Discover your passion

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Sugar from the picture book Sugar and Spice By Kath unsworth

The picture book has taken a different turn AGAIN! When you think you know exactly where you are and then BAM! Something happens and you see an opportunity to grow.

Discovering how far you can take a dream is worth the effort. I’m in no hurry to finish. I want it to be the best of what I can produce. And so I took and online Craftsy course.

The Art of Picture books with Shadra Strickland

Shadra has opened my eyes to many issues with my layout, mood, perspective, the list is endless. I think its okay to take a step backward if it means you will learn. I’m making progress in more ways than I can imagine. Building skills I can put to good use over and over.

This week after many changes to my story I came across Susanna Leonard Hill’s post.


A competition for illustrators. The word DISCOVER is the theme.


does the illustration evoke a sense of story,
 – is the picture readable to a young audience,
 – how well does it show the character(s) and
 – is/are the character(s) appealing (character development),
 – originality,
 – skill.

My draft of Sugar the calf (above) discovering how frightful a day at the fair can be. Needs more work, I want to push it further I have submitted this image. I will be improving on it no doubt.

I am hoping to win the big prize, please wish me luck


I hope I filled the brief? What do you think? Would you vote for me after reading the brief?

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A Room with a View

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I will take you back a couple of weeks.

Life needs to slow down, sometimes we just need to cease.

Being told to rest after blood tests and many visits to the doctors, with no results about why I was fatigued and weak.

The word REST is not in my vocabulary.

The Specialist said I will probably never know what caused my illness. Maybe a virus?

I don’t like to talk about being ill. I believe it just feeds the negative but I have not had the strength to blog, sketch or even read books. That loss of energy and inspiration is nothing short of dismal, when all you can do is NOTHING.

My busy life of art, replaced with nothing but time and looking out the window.

Sitting there day after day, watching the beautiful Rosella’s come and go and watching my husband do all the work. You would think I could relax and enjoy the break. I found it so frustrating to do nothing.


It gave me time to think, it gave me time to worry.

Six months gone and I am nowhere near finished any of my projects. AGAIN you say. But after being unwell I had to take a new approach.

At the moment I’m happy just to be able to do my chores. I’m smiling as I put the washing on the line or making my kids a Vegemite sandwich for school.

I’m laughing with my daughter as we sit through a Harry potter Marathon (her suggestion to help me rest).

Happy being able to give a tasty dinner for my tired husband. He has been up every day working at 5am chasing cows and then coming home to run the house.

I’m chuffed to sit with my son and watch him win every race on Mario Cart.

I never appreciated being able.

And now that I have my strength back I give thanks for a wonderful supportive family. I have even more admiration for those who go through their day unable to do the little things we all take for granted.

I will leave you with a few images of my Sunday picnic at Brogo Dam. Soak up life people and appreciate the most basic of human needs.

To sit and do nothing if only for a while.

Appreciate the sun, the moon and the stars above but most of all appreciate you are still here and every day is a gift.

Picnic at Brogo Dam

Picnic at Brogo Dam

Kids playing

Kids playing

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You Can Do It!

Life challenges and surprises me often as do my two gorgeous children.

I am now armed with new prisma-colour blue drafting pencils. As I found my black ink outlines on the illustrations were a little too heavy and using these pencils I can change something if I need to, before rendering the image.

Yes I know I am fussy, I should have had these illustrations for Sugar and Spice done already. But each time I re-do them I learn something. It’s not easy making a decision to do them again, let me tell you. It hurts each time I don’t get it right. All that work, all those hours and countless copies of the one image.

This image below is a good example the cat (Spice) is coming along nicely, the kewpie dolls need canes as when I shared the draft on Facebook, people thought they were ballerina’s. The lines are too hard on the dolls and so when I do the next one I will use the new drafting pencils. I must deliver the best piece of work that I can muster and I will not settle for less. I’m getting closer now I can feel it.

Draft from Sugar and Spice

Draft from Sugar and Spice

My daughter inspires me to never give up. The other day she came home a little frustrated. She has been practicing the recorder now since last year. A few of the children from her school will be going to play at the Opera House with over 200 other kiddies. Last Thursday she found out, that she may be playing with the wrong hand.

“All that hard work.” she said “For nothing.” she said. I tried to console her reminding her no practice is for nothing and I offered her a challenge.

“You can do this! How about if you can play the three songs by August with your other hand, I will give you fifty dollars.” She huffed at that. But went away to her room. I heard her playing the songs over and over. Four days later she came to me and played this with her other hand. Not bad for a few days practice, looks like she will get that fifty dollars. I also told her brother that he can earn fifty dollars too, if he sticks with his new Karate classes. (Another story) So I may be a bit poorer in August.

Willow is also working on her picture book (The Magpie Tree). She is practicing sketching birds in illustrator pens, (such detail) each bird is created in fine dots. I have no doubt one day she will get to see her work published. It is such an honour to sit alongside her and watch her work so hard and have beautiful things to show for it.

Art by W. Unsworth

Art by W. Unsworth

And so I keep cheering my children onwards and they inspire me every day. I hope you enjoyed the music and our view from the deck. I hope we inspired you in some small way to never give up on your dreams.

