It’s spring, it’s spring! One of my favourite seasons in which to get out into the garden, among all the winter weeds and dig up, and replant or sow, new seedlings and seeds. Yep, I love gardening. Although the plants and seeds have to promise to do their bit, and sprout and grow and look fabulous through the Christmas season…. Well, I don’t ask for much, umm… do I? So I have sown bean seeds, runners and standard, tomato seedlings and peas, radish seeds, and lettuce seedlings, oh and not to mention strawberry plants, and parsley and mint, cucumber and passion fruit plants as well, all went in this past weekend. Looking good don’t you think?
Something else I did, was attend the last of our SCBWI meetings for this year, spearheaded as always by our leader Francis Plumpton. Boy, am I glad I did. Illustrator, Michaela Sangl was our guest speaker, armed not only with her bags of goodies and portfolios of her work, but also such enthusiasm, we were reluctant to call an end to the meeting which ran over time. A New Zealander of German, Irish and Scottish descent, speaking fluent English, German and Italian, she etched her presentation in titillating German. Having financed her architecture degree in Auckland with singing and drama, she also studied in Europe, and illustrated children’s books in Berlin. With her vast knowledge dealing with publishers in England, Germany, among others, her presentation was both informative and very interesting. Jumping up now and again, to show us her charcoal drawings she does while sitting in cafes, to her A3 size colourful watercolours and pencil drawings, to her page upon page, of bright detailed book illustrations, one is certainly blown away by her craft, and her joy and enthusiasm which shows in her beautiful work. I loved the colours she used, the detail of facial expression, which she said was through hours and hours of constantly watching people, and quickly drawing everything and anyone around her. A person sitting on a bus or train in front of her, two people cuddling or kissing on a park bench, or maybe an elderly gentleman reading the paper, all become delectable figures produced by her charcoal scribe, quickly done in the moment. Years of experience have now given her the advantage of memory to draw from. Something else that caught my eye was her App. Far superior, than I had ever seen. One of her books, “Princess No I Won’t,” which is printed in German, is produced on this App in English. The jelly, squishes and wobbles with noises to match, pancakes fly knocking the bakers hat off among other things which you can see in this trailer… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxIpqwnsgUk Michaela is the voice you hear. What a delight for kids, I am sure you will agree.
Michaela has a vast range of talent, even using Photoshop, colleges, with photography, crafts, and all manner of things to build texture and detail in even the most simplest of illustrations, had us pouring over her work, which by now was spread across three tables and onto the floor. Her kiwi ingenuity from a piece of European toilet paper to postcards of yesterday, one was aghast to find them actually appearing in her book illustrations. Well I never!!! Topping off this wonderful afternoon Michaela read from her Book, “Princess No I Won’t,” which by the way is written by her. Translating and paraphrasing complete with song, it is obvious she delights in entertaining her audience. Have a sneak peak of her website and click on Illustrations. http://www.twinkle.co.nz/
I hope we see Michaela again. In the meantime I will have to watch while out snacking on salmon cakes or caramel slices, with a piping mocachino in hand in a café somewhere, Michaela could be nearby with her charcoal scribe. Look out for a review on “Daisy’s Maze” coming soon.