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

Today I stumbled upon a half page in the Sunday Age Magazine, devoted to illustration in books, websites and aps. In the corner of the article was an inset about a delightful illustrator called Dawn Tan. 

Further investigation could not deduce if she was any relation to Shaun Tan, but visiting Dawn's website and blog was a tasty journey into a sweet illustration portfolio and delicious online store. Her work can be seen in everything from Frankie magazine to beautiful tea towels.

How I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Dawn performed the stunt dressed as Pascall Marshmallows in the NGV. Maybe I'll find her floating in my hot chocolate one day - even more delightful!

Visit her now at www.dawn-tan.com.

Click Here | Dawn Tan


Blink and you'll miss it! 
If you look closely at the iPad on Hazel Edwards' desk on page 39 of today's Home magazine in the Herald Sun, you'll see the nine eBooks I have recently illustrated. The Project Spy Kids series and Frequent Flyer Twins series are lined up and ready to read in the iPad's bookshelf. 
These nine books will go on sale from Hazel's website very soon, at www.hazeledwards.com. They are a great way to encourage your kids to read on your iPhone, rather than playing with aps. 

Click Here | Latest Press


I've finally put my 'Pirate' series of illustrations on sale at the online store Red Bubble. Red Bubble is a trusted online illustration community who print and resell images on stickers, baby jumpsuits, greeting cards and more...
Start Shopping at Red Bubble > All products available in both designs
© Jane Connory, 2011.

Click Here | Hoodies for Sale


It was serendipitous when I met Hazel Edwards, author of 'There's a Hippopotomous on my Roof Eating Cake.' I was watching my kids at the playground when she sat down beside me on the park bench and started chatting. And before you know it, we are collaborating on a series of eBook publications. Both the Frequent Flyer and Project Spy Kids mystery series (for ages 7-10) are available in my Book Shop.
The process of adapting my illustrations to a style, that was usable on an eReader rather than in print, was a tricky one. Below is the process I used.

After a series of thumbnails and researching kids fashion and airport interiors on the web, I sketched a full size rough, scanned it in and placed it as a jpg into a new document in Adobe Illustrator CS5.
© Jane Connory, 2011.
Next I used the pen tool to trace the shapes.
© Jane Connory, 2011.
I used the colour palette and gradient tools to give the shapes tone and form.
© Jane Connory, 2011.
Lastly I added the background and did the type setting. I tried to keep the feel of the colour palette within a 70's retro/industrial theme.
© Jane Connory, 2011.
I created chapter heading and paragraph divider illustrations and saved them for 'Web & Devices' so they could be placed directly into my ePub file.
© Jane Connory, 2011.
For each book in the series I kept the same layout but changed the dominant colour and text. The aim was to make sure the simple vector illustrations looked good as small and large jpgs on devices ranging from iPhones to iPads, as well as visually holding together as a series.

© Jane Connory, 2011.
Get your kids into reading and check out the Frequent Flyer eBooks (for ages 7-10) in my Book Shop. Enjoy!

Click Here | Creating Frequent Flyers


Another illustrator stole the show at the AGideas design conference in Melbourne yesterday.
The students had a great opportunity to see how Dean Gorrissen's interest in 'Golden Books' and the black and white worlds of 'Get Smart' and 'Star Trek' were the sparks that ignited his successful career.
Dean showed world class work that he has had published in everything from glossy advertising campaigns to fun and friendly kid's books.
It was a refreshing and down-to-earth perspective for the students, who seemed to be impressed by Dean's unpretentious attitude and vibrant work.

Dean's blog can be found at: http://deangorissen.blogspot.com/2011/04/agideas.html#comments
Dean's page on the AGideas website is at:
The above picture was referenced from The Little Golgen Books website:

Click Here | Dean Gorissen

Quoted as "fast approaching cult status", Oslo Davis took us on a witty and absurd journey through his vast folio of cartoons at the AGideas seminar in Melbourne yesterday.
And what a delightful insight into the mind of an illustrator.
Hearing how he has struggled to have a recognisable style was interesting because his looseness and sparse colour are evident every time you look at his work. Self-doubt seems to torment even the most successful.
Oslo has seemed to simply pursue his love for drawing through his life, which has brought him great success. His wide portfolio of work kept the laughs coming and kept the audience, full of design students, interested - not an easy task.
I can't help wondering if he'll attend the after-party and whether he'll quote a student in his next 'Overheard' cartoon. We can only hope.

