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…   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.

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.

About Diane Tulloch

Known also as the Patientdreamer I am a writer who loves to dream, and is passionate about writing stories for the young so that they may join me in the wonders of adventure in countries and cultures afar, and in special moments to remember.
This entry was posted in Picture book, published writing, SCBWI and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Mona says:

    I’m writing this with Michaela’s voice singing in my head-no no no I won’t!!! Cute trailer for her book, Princess No I won’t. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hard to imagine you are putting a garden in, while I rake and prune for winter! Thanks for all the info on Michaela – great app trailer and website. Thanks for including the links!

  3. Catherine Johnson says:

    What a fab background. I think when you’ve travelled it adds extra pizzaz to your creativity. Thanks Diane!

  4. It’s cold, it’s cold — enjoy your spring and summer. Glad you’re having fun with your garden.

    Love your report of the SCBWI conference! Your speaker Michaela Sangl sounded like a great presenter. I love listening to how illustrators create. Enjoyed her apps trailer — the songs were particularly cute. She’s very talented. Wish I had been there!

    • You would have enjoyed it, Pat. I thought I would post about the meeting and the links as I thought people would enjoy an illustrators view. Michaela certainly enjoys her work.
      Glad you liked it and thanks for your comment.

  5. Glad you have spring! We here on the other side of the world are starting to freeze to death! 😉 I am also glad you had a great time at you SCBWI

    • Thankyou Erik, hope you wrap up warm this Christmas. We will be spending our having a BBQ on the deck at home. Yes, it was a very enjoyable meeting, thanks for your comment.

  6. Hannah Holt says:

    I’m also jealous of your spring. It’s wintry and blustery around me today. Looks like a great conference. 🙂

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