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Making ART with the sisterhood at Bundanon

“ART is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.”   – Oscar Wilde

Art by Kath


Two nights and three days attending an art retreat at Bundanon, it would not be stretching the truth if I said I could not wait . Up at 5am and eager to get on the road. Sharing time with two of my younger sisters is a rare treat these days.

We met up at the Arthur Boyd Homestead, we greeted some of the group and enjoyed a scrumptious morning tea. Then a wonderful tour through the halls of The Homestead, where some of Arthur Boyd’s work is on display, along with many other family members. Walking into his studio, the smell of oil paints and unfinished paintings resting on walls, left me dreaming of a studio….. one day.

The family members still use the studio when they come to stay at the homestead.  Admiring a generation of Boyd’s, each unique and talented in some creative form. Needless to say I was also fired up and ready for the art to start.

My sisters warned me not to expect a masterpiece from the experience. They explained it was more about the process, having FUN and using mediums that I may not have used before. Both my sister as you will see from some of their art pieces below, are very talented artists who inspire me in so many ways. A group of women, from all walks of life greeted us like old friends at the Bundanon Education Centre. Some of them die-hard attendees like one of my sisters, coming to the retreat for the last 11 years. There were a few newbies among them, like me.

Our ART Teacher Jim talked us through the lessons, he possessed a cheeky sense of humour. I could tell he enjoyed his job. I will spare you the fine details of each lesson but I must say my mind began to fill with new possibilities and new mediums to express myself through art. We attempted one collaboration piece (see below). We had a wonderful morning sketching nature down by a creek, in the shade of the leech infested trees. Which found their mark on a few bodies (not me).

We sketched layers of collage pieces, from above looking up to the wonderful canopy and then the forest floor. On our last day we created 3D art which challenged me the most, a boat from recycled materials. (Mine went in the bin, when I got home.) To witness such a diverse range of work, every piece unique as the person who created it. Everyone encouraged each other. It was not a competition, it was all about letting go, stepping outside my comfort zone and trying new things.

The nights brought laughter, the odd wine, delicious food and silly games. Silly games are good for the soul and for getting to know people. The view from my window each morning was heavenly. I soaked up every inch of that wonderful holiday.

The classroom in art mode became so intense (in a good way) and a very individual experience, we all got carried away with our creations. Transported to some realm where anything is possible, if you just…… let go.

My Banksia picture using charcoal, tea stains for the background, bright pastels and then posca paint pens left me with a sense of achievement. A bonus, a piece I could hang on my wall to remember the experience.

I also enjoyed sister giggles, the silly games, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and sharing in the laughs with our fantastic teacher Jim. I thank the sisterhood of Bundanon for making my first retreat an inspiring one. To that crazy group of talented women I salute you. If there is a place for me, I am booked in for next year. Have you been pushed out of your comfort zone? Tell me about your experience.

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Art by Kath Unsworth

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Releasing the Magic

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My guests Anne and Jessica Peterson

I have been lucky enough to find myself recovering (still in a creative haze) from an art retreat and will be posting about it soon. In the meantime. I would like to introduce a mother and daughter team who I met whilst chasing this writing dream.

My guests today are the talented duo Anne and Jessica Peterson, I met Anne through completing a Jeff Goins online writing course. Anne has an interesting journey of how she came to write children’s books. I thought it would be nice to share a slice of her writing life. It inspires me to hold onto those dreams and work hard to deliver my best work.

Where we begin is sometimes different to where we end up.

Anne speaks about those stories that bubble up inside her and spill onto the page and I can relate to that, I am inspired by her drive and creativity and the fact she found a wonderful world she can share with her talented daughter, Jessica (amazing artist). Jessica is an artist with a magical sense of the whimsical. Jess sees the world in a unique way, you only have to look at her work to see the magic. Emma’s Wish is a beautiful story the words and illustrations take you on a visual journey like no other. Please visit the trailers to get the whole experience, they are short and very sweet. I will leave it to Anne to explain her journey.

Releasing the Magic

I did it. I knew I needed to write my story, and so I did it. It was one of the hardest things I ever did. Writing my memoir was like opening up the door of my life and letting everyone inside.

But I need to tell you about what happened afterwards.

You see, once I wrote it another part of me opened up. And in that part sat a trunk, filled with children’s stories. And they started to bubble out of me. And then an opportunity appeared. Sometimes that happens when you start looking at your dreams. It was a chance to see one of the stories come to life. All we needed to do was get it down on paper in three months. But my daughter Jessica wasn’t sure three months was enough time.

“I wish we could do something with the art I already have,” she told me.

The mom part of me loves trying to solve problems so I said, “Let me think about it.”

Looking at her charcoal self portraits and her paintings, I let myself get lost in them.

But as I focused on one particular piece, Emma’s Wish was born. It was like Emma stepped out of the painting and told me her story. And all I had to do was write it down.


Emma’s Wish artwork supplied by Anne Peterson

Most books are written and then illustrated, but this was not the case. Emma’s Wish is the story of a girl who had dreams of seeing the world. But one day everything changed. Real life is like that. Emma still had her adventure, but it just looked different.

