Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Month of Firsts!

What a month of firsts August is proving to be!

My first published article, 'Pursue your Goal', appeared in WQ, the Queensland Writers Centre magazine, August issue - the Children's Issue. So many lovely people have been congratulating me and I appreciate QWC giving me this opportunity to write about my journey to publication.

My debut children's book, Pond Magic, an Aussie Chomp, Penguin Australia, will be released on the 30th August to much fanfare on this blog and the Pond Magic facebook page. If you are on facebook please pop over to Pond Magic and 'like' the page. We now have 242 fans and my main character, Lily, answers all posts left on the page. Why don't you leave a comment and get to know her better? And don't forget to suggest the page to your friends! Lily needs 1,000 fans before I let her off the page... Mean, I know.

AND... Today's news is that my first website has gone 'live'.

Below is the illustration I completed for my website. Two little kids in an apple tree. You know my aunt's nickname for me when I was small was 'Blossom'...

I would love it if you would visit the site, test it out, let me know of any problems or hiccups and even send me a message on the 'contact' link. I can't wait to hear from you all!

See you there....

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pointing the IP

Do you get frustrated with IT language? I never learnt it at school. We grew excited if we were shown slides with the black curtains closed.

Today I am trying to publish my website and my domain server has told me something entirely different to my website host builder. It's a good thing I'm a natural at foreign languages, because the German subjunctive mood is nothing compared to this. And just what is an A record anyway? The Monkees?

"The host name the A record links to. You can enter @ to map the record directly to your domain.
Points to IP Address
The IP address from which you want to link your domain.
The time increment for which the server should cache the information."

Does this time increment mean how long the server will take to point the IP? And I think  I know what IP stands for... It's the Idiot Person who decided to design and publish her own website without any help from others.

So I chose one hour for the TLL to point the A record to the IP. (Oh, listen to me. I'm talking IT.) I'm thinking if it works I should go live in about 45 minutes time. Fingers crossed...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Step by Step Illustration

Following on from the Process of Illustrating I thought I might share with you an illustration I've been working on for my website. Ah, yes... I've been designing a website for my transition from writer to author. I thought it would be a nice gift to myself and a whole lot of fun doing. First up, thank you so much to my darling daughter who discovered the host website builder wix and who started me off on this adventure. She's not afraid to have a go and press as many buttons, change options and generally fiddle around with things. When I was little my mum always told me off for fiddling with things and Dad often thought I might break something, so understandably I am somewhat reticent to do so. But, no more! I am very proud of my new creation. It's almost as much fun as writing and illustrating.

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Back to the illustration. I did some sketches for it quite a while ago and I'm too embarrassed to show them, but here is the last pencil sketch which I scanned onto the computer and then copied onto watercolour paper just to play around with the colour scheme.

As you know, I've got a thing for apple trees and here two little children are sitting in an apple tree (this one isn't high off the ground) reading a picture book. The girl is munching on an apple and looking over her brother's shoulder. I always love the crunch of a fresh apple when reading. Don't you?

Once I was happy with the colours I traced the sketch onto A3 size Archers 300gm watercolour paper using the lightbox my husband made for me. (He is such an angel). Then, undecided whether to actually do a wash for the background, I started with the tree and the children. Here is the first wash on the good copy.

I then did a blue wash for the sky and another in green for the leaves, darkened certain areas and dulled some of the tones. The finishing touches were done with colour pencil - Derwent Artists and Prismacolor. My set of Prismacolor was a Christmas present last year and I find them so different - creamier, richer. It will take me a while to get used to them. I mainly used them for the apples in the foreground and the boy's shirt.
Now, you're probably waiting to see the finished result. Sorry, but it will only be revealed with the launch of my website, which is in the next few days.

The website doesn't have a name, but I guess you could call it 'In the Apple Tree'.