I am Cow, Hear Me Moo!

My latest illustrated book I am Cow, Hear Me Moo! by the clever Jill Esbaum (published by Dial Books/Penguin US) has just been released in the US and we're told it has already been reprinted, which is great news. The Australian edition will be released on the 28th of May. I was thrilled to see the book featured on the Brainpickings site the other day too - I've been a bit lucky with those guys lately as they featured Herman & Rosie there in February. Happy days!


Sydney Writer's Festival

Hey all! Had a great day yesterday at the Sydney Writer's Festival. Beautiful Sydney sunshine and big crowds. I had three sessions including a fun illustrator battle. Here's the talented Andrew Joyner and I going head to head, drawing an audience member's suggestion 'A Badger blowing out candles on a cake.' Made it through the first round but Andy 'out-badgered' me in this round. The kids suggestions got exceedingly more crazy as the event went on. It was lots of fun. The other illustrators were Tom Jellett, Chris Nixon, Andrew Cranna (the event winner), Georgia Perry, Tony Flowers and Christopher Nielsen. The event was hosted by Oliver Phommavanh. Thanks to Jane Godwin for the photo.


Society of Illustrators & other news

It's been a while since I posted anything in this news section, sorry. Most of my news is posted up on my Facebook site these days. It's hard to maintain both. Anyway, I have had some exciting news here and there. Mostly to do with Herman and Rosie. This morning I just found out from my US publisher (Neal Porter Books/Macmillan) that Herman and Rosie has been selected for the Society of Illustrators 2013 Original Art Show in New York for best illustrated children's books. Pretty happy about this as only a small group of illustrators are chosen (from 500 plus picture books I'm told) and I really wasn't expecting to make the cut. Now I just need to pick one illustration to exhibit. Just one! I'm WAY to close to see the wood for the trees here but I'm thinking maybe the one above. What do you think?

In other news Herman and Rosie had two early reviews in the US before its release and thankfully they have  been kind. Here's the review it got in Publishers Weekly (a starred review!):

And this is the review it received in Kirkus Review:


In bustling New York, anthropomorphic croc Herman and Rosie (a goat?) inhabit parallel lives until they discover they’re soul mates.

They live in tiny apartments in adjacent buildings. Herman plays oboe and sells “things” in a call center—until he’s canned for not selling enough of them. Rosie’s a restaurant dishwasher who takes singing lessons and gigs at a jazz club on Thursdays—until it’s shuttered. In pictures and text, Gordon cleverly foretells the pair’s entwined destiny, engaging readers conspiratorially as Herman and Rosie continually almost connect. Each, hearing the other’s music by chance, is mesmerized for days. Both love “watching films about the ocean” and turn to Cousteau documentaries for solace after their twin career setbacks. Traipsing the city (Gordon provides a map and key for their concurrent rambles), they simultaneously buy hot dogs from the same vendor—without meeting. Finally, Rosie hears “the familiar sounds of a groovy little jazz number” and leaps “to follow that tune.” The penultimate double-page spread shows them meeting—at last!—on Herman’s roof against a luminous full moon. The final page shows they’ve formed a quartet—The Cousteaus. Gordon utilizes vintage postcards, ledgers and maps to create collaged tableaux. Evocative of William Steig and Bernard Waber, the pictures at their best juxtapose New York’s duality: its cacophonous enormity and charming intimacy.

Sweetly celebrates artistic bonding in the Big Apple. (Picture book. 5-8)

Kirkus Review has a reputation for being being able to make or break a book so I'm pleased to escape intact.

Anyway, I can't wait for the book's release on October 15th. I'll actually be able to see the Society of Illustrators exhibition this year as I'm heading over to New York for the book's release to promote it. Going to a fun trip!

Hope you're all well and reading something interesting.


Over The Hills and Far Away

Hi all (I say optimistically). Here's a newly completed illustration for a book called Over The Hills and Far Away, a collection of nursery rhymes compiled by the Seven Stories National Centre for Children's Books in the UK. 70 illustrators from around the world are contributing artwork to nursery rhymes and Ann James, Shaun Tan and I have been asked to contribute an Australian flavoured spread. My rhyme is Algy saw the Bear.

Some of the other illustrators include; Michael Foreman, Bob Graham, Eric Carle, Mo Willems, Emma Chichester Clark, Nick Sharatt, Robert Ingpen, John Lawrence, Pamela Allen, Shirley Hughes, Jane Ray, Axel Scheffler, Jessica Ahlberg, Emily Gravett, Mini Grey, Yasmeen Ismail, Joel Stewart, Kevin Waldron, Pat Hutchins, Anthony Browne, Jerry Pinkney, Ashley Bryan, Oliver Jeffers, Lucy Cousins, Pamela Zagarenenski, Sara Ogilvie and Yasmeen Ismail.

The book will be released by publisher Frances Lincoln in September, 2014.
My illustration was a lot of fun!


Algy saw the bear

The bear saw Algy

   The bear grew bulgy

The bulge was Algy


It's a Festival year

The thing about writing a book is you really only have a small window (like one of those little castle windows) of opportunity to talk about ('promote' in publishing speak) your book before it gets old and you really ought to move on.* That or, it's time to start writing a new book. There are plenty of writers who loath getting out and talking about themselves and I understand where they're coming from but generally, especially these days with publishers' smaller advertising/promotional budgets and with the competition for shelf space, it pays to put on your salesman garb (waist coat, fedora, pipe etc) and speak to people. Besides people like hearing about books and how you put your book together. I enjoy listening to creative people speak about their processes - everyone seems to work differently. Whether I'm visiting schools, speaking at book festivals, talking to librarians or aspiring writers and illustrators, it's a great way to not only promote your books but also promote a love of reading books. It's pretty simple. Plus I get to catch up with fellow book folk that I haven't seen for some time. And drink wine.

This year is a particularly busy speaking year for me. So far I am speaking at these festivals and events:

Perth Writer's Festival, West Australia 20 - 24th February

Write in the Great Southern festival, Albany, West Australia 24 - 26th February

Somerset Celebration of Literature festival, Gold Coast, Queensland 13 - 15th March

Newington College Literary Festival, Sydney, 22nd March

Writer's Victoria, Book Writers & Illustrators Professional Development Day, 23rd March

Wheeler Centre Children's Book Festival, Melbourne, 24th March

Voices on The Coast Youth Literature Festival, Sunshine Coast, Qld, 3 - 4th June

Brisbane Writer's Festival, Queensland 4 - 8th September (program to come)

Ipswich Festival of Children's Literature, 13 - 15th September

Aside from those festivals I have speaking tours lined up for schools during Book Week in Melbourne (19 - 23rd August, contact Booked Out for details), Brisbane (26 - 30th August, contact Speaker's Ink for details) and Sydney (contact Lateral Learning).

Lastly I am travelling to the US in October for the release of Herman and Rosie on the 15th. Will let you guys know the details when they come. Anyway, maybe I'll see you out and about! We can talk about books.

* Just quietly, some people never move on.