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Monday, September 28, 2015

Moon launch tremendous success

What a perfect and heartfelt day, a trade picture book Moon launch at Gleebooks! Our publishing team was touched by all my mentors' and friends' love and support. It was the great launch that turned out very intimate and nice. Parramatta Council, CBCA (Children's Book Council of Australia), ASA (Australian Society of Authors), Wesley Mission, Sydney sketch club members, former local life drawing class members and dear friends joined this event. 
People left to right : Sadami, Launcher Margaret Hamilton AM, author Matt Zurbo, editor/publisher Helen Chamberlin, Ann James and gorgeous two little fans! Photos are courtesy of Janet and Imma. 
Margaret's speech was fantastic. She honoured my work. It was very touching, spot-on, informative and so sensitive. I perfectly agreed her view of picture book industry, publishing industry in general and Australian picture book industry. Then, she talked of Moon. Margaret deeply analysed Matt's text and acclaimed its originality, descriptiveness in poetic language with a well developed structure. She also stated that close family relationships was very valued in the story. Her profound understanding of illustrations moved me so much. Margaret confidently claimed, "This is Sadami’s first picture book and it demonstrates her considerable talent with watercolours and pencil. Her work is luminous, moody and evocative." Furthermore, she praised at my work, "It features sensitive close ups of Max and his father, with Max’s body language reflecting his mood, beautiful Australian landscapes and the soft colours of moonlight." I became speechless. 

Author Matt and I made short speeches. In addition, good news is that Moon has already become "Lamont standing order in Aug 2015"! The quality teacher note is available for Moon. It means that Moon is a good teaching material as well as a fine art work.   
It took nearly two years to finish Moon. Because the beautiful text was very poetic, settings such as time frame and character design were challenging. I imagined hard, tried to feel the text and felt it day and night, while going outside and looking up the moon. Helen and Ann gave me freedom, whilst guiding me. Especially, Helen's way amazed me at first. Later I understood how much she respected this emerging artist and fully trusted in the artist's talent. Technically, my used watercolour paintings required quite sophisticated skills that fascinated Helen. In the process of illustration, I've learned lot about a picture book. 
Book signing was fun and a communication time with our supporters and fans! Fun! I wrote each message with all my heart. I sincerely hope readers will enjoy Moon. 
Yey, Matt and me! 
I asked Margaret, Matt, Ann and Helen to sign my own copy. "I want to keep this for me," I said. Each of them gave me fabulous and hearty messages with "This is the first of many!" Oh, that was so sweet! I owe all my work to our terrific publishing team : Matt, Helen, a book designer, all involved people and mentor Ann. They patiently assisted me, a novice and supported me with endless love.      
The launching date has become one of the best days in my life and for our team. Thank you very much, Friends! With your support, we could have a marvelous success. Particularly, Helen and I appreciate Sydney sketch club's great and warm friendship. After sketching the market in Glebe, some of the members remained there and celebrated the Moon launch. (*Helen clearly remembered sketch club members in a cafe in Glebe and told it with special thanks to Ann and Matt over dinner). Also, we, the publishing team members really thank for Gleebooks! I miss the publishing team : Matt from Tasmania and Helen and Ann from Melbourne. Sweet Matt said, "If so, look up the moon!" Clever! That's the introduction and the theme of Moon. 

Now, through the Moon project, I'm walking strong with others and making new friends and workmates. This is the beginning of my wonderful journey as a picture book illustrator. With this precious experience, I hope I'll make quality picture books onward and upward! Already, I'm working on next projects and developing my own stories. Like these established workmates say, I'll make this Moon "the first of many". 
Friends, Happy Painting! Make your dream come true! 


Monday, September 21, 2015

1) Face expression 2)Sadami Update

I enjoy both preparing of two solo exhibitions and sketching. I post the sketches of a lady in pink and a guitarist playing a harmonica. Let's chat over a face expression and my processes. Observe our face's muscles moving and get on drawing. Preferably, choose the most favorite or dramatic moment in order to achieve freshness. In my observation, eyes are the most important part in face expression.

In this work, a model's eyes tell lots of stories and stimulate viewers imagination, even though physically, her eyes occupy a small portion in a whole work. Technically, the drawing of eyes requires me the most sensitive work. I carefully put colours on eyes and around eyes. Putting a darker colour on eyes is the most high tension moment in brush strokes for portraits. I hold my breath and work on it. Usually, when I make it successful, I take a big breath and smile!
The lady has turned up very feminine in a classic mood (*she liked this work so much! Good!). I'm thinking of a simple background for her. 
This is the close up of the guitarist playing the harmonica. His eyes and cheeks fascinated me most, which conveyed his mood and concentration. You may wonder if eyes are matter, when a model closes eyes. In my opinion, eyes still matter. I always check a subject's eye balls and examine a value study.
This is the whole sketch. I start to draw from his eyes. If I can capture eyes, preliminary sketches and portraits are almost successful. I simplify a rest of other visual information in work. Yes, I did it in this work.
Another is a lady in pink. In this work, a model's eyes tell lots of stories and stimulate viewers imagination, even though physically, her eyes occupy a small portion in a whole work. Technically, the drawing of eyes requires me the most sensitive work. I carefully put colours on eyes and around eyes. Putting a darker colour on eyes is the most high tension moment in brush strokes for portraits. I hold my breath and work on it. Usually, when I make it successful, I take a big breath and smile!

