Monday, September 12, 2011

St Cecilia's Primary School visit & Aki Art CARD give away!

I have just had my first day of school visit at the St Cecilia's Primary School!

Before I get into writing about the wonderful day let me announce that I have hit over 100 likes on my new Aki Art Facebook Page! Thank you! I will be giving away one of my printed cards to a lucky person! For a chance to win leave a comment on Aki Art's wall and finish the comment with the code "CARD". You have until 12:00am 26th of September to leave a comment as that is when I am back from my Australia Tour! Also new fans can still LIKE Aki Art and comment for a chance to win, so spread the words and happy commenting! 

So back to the school visit! It was just great! I got to meet Jennifer and Hilary (Public Relations and an editor from Hardie Grant Egmont) for the first time! Since we have been emailing all the time for Billie B Brown and other titles it felt like we have already met before! They are both so beautiful and young, and made me feel so welcomed!

Once Hilary, Jennifer and I were at the school we were greeted by a lovely staff, Anette, and for the rest of the day Hilary and I gave editor/illustrator talks/drawing sessions to over 100 students at the school.

I began my session with a slide show showing how the Billie character was created. Followed by a "character designing" activity with the kids. Like how the designing of the Billie character originated from a description of "Feisty 7 year old-ish girl" the students and I came up with a unique combination of a character description together, "Happy 114 year old Whale"! :)

The kids then gave a go at drawing their own unique versions of a "Happy 114year old Whale" character.

Then we sat in a circle for a showing and critiquing time!

Then the challenge was on me to draw "Happy 114 year old whale". I got a mixture of positive and negative feedback! :D The kids were just GREAT!

The group after this came up with "Active Chubby Baby", Whooo! :)
I didn't get a chance to take picture for this one, hopefully one of the staff at the school will send it to me :)

Mean while Hilary was giving a talk about being an editor in the other room...
The kids loved her!

I also spent some time signing books and drawing a big Billie for the school to keep!

This is my first time drawing such a big Billie!

My thoughts at this moment was.. "uh oh... is Billie going to fit on the paper???" Feeling rather under pressure with harsh critics around me, watching closely, very closely, commenting at every stroke of line. I was really happy when I heard comments like "She is the BEST illustrator in the world!!!" and "I am DEFINITELY gonna become an illustrator when I grow up!" Hehe.

I was given a chance to take a group photo with the second group! :)

It was such a great day! The staff and students were great! The entire school was so warm hearted and kind to me. Such a nice change to get out of my cave-of-madness (my studio) and actually meet the most important groups of people, the readers of books! Dealing with editors, publishers and advertising agents all the time this experience has been a wonderful refreshment. Sometimes you forget who or what you are working for, it's not for the publishing company or for the money to pay the bills, it really is for the children and adults who read the books that I have worked on. The kids are just so inspirational!

Thank you!!!!

P.S. Thank you Anette for the lovely lunch and the bottles of wine!

Looking forward to meeting Karri (editor that looks after me for Billie B Brown works) tomorrow and Sally Rippin on Thursday!


  1. Oh wow, you look like you did a brilliant job, Aki! What a great post! I can't wait to join you. I'm still in QLD but will see you this Thursday!

  2. Thank you Sally! Seems like you are busy too!
    I am SOOOO excited to finally meet you soon! A bit nervous too! :D