The Frequent Flyer Twins and Project Spy Kids eBooks were featured in a great article written by Stacey Allen for the Whitehorse Leader this week.

The article highlighted the way in which eBooks promote reading with kids who love to play on digital devices. It also drew the conclusion that parents can alleviate a bit of parental guilt when handing over their iPhone or iPad. Their kids have an opportunity to read 'local', educational and fun content rather than play games or watch movies. It's a win-win situation for all.

The Frequent Flyer Twins and Project Spy Kids eBooks illustrated by me, Jane Connory, and written by Hazel Edwards can be purchased for $2.95 each from my Book Store

T-shirts and stickers promoting eBooks and reading can also be found at the Gift Shop.
Picture by Steve Tanner

Click Here | Leader Press


I was so excited to receive my new Moo mini business cards in the mail. The business cards are a little smaller than the average size but the new technology, used to print them, allows you to have mulitple images on the reverse side.
I decided this was a fantastic way to show off my illustration folio. I set about designing the front to fit in with the branding I have on my stationery and web site and put my latest work on the reverse. I then punched holes in each set of 10, put a silver rivet on them and attached the set to a string of metal beads.
This little set then works as a kind of key-ring and portable mini folio that I have begun draping over bottles of wine. 
I'm using the wine to break the ice with publishers and other potential clients.
Let me know what you think - or drop me a line as I have some discount vouchers for friends to use when ordering their own Moo mini business cards.
© Jane Connory 2011

Click Here | Folio Business Cards


Last night at Readings in Carlton, a gorgeous little book called 'Bilby Secrets', published by Walker Books, was launched.
Edel Wignell, the delightful author, passionately spoke about the Bilby's plight for existence and Mark Jackson, the Melbourne based illustrator, explained the process involved in creating the beautifully detailed layouts over a twelve month journey.
More than being inspired by Marks dedication to his craft, I was moved to find the nearest Darrell Lea shop and purchase a chocolate Bilby to support the 'Save the Bilby' charity!
Mark Jackson signing a copy of 'Bilby Secrets',
along side some original artwork and his biography listed in the book.

© Jane Connory 2011

Click Here | Bilby Secrets Launch


I'm really humbled to have been included in another interview, promoting the new series of eBooks I've developed with Hazel Edwards

The complete interview is below and appeared in the latest edition of Pass It On (PIO), a member's only email full of information for illustrators. Check it out at: http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com/

© Jane Connory 2011
What's this illustration for?
This is the cover illustration for ‘Zoo Poo Clues’, the last eBook in the series of four ‘Project Spy Kids’ written by Hazel Edwards. These eBooks are an exciting new way to get kids reading and involved with new technology.

Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
Escaping my studio and going for a walk really clears my mind to think through a brief or a concept. Once I’m back at my desk I like to sort through these ideas by sketching thumbnails and writing word associations. There’s no turning back once I open a new document on my enormous new Mac monitor.

How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I’ve drawn constantly through my life and my first illustrations were published in ‘The Sun’ newspaper’s kid’s page called ‘Corinella’. Funnily enough, twenty years later I was a senior graphic designer there and was still getting work published in the ‘Herald Sun’ and ‘mX’ newspapers.

Who or what has influenced your work?
Watching my two children (three year old son and seven year old daughter) interact is a great visual reference and inspiration. I also spend way too long browsing the web and checking out design trends, other illustrator’s blogs and online folios. Observing my graphic design students tackle old design problems with fresh minds, is also an endless source of inspiration.

What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
I am currently experimenting with acrylics on wood – very old school and texturally hardcore. But mostly, I find that using Adobe Illustrator CS5 to trace a scanned sketch is a very efficient method. Illustrator documents are easily edited when a client asks for a change of colour or to move a character around. You can also rescale images to suit different sized documents without a diminishing the clarity of the image.

Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
Procrastinate. I work well under pressure so I look forward to a deadline looming closer and closer - it gets the creative juices flowing.

What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
Technology has the world in a spin and gotten illustrators worried that they are becoming obsolete. It takes a brave client to negotiate a price, to brief in a job and then let go of the reins. Clients have so much to gain from trusting an illustrator to fill their space with something original and creative.

And the best?
My passion for illustration extends to children’s literature and I love seeing this filter through to my kids and their love of reading. I also like telling people that I ‘colour-in’ for a living, it’s amazing to be doing what you love to do.

What are you working on at the moment?
My secret kids’ picture book about pirates – keep an eye out maties.

Where can we see more of your work?
My folio is online at http://www.janeconnory.com/. I also have a Book Shop at this site where you’ll soon be able to purchase the “Project Spy Kids’ eBooks.
I have also documented the techniques I used to illustrate another series of eBooks called ‘The Frequent Flyer Twins’ on line at  http://janeconnorysblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/creating-frequent-flyers.html.  

Click Here | Pass It On interview


Illustrators Australia is a proud supporter of the illustration industry in Melbourne. They are currently holding an exhibition of their members works in the A3 Print Show in Northcote Town Hall until July 4th. Click here to view the artworks.

Click Here | Illustrators A3 Show

At last! The Frequent Flyer Twins and Project Spy Kids eBooks are available to download. Visit Hazel Edwards Online Store to purchase them for $2.95 each.
Early readers, aged 7-11, will love fiddling with them on your iPhone and they will keep them busy in a fun and educational way! What better way to encourage reading.
Don't forget you can get t-shirts and stickers with these fantastic characters on them as well at my Gift Shop. The illustrations are bright, fun and great to wear.

