I have an app!


I'm so thrilled to announce the release of my Bird Art App for the iPad. It's available from the App Store now - and it's FREE (for a limited time)!

It is a collection of some of my favourite sketches, drawings and paintings, including some of the rough original sketches made prior to the finished artwork. I've been passionate about painting and drawing birds for over 20 years, and this is such an exciting way for me to share some of my pieces with you.

I hope you enjoy taking a look at this other side of my creative life - this app has been a pet project of mine for the past year, made possible by the clever folks at daydreemin, who compiled the images into this lovely format.



These days I find I'm sharing my favourite things via my Facebook page and Twitter more than on my blog, but I realize that for the most part, I have completely different followers of each platform, so I will be sure to post some here, too, with more of a discussion as to what I like about them.

I created this blog mostly to share what I am working on, and share my latest news - however there are times, like now, when I go into a long incubation period and I'm not quite ready or able to share my current project.

I am currently working away on new concepts and characters (with minimal time but much enthusiasm). Creating my own works in private and without deadlines brings the freedom of being able to play with processes and styles, open my mind to new options and platforms, and generally daydream about where I'd like this creative journey to take me next. It's crazy fun - this is when I'm in my element.

Along the way, I'm listening to lots of inspiring podcasts, videos, and reading and learning new things. And throughout a lot of these things, I am starting to sense recurring themes and messages: about happiness, following your passions, being true to yourself, and playing to your strengths. And I think I should share them here, in the hope that they will help or inspire you, too.

I will start with this awesome, entertaining TED video, The Happy Secret to Better Work (found via Tristan Bancks) about happiness, positivity and success. Really good, informative, funny stuff.

Grab a cuppa' tea. Watch it. It's only 12 minutes long.

Seriously, your mood will thank you for it.

Crazy Legs Noodle Bug


library of the early mind

Big LEM Header

I want to see this documentary on children's book authors and illustrators! The filmmakers also have an interesting blog with snippets of interviews and articles with impressive kidlit folk including Lemony Snicket, RL Stine, and Arthur A. Levine. Worth checking out and bookmarking.

happy mother's day!



Happy Mother's Day to all those mothers (and mothers-to-be!) out there. On special day's like this I feel very far from home, and wish I could be back in Australia with my family, having bbq salmon on my brother's deck with a flock of king parrots in the tree above. But my thoughts are there, and with all of you today! I hope you take some time out to be good to yourself, and have a lovely one!


"Sophie and Scarlett were helping to bake a cake..."
Sophie Bakes a Cake
by Tina Burke

"One night Ruby had some news..."
from Ruby Makes a Friend
by Tina Burke


Directed and animated
by Bernard Derriman

After multiple viewings and laughs, I wanted to share this animated short with you this morning. It was created by Bernard Derriman, an incredibly talented artist/animator who also happened to be my mentor when I was training in animation at the Walt Disney Studio — did I ever mention how fortunate I was to have the opportunity to work with talented people like this??! He now has his own animation production house, Squetch, and pretty much everything he produces makes me laugh out loud. This piece is no exception. It's a competition entry for the Annecy International Animated Film Festival — one of the biggest animation festivals in the world, held annually in France.

The fantastic champagne effects were done by
Adam Phillips, also a friend and and ex-Disneyite, who has also made a success of himself with his own animation and related projects. Both guys have each created quite the fan base and have established themselves as experts after learning and combining paperless/computer animation techniques with their solid background in traditional drawing, animation and special fx.

If it gives you a laugh too, you can vote for it
here. Click on the "Vote" tab, and vote for "Pop"!

drawing out, drawing in

Ooh, this event looks interesting for illustrators in Melbourne this weekend (here's an article on it, in today's SMH). I wish I was there for it! I always find it so interesting and inspiring to hear other authors and artists speak, even if they write or work in a different format to my own. There's always something to learn, and graphic novels are a wonderful form of storytelling with pictures. In fact, I believe the more diverse our inspiration, the more we have to draw on (heh heh, a pun).


The Arrival
Shaun Tan

Happy squirrel

See this black dot? In the red circle? That's a black squirrel. I love seeing them against the white snow.


This little guy spotted us during our walk in the park, and came bounding over,


and stared at us expectantly.


You can imagine how embarrassed we were to tell him we weren't actually trying to get his attention, we were just taking a photo.

It reminded me of a little squirrel I used to feed peanuts to, when we were living on Toronto Island a couple of years ago. I scattered nuts around on the side deck and up along the handrail, then sat and watched him and his friend, "Skinny", come to collect them. Sometimes they'd peel and eat a few right there, sometimes they would carry them away and bury them in the snow for later. This usually involved putting one whole, unopened nut in their mouth, then stuffing another in next to it, at which point the first one would pop out. They'd pick it up and stuff that one back in again, and the second one would pop back out. This is how humans are smarter. We have backpacks.

I was entranced by this little comedy show, but also in the way the little squirrel looked like he was smiling when I got a look at his profile. His little mouth curved upward, and with his little chubby cheek and bright eye - well, he looked just like a little cartoon character.

Truly, it was like this:

So happy!

I always assumed that this was what squirrels looked like all the time, but after seeing others in the park, and now looking at photos on the internet (yes, I did my research on this), they actually don't all look like they're smiling. I think I just had one happy squirrel visitor, or at least one that really liked peanuts. I wonder if he's still there, and if he's still happy?