You may say, "Drawing eyes and face expression are not easy!" If so, another wonderful model who never complains about you is YOU! Observe your face expressions on a mirror until you completely understand them, if you have any questions of face expressions and cannot ask a model to repeat postures too much. (*I barely use photos and love live models.)

2)Sadami Update
I've organised DL fliers for the solo exhibition, "Over the Moon with Watercolour!" from Oct 20 to Nov 2. I've asked an art supply Art Acene to mount the art work chosen for the exhibition. = A half way through the preparation! Ah, I could write a blog post! Thank you for your great patience, Friends. 
Art Scene is always supportive. Particularly, Kim, an experienced leader of a framing Dept and Adriana at a material Dept manager are so caring. Especially, Kim has patiently and kindly assited me to select the best work. She has brilliant and sharp eyes to evaluate art work (*Her feedback of my illustartions and sketches overlaped my mentor Ann's advice! I fully trust in her ). Adriana cordially suggests me materials. She is wonderful to give me quotes at a best rate and never forgets follow-ups. Without their help, I will not be able to carry out the exhibition. Friends, to have a good art supply is our assets, I believe.

Now, I am getting ready for Moon launch this Saturday. I can't wait to see Matt, Helen, Ann, Jess, friends and supporters. I'm also working on watercolour paintings of People of Parramatta. Speical thanks for your support. I'm happy and busy!
Friends, Happy Painting!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Margaret Hamilton AM will launch Moon!

Woo hoo, Margaret Hamilton AM will launch Moon Sat 26 Sep @ GleebooksAnother "guardian angel" of our Australian picture book industry. All the mentors suggested me to contact Margaret. She's Australia legend and a superstar!! Margaret is such a special person in the children’s book world - Author, publisher, cherisher of creators, promoter and The Children's Book Coucil Australia National Board Chair Deputy. She runs "Pinerolo", the Children's Book Cottage. ( *AM = Order of Australia. Awarded for achievement and merit in service to Australia or humanity). Publisher/Editor Helen Chamberlin, my mentor Books Illustrated, guests and I are dancing around!  
Close Up
This interview tells who she is about Margaret Hamilton AM. She's started from a librarian at Parramatta City Library. Yes, what a coincidence, my residential area. 
I always wanted to meet Margaret in person, but I could not, especially, go to snowy Blue Mountains this season. Now, my dream will come true. 
"I'm just a starter. Please help me and guide me," I wrote to Margaret.
Margaret says, "Moon is really beautiful and I will be honoured to launch it." What a humble lady! 
In response, "We're so happy and honoured to have you for a launcher," I say.
This is called a "near miss." It was not selected for a final image, but close.
Double spread on A2. 
You can see these near misses and dummy books at "Over the Moon with Watercolour! exhibition" 
(Oct 20 to Nov 2 at Chrissie Cotter Gallery)

I feel I'm so cherished by topnotches. It amazes me, a nameless illustrator. My mentors suggested me Margaret Hamilton AM or an executive level of CBC, which very surprised me... I felt that they -- all of them are prominent authors, illustrators and editors --- highly acknowledged my ability and craftsmanship in drawing. I've blushed up to my ears and almost shed tears. I really appreciate it, beyond language. At a micro level, these established people want to help emerging potential illustrators. At a macro level, they really want to nurture new talented Australian picture book illustrators in a long term. Of course, ultimately, they want to bring children/readers quality picture books. I hope myself will respond to their support by my art work! I'm very happy to be surrounded such noble people with right hearts.  
Unselected roughs. We, illustrators make TONs of these tries
until we find a direction and narrow images.
Wow, like publisher/editor Helen says, my debut will be a "Party of Australian publishing industry superstars." Furthermore, NAVA (National Association for Visual Artists Australia) and ASA (Australian Society of Authors) and other peak bodies, too, are coming. Please come and meet them all.  

Btw, I've got a cold. I feel better today. Hopefully, I can prepare the book launch and the solo exhibitions with a sound body. Thank you for encouragements and a great support! You, too, please take care and make your dream come true!  
Friends, Happy Painting! 

Windy Hollow Books updated their cover photo.
10 hrs