Thursday, August 8, 2019

New website!

Outside my studio window there is wind and rain falling on cold soil. Winter in south west Victoria, Australia, is a slow time. Inside, however, things have felt very fertile and fast.

Firstly, new website finally completed: www.shelleyknollmiller.com
Huzzah! I created it myself, using the website-developing software 'Squarespace'. I highly recommend it! 'Squarespace' provides a nice, cleanly-designed template to plug your images and text into. And it's designed for the common rabble, so if you hit a problem you can just google it and read about how other folk bumbled their way through. It was a lot of work to complete, and sometimes shouty-work when I was completely frustrated at the technology, but truly satisfying in the end.

Secondly, I found a way to combine my weaving and illustration! The Space series, below.  How the series came about is explained further on my website https://shelleyknollmiller.com/#/space/
I'd like to work further on the Space series later, as I have an idea for a very conceptual picture book. But, for now, I'm working on another children's book manuscript. I've put my Space series idea on hold, with promises to bring it back out to the light, later. (Promises to whom I wonder? The characters? Or just myself? Ahh, the slight ache of leaving an idea whilst you tend to something else is a little like having 2 very little kids to care for. You always feel a bit guilty for neglecting one of them.)





I haven't done anymore weaving, as I've been enjoying illustrating, but I'm confident I'll come back to it when I need an alternative creative outlet.

Promotional postcards
I have been sending out promotional postcards to some publishers whom I admire the work of. I've actually never done a postcard mail out before so it took quite a lot of time, and sleuthing, to develop a mailing list of names. I hope it will bear fruit. I've been thinking a bit about self promotion lately and realised that, aside from this blog, I haven't done much self promotion at all in 20 odd years of work. 
My big gigs have really been 'lucky strikes'. I did do the rounds of publishers with my folio back in the 90's, when folk still hauled huge black folios up and down tram steps. That got me freelance work in educational publishing for a year or two. Then, when my son was tiny I worked as a graphic designer because I wanted a regular income. After my daughter was born I got a job cartooning for The Age but that job came after winning a national competition they held. My 2018 picture book gig came after a publisher saw my folio at my first 'Meet the Publishers' conference in 2016. So, I've had a few lucky breaks that, either side of having kids, have carried me through.
'Where to send them'
So it feels good to have a new website and a stack of postcards that have fluttered forth. But, more to the point, it feels good to know where to send the postcards. Because I have come to the realisation that I really want to focus on children's publishing.

There are some practical reasons for this; having a two year old at home means that I'm constantly at the Library looking at picture books. My teenagers are old enough to give good feedback. Also, illustrating 'Shoo Grumpers Shoo" through the pregnancy, birth and babyhood of my daughter proved that I could make it work and meet deadlines amongst the juggle of family life. And there were real pleasures in book illustration versus freelancing. I loved discovering the immersive pleasure of being in a creative world for months at a time! Plus, so much less admin, and you got to develop more of a relationship with your editor. So, my experience with illustrating my first picture book was a good one.

'Stop arseing about and just cut to the chase.'
But, some of this new clarity has come with being 43. For me, it's been confirmation of the good things that can come with 40; it's the age when you realise it's time to stop arseing about and just cut to the chase. For me that has meant stopping doing work that just falls into my lap and really think about where I want to be. So I'm choosing Kidlit. It feels like a place I could do good work in, and I feel it's important work to do. It feels like home, even though it's pretty new. So I'm here, sleeves rolled up, peeling stamps onto postcards, writing, drawing and hitting 'SEND'.

1 comment:

  1. Cut to the chase, dear one! Oh dear. Chaste is pretty funny. Love your work. Gush! Gush! No, really. I love your writing about work and life, and the pictures are fab.

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