Check out Oslo's 'Overheard' cartoons at the link below.
Quote and image taken from AGideas website - link is below. 

Click Here | Oslo Davis


Below is my recent submission to the website Illustration Friday
This fantastic site promotes professional illustrators and those who do it just for the love of it. Every week they email out a word - and this week it was 'bicycle' - you do your illustration and then upload it for the world to see.
It's a simple concept, but heaps of fun and a great way to add pieces to your folio
By the way, my 'bicycle' poster design, is also available from my Gift Shop as a poster and framed print.

© Jane Connory, 2011

Click Here | Illustration Friday


An illustrator who I greatly admire is Stuart McLachlan. His latest work for 'Original Juices' was recently featured all over Melbourne in giant press ads and billboards.

Rather than just seeing his work though, you will soon be able to hear him speak about it at the AGIDEAs International Design Forum, held this May in Melbourne. Can't wait!

© Jane Conory, 2011

Click Here | Stuart McLachlan


Being creative is the best way to pass time. 
Local Melbournian Pascale, writes the ‘Spoonful of Colour’ blog where can find out how to make all sorts of crafty things, including this beautiful garland. 

Click Here | Spoonful of Colour


Last weekend I took the kids to check out the State Library's exhibition on the art of Australian picture books called 'Look!'.  It is an amazing showcase of the talented illustrators residing in Australia.

While we were there we joined in an attempt for the world record for the most children reading in one location.  Sadly, no records were broken but Melbourne families were provided with an opportunity to celebrate reading together.  The weather stayed fine and the kids got to do free art activities too!

© Jane Connory, 2011
© Jane Connory, 2011

Click Here | Look! Exhibition


Wow - one small step for the profile of Australian illustrators - one giant step for Shaun Tan Shaun just won the 2011 Oscar for best animated short film - The Lost Thing. This humble picture book comes to life in a cinematic masterpiece which took Shaun 10 years to develop. (Available to purchase from Madman.)
Shaun's unique and beautifully tactile work also recently won him the 2011 Astrid Lindgren Award, also know as the 'Nobel Prize of children's literature'.
What an incredible year for an truly inspirational Australian illustrator.

© Jane Connory, 2011

Click Here | Congratulations Shaun


My latest eBook project has me keeping my ear to the ground and watching what new publishing technology is popping up. As an illustrator and graphic designer, I find that technology keeps providing exciting new tools and formats to experiment with.
Sometimes it is hard to keep up but the daily pace of change keeps life interesting. Collaboration seems the key. No one can do any of this on their own.
Below is a link to a video showing a new interactive book on an iPad. It's Al Gore's sequel to an "Inconvenient Truth". Check out the cool windmill illustration.
Worth watching – Mike Matas: A next-generation digital book

Click Here | Interactive Books

Let's hear it for the ladies!
Sally Rippin, another Melbourne based illustrator, has just released another book. Check out all the information at her website www.sallyrippin.com
My 7 year old daughter is a huge fan of Sally's Billie.B.Brown books. Sally even made a visit to my daughter's school to publicise them. It was so exciting for the girl's to hear from a real illustrator/author and added extra zeal to their reading efforts.
Sally's whole career is commendable and includes a Crichton Award in 1997 for "Fang Fang's Chinese New Year and a May Gibbs Fellowship in 2008. Not so secretly, I personally find her work an inspiration and strive to emulate her success in publishing.

Click Here | Sally Rippin


I have been working hard illustrating some fantastic ebooks and using social networking to market them - and I need your help!

It would be great if you could click 'like' for the following Facebook pages:
The Project Spy Kids series of downloadable eBooks (click here for the link) and the Frequent Flyer Twins series of downloadable eBooks (click here for link).

These Facebook pages have all the latest information on the books which have gone on sale at Hazel Edwards Online Store > click here to visit.

Click Here | Facebook Pages