Sunday, 26 February 2012

A Quiet Birthday and a Giveaway

Today, I turned 36. It's been quite a long journey to be where I am today, and I can't help but think that my life still, and probably will always remain as unpredictable as the weather. Plenty of blue skies and storm clouds are waiting on the horizon. Inevitable changes, options to choose from and decisions to make. All I have to do is surrender and run free. Hopefully another year adds a good amount of faith and wisdom to my pocket, so I wouldn't have to stumble down too many times from this day on.

Well, there won't be any celebration today. Just a nice quiet day for me to rethink about the past and try to visualize what the future may bring.  But most of all, to pause and remind myself of life's littlest wonders and magic to be thankful of...


My huge thanks to these photographers for their brilliant images:

But hold on, I'm not done yet. What would a birthday be without gifts??? And this time, the gifts are from me, to you. Yes, you! All my darling friends and followers who have all been so kind and supportive throughout the years, no matter how tough times were. It's just a way for me to say how grateful I am for YOU. :)

And for this SURPRISE GIVEAWAY, I have a very special gift for the winner... very own original piece!

And THREE $10 shopping vouchers to use in my shop!

All you need to do is be a follower of my blog, like my facebook page, leave a comment here, and you're good to go! The giveaway will end on Saturday, 3rd of March and I will announce the winners after that.

Thank you, again and again for being the wonderful souls and friends that you are. I hope the sun keeps shining and the stars sparkle even brighter each night wherever you are!

Friday, 24 February 2012

A Thousand Words: Illustrations and Learning to Read

By guest writer, Annie Lawrence.

Illustrated picture books are an essential part of growing up. Before words have any significance in a child’s life pictures are everywhere and everything. From ‘reading’ their mom’s face minutes after birth to curling up on the sofa bed with dad to read a favorite book, pictures and images are an essential form of communication and central to children’s understanding of their world.

Around six months old, a baby begins to understand the difference between a real object and a picture or illustration. This is a key development essential for appreciating and enjoying illustration and picture books. This development is known as symbolic representation and many believe it is the key to understanding and enjoying art and reading pictures. There are many steps in the process that results in your child learning to read and illustrated picture books are a valuable resource throughout. 

Illustrated by Florencia Delboy (images taken from El Petit Tresor)

Firstly, your young child will point at their favourite parts and interesting bits of a picture in a picture book. Perhaps there’s a recurring character or object on each page. Secondly, they’ll begin to verbalise this object, getting visibly excited by its appearance. A bit further down the line, your child will point out their favourite elements whilst telling the story themselves, pre-empting the appearance on the next page of the book. In time, your child will be able to tell the whole story, using the illustrations and understand completely that this is a separate story detached from real life.

Thus begins the formation of imagination, an essential and exciting developmental stage which makes life much more exciting and fun.

Illustration by Isabelle Arsenault (images from her blog)

Imagination is a powerful and essential faculty which most people maintain and is something which makes life much more colourful and enjoyable. It gives our children the chance to create new ideas independently, transcend their home environments and believe in miracles. Illustrations and picture books are designed to indulge our imaginations and help the first forms of imagination flourish and bloom. A favourite picture book can become like a close friend when our children are learning to develop their own ideas and very soon you’ll see the creation of their own fantasy characters either through speech or drawing and this is all down to the power of illustration. We don’t need to take early childhood education degree classes to be able to help our children develop their creative skills, we just need to introduce them to illustrated picture books.

Children can be inspired before they even understand the meaning of the word and a beautifully illustrated book can invite you to truly become one of the characters and enjoy their worlds from the comfort of your own home. Your first travels, adventures, loves and friendships can all come from your first and favourite picture book.

Illustration by Dani Torrent

Curiosity is another powerful emotion which can be developed and enhanced through the enjoyment of illustrations and picture books. It’s a driving force which helps children explore their environments and develops relationships. Curiosity helps our children find interest in new information and helps children begin to think more deeply about their world. A beautifully illustrated picture book about a far away land full of mystical creatures and characters is a fantastic starting point for introducing children to the fun they can find in fiction and may also spur them on to find out more and read more about different magical lands.

Equally, reading a book about a historical event, complete with intricate illustrations and convivial characters can spark an interest in a historical period and further the children’s education. Illustrations can introduce new ideas and before a child can even properly read, they have ingested and absorbed endless reams of information about all kinds of interesting topics.

