quite vague, because something being "natural" or (a person is) born with a specific skill is, again, ambiguous. Can any kid draw well? Could anyone compose 9 symphonies or paint Sistine chapel from the beginning of life? My drawings in young days had nothing outstanding.

Only the difference from other kids was I loved drawing! No less than others! Today, some parents show me thier children's paintings that they believe talented. I really do not know which work is good or not. Parents urge me for suggestion. I reply, "Does your child like drawing? If so, encourage him/her to keep up." My answer often dissapoints the parents who expects so high. (I always feel sorry for children silently standing beside their parents.)  

Also, people often ask me to teach how to draw a human. No magic, but practice. “Every artist was first an amateur,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson and true. My adivce is, "Sketch people for 3 or 5 minutes every day. Just only ONE drawing is enough. But keep up." Sadly, none of advice seekers has come back to me with a sucessful story, so far. I've been drawing people for years. Not wise to expect too much so soon. 


As far as I know, all the big names have made manmous efforts behind their masterpieces. Perseverance and endurance are great assets that I call talents. In my view, the people, who have been "diligent" and "never given up," become wonderful artists. A talent, the dictionary definition above, is not the necessary element to be an artist, in my view.


The graffiti for those years have clarified my direction to go, "figures and illustrations." Later, when I started watercolour, I began to  "loosen up" my realistic approach. I'm still learning lots and your blogs are great teachers and .... to the present! 
So, I'm nothing different from others, but long years drawing.

Nurture seems to be more important than a vague talent. Also,  enthusiasm for drawing is vital! Joy must come first. Otherwise, we cannot keep it up. Yet, some opinions might support talent. So, lastly, I'd devote this say for you and myself,
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'" --- Erma Bombeck
Friends, let us use what we have up to the maximum! The picture book projects are going well. Very happily busy!
Happy Painting and Happy Drawing!! 







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