Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Master Classes - GC Film Festival

I've signed up for the writing master class. 

How could I miss out on the opportunity to learn from a sci-fi legend?

Writing Master Class

Alan Dean Foster

1.00pm Friday 20th April

Science Fiction Legend Alan Dean Foster - associated with such films as Star Trek: The Motion PictureStar Wars, the first three Alien films, Alien Nation, The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator:Salvation, and two Transformers films - will be attending the festival and hosting a writing masterclass.

Anime Master Class with Noriyuki Abe and Masakazu Morita of Bleach Fame!

2.45pm Friday 20th April

Masakazu Morita, the voice of lead character Ichigo Kurosaki in Japanese anime series Bleach, and Bleach director Noriyuki Abe are coming to the Gold Coast in April to appear as guests of the Gold Coast Film Festival and the Gold Coast Supanova Expo. Mr Morita and Mr Abe will hold a ninety-minute anime master class at this year’s festival.

Plus, I'll be attending the launch of Kicking Off the White Shoes by Gold Coast film director Jeff Licence. - 1pm Sunday 22nd April. More on this one later!

For tickets and to find out more, visit Gold Coast Film Festival

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


(For Stephen)

Scraped knees
And crew cuts,
Trike wheels wobbling
along tractor ruts.
Down, down, down
the path we tore.
You were my chief
And I your squaw.

                                Shared mischief
                                And gumboots,
                                Sandpit digging
                                In our Sunday suits.
                                Up, up, up
                                A mountain grew.
                                You were my foreman
                                And I your crew.

A loose tooth,
And foot race,
Brothers finding
Our secret place.
Quick, quick, quick
We sped uphill.
You were my Jack
And I your Jill.


                                           Paddling pools
                                           And Jellytips,
                                           Dive bomb sinking
                                           Our battleships.
                                           Wet, wet, wet
                                           Till we turned blue.
                                           You were my cousin
                                           And I yours too.


                                                   With love

*In loving memory of my cousin Stephen, a childhood shared, forever in my heart.

Sonia Kretschmar Illustrator - Do Not Forget Australia

It's an exciting day on the blog! A blog tour and... one lucky reader will win a copy of today's book.

With ANZAC Day just a month away today's blog tour book 'Do Not Forget Australia' (Walker Books Australia) is the perfect choice for a home or school library. Author Sally Murphy and illustrator Sonia Kretschmar have been 'on tour' on blogs all over Australia, talking about the development, creation and inspiration behind this heart-warming picture book set during World War One in two towns a world apart; Villers-Bretonneux in France and Melbourne in Australia.

It is also the story of two little boys (Henri in Villers-Bretonneux and Billy in Melbourne), each missing their soldier father. While Billy is reluctant to attend school in Australia, Henri's school in France has been devastated by the encroaching war,

"It was as if a giant had squeezed the schoolhouse in its hand and scattered the splintered remains."

Today we are honoured to host award-winning illustrator, Sonia Kretschmar. I've asked Sonia if she would chat to us about how she progressed from initial sketches to final illustration for 'Do Not Forget Australia'.

Sonia has been kind enough to give us a preview peek at not only her final artwork for the page where little Henri and his mother stand in the schoolyard in front of the ruined school, but also the lead up rough sketches for this double page spread. How lucky are we!

Welcome Sonia to Under The Apple Tree.

Sonia: From the initial roughs I created, which were very much single scene pages, it was apparent from early on that the whole approach needed to be a lot more atmospheric and “filmic”. In the sample shown below, I firstly tried to compare the overwhelming nature of the devastation Henri and his mother faced with an emotional closeup, when it quickly became apparent that it worked much more effectively to simply have the characters surrounded by their environment. The body language of the pair needed to be tweaked to be read easily, but once the initial leap was made, the development of this spread was fairly straight forward.

For an experienced illustrator like you, Sonia, it might be straight forward, but, for those blog readers who are viewing the final illustration, the composition of the double spread is also worth noting. The careful placement of mother and son as focal point and the balance of light and dark are brilliant. Sonia deftly leads the viewer's eye from the white smoke pointing to the schoolhouse, around the curved form of the old woman and down her arm to her hand, where finally two sticks point back towards the mother and son. Perfect.

The story is told from two perspectives; Henri and Billy's. I was wondering, Sonia, what was your initial approach to the visual telling, and how did you decide on the medium used?

Sonia: The story is told concurrently, with scenes from both Australia and France during WW1, so I decided early on to use contrasting palettes – bright and warm for Australia, muted tones for France – to help differentiate between the two.

I chose the medium – Acrylic on paper and Photoshop - to give a sense of personality and warmth through texture, as well as to give me a greater sense of control within the finished art phase. All up, I think it took about six months from developing roughs to final art.

The 15 double page illustrations within 'Do Not Forget Australia' successfully evoke the mood and time of World War One. What was your process for gathering ideas and what influenced your artwork for this book?

Sonia: To get a sense of place and history I perused a lot of websites devoted to French historical postcards, I also took a couple of “tours” of  contemporary Villers Bretonneux (the village where the French portion of the story is set) courtesy of Google Street View. The Australian War Museum also has a great collection of images from the time, including the work of artists working on the battlefront. I was not that familiar with Army uniforms and paraphanalia, so it was very interesting to learn more about it all.

Research certainly is one of the most fascinating and rewarding areas of creating children's books. Thank you, Sonia, for sharing your time and creative processes with us today and good luck with tomorrow, the final day of the blog tour with Lorraine Marwood. It was lovely to have you visit Under The Apple Tree.

That was a fascinating insight to the planning and creative thought behind picture book illustration from Sonia Kretschmar.

I'm looking forward to your thoughts, so please leave a comment below and you will go in the draw to win a copy of 'Do Not Forget Australia'!

Good luck!

The 'Do Not Forget Australia' blog tour is below (You can still visit any of these tour days)

1st March 2012 Let's Have Words
2nd March 2012 Kids Book Capers
3rd March 2012 Running With Pens
4th march 2012 Read and Write with Dale
5th March 2012 Karen Tyrrell
6th March 2012 Writing for Children
7th March 2012 Spinning Pearls
8th March 2012 Katwhiskers
12th March 2012 Pass It On
12th March 2012 Kids Book Review
13th March 2012 Under the Apple Tree

Monday, March 5, 2012

Blog Tour Book Giveaway

As my first blog tour visit during the National Year of Reading 2012 I'm thrilled to be hosting award-winning Australian illustrator Sonia Kretschmar here on the 13th March. That's just a week away!

Together with author, Sally Murphy, Sonia is celebrating the launch of their picture book, Do Not Forget Australia.

'A heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting tale. Henri lives in the French village of Villers-Bretonneux. Billy lives in Melbourne, Australia. These two little boys, who live thousands of miles away from each other, share one story that unites Villers-Bretonneux and Melbourne in history. A moving and inspiring story of World War One.'

    Sonia will be sharing with us her methods of working, including the development of a double page spread, her reasons for choosing the mediums used in her artwork for this book and how she researched the historic elements behind the illustrations. You'll be inspired!

    Now the other exciting bit of news is that on the 13th March I will also be giving away a copy of Do Not Forget Australia to one lucky blog reader who leaves a comment. 
    How easy is that?

    In the meantime the blog tour has already started and you can catch up with Sonia and Sally as they tour the country at the blogs listed here. (Live links are on the right).

    1st March 2012 

    2nd March 2012 

    3rd March 2012

    4th March 2012

    5th March 2012

    6th March 2012 

    7th March 2012 

    8th March 2012 

    12th March 2012 

    12th March 2012 

    13th March 2012 

    14th March 2012