For my next book Kip, I thought I’d like some illustrations. This idea was given great inspiration whilst walking along the beach with our family in Newcastle one morning. As we walked, a large pod of dolphins wound their way through the waves parallel to us occasionally stopping to catch a wave before effortlessly leaping out of the water.
Those moments are magical.
Kwali is a river dolphin and one of the heroes in my children’s book Kip. Kwali’s the archetypal being of knowledge, wisdom and courage. So my first attempt at sketching after many years was of a dolphin.
Next came Djidi - this is a Noongar word for a Willy Wagtail. In Kip, Djidi is the go between for Kip and Maali and the other birds and animals they come to know in the adventures they have together.
For an old bloke, I was pretty happy with my first attempts. Naturally there is plenty more work to do on them, but I’d like to hear what you think. I’ve got a couple of others to do - maybe a Magpie and Old Brown Snake too.
In the meantime, with the flu season on our doorstep I’ve been inundated at work with vaccinations and worried families with sick kids, as well as the burden of disease we all shoulder as we age, so time for drawing is, well, sketchy! All being well, Kip should be on the bookshelves by Christmas.
Now available through all Bookstores
One of my readers sent me this image just before takeoff on his way to Hawaii! I can't think of better way to while away the hours on a long flight than with a certain Mr Dickens! You should try it ;)
We've just arrived back in Perth after six weeks in Sydney where I've been working in a Medical Centre in the suburb of Mosman (they're great people there and a delight to work with). It's always a joy to me when asking young folk what they like best at school and they say things like - music, maths, art, languages, sport - but the biggest thrill is when they say READING. I tell them that it's a gift for life and one that will open their eyes to an unbelievable world both inside, and outside of their heads. Several children who said they loved reading left the Clinic happily clutching a copy of my book Mr Dickens - one even checked the inside cover just to make sure I really was the author!
Whilst in Sydney I also had the chance to catch up with an old friend Fr Richard Leonard SJ. He's a very gifted man who has been so kind to our family over the years. He also happens to be a very gifted author and a great raconteur too.
In Perth I have a couple of libraries to visit this week before we head up to the North West of Australia to a mining town called Karratha. The NW is the total opposite of the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Instead of tightly packed humanity, it's rugged red rocks, dotted with green scrub bushes as far as the eye can see. It's totally isolated and yet it's also the hub of vast petrochemical plants which are so vital to the export industry of this great country. There's a strange juxtaposition between the ancient Petroglyphs scratched into the rocks on one side of the Burrup peninsular, and the vast industrial complexes on the other. I'm really looking forward to seeing it all again and soaking it up.
Whilst there, I will meet with the local Librarian and hopefully more children who love to read. So stay with me and enjoy the ongoing saga of Mr Dickens - there's a rumour that he might even be visiting Europe in the not too distant future. If you'd like me to drop in whilst I'm traveling, just send me an email to check that I'll be going through your neck of the woods. As Mr Barkis was oft to say in Great Expectations: I'm willin'