Illustration by Joanna Concejo (images taken from El Petit Tresor)

Young children are eager to learn and as parents and educators we should jump on this eagerness with glee and use the tools at our disposal to ensure they can develop important creative skills such as imagination and curiosity. Illustrated picture books are the first step in learning to read and opening up a whole new world of understanding and the endless scope of imagination. As the phrase goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words" and it’s worth many billions more when you consider the value illustrations can have in a child’s education, development and creativity. An active imagination is a fantastic faculty to possess and the power of art and illustration is key to building it in our children.

Annie Lawrence is a full time proofreader and researcher with a passion
for art and photography. When she's not working on a feature article or
blog post, you'll find her out and about indulging in her artistic


Thank you Annie, for the wonderful and insightful article. I hope this helps open up our eyes and broaden our horizon more on the subject of illustrating for children. Both for parents and illustrators equally. :)


Monday, 20 February 2012

Side-Benched. Unfortunately.

Hello there. I hope you're all well and happy. Me? Not so much at the moment. In fact I feel awful. The whole house has been infected by this annoyingly curious bug and now everyone is sick, including my 4 months old baby. Usually I'm quite tough when it comes to fighting off bugs and viruses, but this one is a nasty kind and sadly, I've been unwillingly side-benched. I guess illness is a way of reminding us how human and fragile we are, don't you think? Just a simple flu is enough to make you feel weak and eventually you'd have to put everything to a halt. Whether you like it or not. :((

I did plan on sharing something special with you, but I don't really have the strength to put it up for posting right now (mind you, I'm typing this in snail speed and my brain is not cooperating). So here's something I did before the "party pooper bug" came visiting...

Follow My Leap, pencils and digital medium

So anyway, enjoy your day. Don't forget to eat your fruits and veggies, get plenty of rest and soak up the sunshine. You never know what kind of bugs are lurking in the shadows....

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Thumbelina Wallpaper

Hello friends! I hope you're sinking nicely into February like melting chocolates in a pot. 
Meanwhile, here's a treat for all of you...

To download this Thumbelina wallpaper, click here.

Don't forget to give yourself a tea break...have a lovely day!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Romance is in the Air

I'm a hopeless romantic. Some of you may already know. And although taking care of two bouncy kids and a babbling baby everyday is nowhere near a perfect picture of romance, I'm glad I still have plenty of romantic flair up in my head to play around with. Here is a new series of original hand drawn ACEOs in my shop, Be Still My Heart...

Jewelry by Winterwillow

I had so much fun making them! And of course, they're a great way to collect my original art in a very affordable way. How about you? Have you created any romance inspired art lately? Please feel free to leave your link here so I can pay a visit. :)

And a little heads up! I'm going to have a very special post published in a few days... For the first time, I will have a guest writer in my blog! I'm super excited! Well, I hope I'll see you then. Meanwhile, have a wonderful Valentine's Day, everyone!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Images in a Day

I solemnly swear that I will have a lovely day today.

And that, my friends, was a mission accomplished. :)

Hope you're having a lovely day too!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Spick and Span

I've been doing some intensive cleaning in the studio lately. You wouldn't believe the amount of stuff that I've left piling over the years! I must admit that I have trouble getting rid of even the simplest black and white drawing. Somehow it feels like throwing away a piece of myself.... So silly, don't you think? Maybe I am a hoarder after all. :)

Anyway, on the brighter side of things, I finally had time to sort out some of my original works and added them to my shop...

To make things even brighter this month, I'm now offering 10% DISCOUNT with each purchase in the shop with coupon code HELLOFEBRUARY. And I'm also in the middle of a very special project at the moment.. more info coming soon! :)

Here's wishing you plenty of magic and love throughout the month!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Inspiring Art: Dilka Bear

It's early Saturday morning here, always such a blissful time for me. And what could be more gratifying than sharing with you one of my favorite artists? :)

Well my lovelies, Meet Dilka Bear. For those of you who aren't already acquainted with Dilka Bear's work, then this is the time to do so. I first saw her art a couple of years ago and I don't think I've ever felt happier "stumbling" before, especially into shining treasures like her marvelous work. Just take a look, I'm sure you'll agree with me...

Being a huge admirer of Pop Surrealism, there's just no reason for me not to fall in love with the poignant work of this Italian artist. Each of her mysteriously beautiful characters seems to hold a secret of their own and I can't help but wonder if they'd ever tell! If you like what you see here, then you'll love seeing more on her flickr stream and fan page

Have an inspiring weekend, everyone!