Click Here | eBooks Available


I was lucky enough to have an interview appear in this weeks Buzz Words. You can subscribe to this email newsletter and get all 'the latest buzz on children's books'. Below is the full interview, which includes information on my illustration career and techniques.

Buzz Words chats with illustrator and graphic designer Jane Connory about her passion for illustrating and digitalisation.

Can you tell us a little about your background?
I have been: an art director in the advertising industry, a graphic designer in the newspaper business and a lecturer at Holmesglen Institute, but my true passion has always been illustration – ever since I could hold a pencil.
I grew up in the smelly haze of the Western suburbs in Melbourne and travelled across town for three years to attend university at Monash, Caulfield.
In the few years post-education and pre-husband and babies, I spent a year backpacking through Europe and the US. I still view that time as a sort of artistic pilgrimage. I was truly humbled standing face to face with artworks like Picasso’s Les Demoiselles, at Moma, and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, at the Uffizi.

How would you describe your style?
Diverse; I try to choose a style and medium to suit every project that comes my way. But overall, I think my style is cheeky, bold and fun.

What media do you like to work with?
I am currently experimenting with acrylics on ply wood to get some real, tactile texture into my work, but I’m usually working digitally with vectors and pixels. It makes things so much easier when you have to change an element, like the colour of a t-shirt or the position of a character.

Who are the artists and illustrators you admire and why?
Shaun Tan is truly the man of the moment in the publishing world. I admire his unwavering passion and purity of vision. The man dedicated 10 years to his short film, ‘The Lost Thing’, and won an Oscar - who doesn’t love him?
But there is a huge bevy of local talent in Melbourne that extends beyond that found in books. I love the street art of Ghost Patrol and Miso and their underlying concepts. I also admire the digital techniques of Nigel Buchanan. I think the line is beginning to blur between traditional media and what you can do on a Mac.

When you are presented with a manuscript to illustrate what is your process?
I like to read the story and sketch ideas onto the writing. These sketches lead me to research certain characters, props and locations. My kids are often the best reference.
It is important to totally refine a sketch on paper before applying any sort of medium and colour palette to the final image. I often scan in these sketches and redraw the artwork as vectors in Adobe Illustrator (CS5) then take it into Adobe Photoshop to add texture.
I have documented some of my techniques at http://janeconnorysblog.blogspot.com/.

Is it the same process for each project?
Each project seems to ‘incubate’ in my mind for a different period before the ‘ah huh’ moment arrives and I decide on a style and medium. Some characters and worlds come quicker than others. I don’t think there is any way to truly explain how you work when you are in the ‘zone’.

What are you working on at the moment?
I have written an imaginary world in which two pirate children search for lost treasure.
Hopefully it will find a publisher and send a few pieces of eight my way! I am also applying to get a Fellowship with the May Gibbs Trust to assist in getting this project completed. Wish me luck!

Do you have any tips for aspiring illustrators?
Network, network, network. Find yourself a mentor and collaborate as much as you can to learn things you never thought you needed to know.

How will the continuing digitalisation of the publishing industry affect children’s books and illustrators in particular?
My three year old gets frustrated with the TV screen because it doesn’t interact when he touches it. He is very at home with interactive and visual information on the iPad, iPhone and laptop. The publishing industry has to learn to embrace new technology and forge forward. The world is not going to lose its need for well researched, well written and well designed content – it’s just going to evolve into new mediums. We should embrace it!
The bright hues of the RGB format add an intensity to colour that you wouldn’t normally find in print. The immediacy of an eBook means more and more people will have access to books. This has all got to be good news.
I have recently illustrated two series of chapter books (‘The Frequent Flyers’ and ‘Project Spy Kids’) and formatted them as eBooks with Hazel Edwards. I taught myself the new technology and found it wasn’t so scary after all. The re-scalable nature of the vector graphics makes the cover illustrations look fantastic both small on an iPhone and huge on a computer screen. They will be on sale at http://www.janeconnory.com/ in June.

Where can we see more of your work?
My folio is online at http://www.janeconnory.com/. There you’ll find a Book Shop where you’ll soon be able to purchase the “Project Spy Kids” and “Frequent Flyer Twins” eBooks.
My online store, http://www.redbubble.com/people/janeconnory/portfolio, has t-shirts, stickers and vintage posters for sale.
Finally my freelance graphic design business is also online at http://www.ineedalogo.com.au/.

Would you like to add anything else?
"When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely." - Truman Capote.
Illustration is something you do because you love it. It is time consuming and not very profitable but to be able to’ colour-in’ for a profession is amazing.

Click Here | Buzz Words Interview


Coughing and spluttering, suffering a fever and sore throat, I braved the cold and wintery Melbourne air to attend the book launch of Paul Collins' 'Mole Hunt'. The convention room was warm and packed with a sci fi crowd that slightly took me by surprise. I wasn't sure what I had been expecting but it certainly wasn't a room full of goths and geeks. My fever felt like I was hallucinating for a minute.

After a brief sit down and the official launch, I got to speak to Paul and get him to sign another of his Ford Street publications, 'The Glasshouse'. And to my surprise the illustrator Jo Thompson was there and also signed the book for me.

It was fantastic to bump into another successful female illustrator, based in Melbourne. This city certainly stirs up a lot of creativity. Maybe it's something in the water here?

You can check out more about 'The Glasshouse' at Ford Street publishing or join Jo Thompson at her 'Create a Kid's Book Workshop'.

Click Here | Jo Thompson