Then we created The Crooked House. And in this book you’ll meet a little girl named Kerri who has a secret. Have you ever been embarrassed about something? Well Kerry was. She didn’t want anyone to know where she lived. Find out how Kerri changed her mind about her house and how it changed her life.


The Crooked House artwork supplied by Anne Peterson

I love books. As a little girl, I’d climb up on my Aunt Jeanette’s chair to read A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. Getting lost within the pages, I never wanted to come out. That’s when a seed was planted, the desire to create stories for others.

Collaborating with someone on a story is special. But when that person is someone you love, it’s like a magical dance. But if you don’t believe me, ask Emma.
To see the trailer for Emma’s Wish click here.

To see the trailer for The Crooked House, click here.

Coming soon: two poetry books. One is illustrated with Jessica’s photography, the other with her ink drawings.

To find out about upcoming books:

Anne’s website
Facebook Page


Jessica’s website
Facebook Page

I hope you enjoyed Anne and Jessica’s journey, please leave a comment or check out the links above.

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A Moment Shared


Photography by Pete Unsworth

There are times in my life when I am awestruck by the beauty in this life.

My husband showed me his photo. A dragonfly, kissed by the morning dew. I’m transfixed by it. He captured it on his iphone because he had no camera at the time. He said when the sun came out the dragonfly flapped its wings and flew away, but for one moment, time seemed frozen.

I love this guy even more (if that’s possible) when he shares little moments in his day like these. He understands me so completely. He understands that I would think this a spectacular event. I feel blessed that he appreciates those minuscule moments just as much. I never dreamt after almost 15 years together that we would be inspiring each other in so many ways.

But we do.

I would not dare, try to draw this image. It is complete in every way. That’s what I say to him, it is a stunning moment and one I can look at for hours. Photography is a passion of mine. I’m an amateur, but I do know what I love.

Two photographers sites come to mind if you are not following them and you enjoy looking at amazing images then I suggest you check these out.

Randall has a keen eye for nature and his images take you to far away places. He truly has a special gift, not only with photography but his philosophies on life as well.

Judy astounds me with her images of birds. The attention to detail is captivating. All her images (not just birds) have that certain magic about them.

Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy Easter break, I hope you notice those special moments, something wonderful in your day that may be right under your very nose.

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Monumental Moments

DSCN6178 (copy) I want to say thank you to some SPECIAL people.

These moments I am writing about today are monumental in any child’s life. A gesture from two super children’s Author’s. It may even encourage my children to keep reading and reach higher for their own dreams.

I usually research Authors that capture my son and daughter’s imaginations. I’m curious how each one started out. The best thing in the world to me would be to inspire children to read.

Have you ever heard of Tom Gates? If you have a ten-year old boy in the house, you may have. My son loves reading about this crazy kid. He reads well, but he does not enjoy the process as much as my daughter. Yet both kids think Tom Gates is awesome and funny  (this I discovered) is the key to getting my son to read and a lot of boys his age. Both the Authors I want to thank today have a unique sense of the ridiculous in their stories.Which my kids and even I, have enjoyed reading together. Tom’s stories are set around school and home, but he gets up to some pretty hilarious stuff. When I read to my children I do accents. It’s a bit of fun and I get to see what kids laugh at most when I read along out loud. Yes my kids both can read, so why do I read to them? Because they ask me to do it. Maybe not as much, these days as in the past.

The surprise for my son was with Tom Gates the Author is Liz Pichon an amazing writer and illustrator. (Not a man says my boy in surprise.)

He really thought it was a guy writing these funny stories.

It goes to prove it does not matter, if you can reach children on their level and think like a kid of today, they will follow. When Liz Pichon visited Australia last year, my sister met her. My sister asked her to sign a couple of books, in fact around eight copies of her latest. She wanted to give them to her nieces and nephews as birthday gifts. Liz kindly agreed to sign them all. Talk about a cool Aunty, my two were so excited to get their copy. Tom Gates will always be a favourite in our house.

DSCN6181 (copy) We say thank you to Liz YOU ARE AWESOME. We will buy every book you publish, because you understand children and what they like to read. We look forward to the next one in the series, my son has them all.

The second Author I want to mention, many of you will have heard of. He tells tall tales, through two cheeky lads that write their own comic book strip.

Captain Underpants is the hero of the day.

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Dave has no idea the joy he brought to my son’s room. My super sister strikes again. (she does not wear underpants on the outside of her clothes though) When she met Dave she told him all about her nephew who was reading his books and how he liked to draw doodles. (my son)

My sister never expected what came next. Dave not only signed a copy of his latest book he went one step further and sketched out the Captain, just for Reed. He also encouraged Reed to keep drawing.

So Reed looks at this framed master piece and smiles he says “That is so cool that he did that for me.” And we all agree.

DSCN6182 (copy) Thank you Dave you are a legend in our world.

Also thank you to their super cool Aunty. My darling sister you are a gem. Thank you for thinking of your nieces and nephews when you meet these amazingly inspiring people.   DSCN6177 (copy)     I hope you all keep on drawing or writing or doing what you love. Has an Author inspired you or your children? Tell me about it in the comments.

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