Creative project: Grandad stories









I have some exciting news to share. I have been invited to illustrate a children's book! I'm collaborating with the incredibly talented Wendy Milner, a professional writer who has just completed her first piece of children's fiction.

It is a beautiful (and true!) story called "Grandad and the Baby Dolphin." The Grandad of the story, Wendy's father, was a cray-fisherman off the Western Australian coast. While out at sea one day, he came across a baby dolphin in trouble. The dolphin was tangled in ropes and was slowly sinking beneath the salt waves. Grandad and his fellow fishermen were determined to rescue the baby dolphin, but what happened next amazed them all…

These are some sneak peeks and close-ups of my work-in-progress on the illustrations. If you'd like to know more about this lovely story (and others to come), Wendy has built a website for us, which you can find at Grandad Stories. You can also read her personal blog at Blink Blackburn.

Have you been working on anything new? I'd love to hear about it!

Zines about snail mail

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a thing that I didn't know was a thing, until recently: zines about snail mail. I wrote one, I know, but I thought I was the odd one out. Turns out there are other odd folks like me out there, making odd things like I do. Recently I ordered a bunch of these zines about snail mail. All in the name of research, you know?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA^^ Good Company by Michelle from Busy Weekends: a little intro "how to" and ideas resource for people new to snail mail

zines-3^^ Winged Snail Mail (several volumes) by Sarah E Hoffman of Winged Snail Mail: a handy series reviewing other snail-mail zines (this snail-mail-zine thing is SUCH a thing. How did I not know?)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA^^ Postal Embroidery by Britta Jarvis of Jaguar Snail: cute little snail-mail inspired embroidery ideas (not actual patterns)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA^^ The Frequency Mailers' Club by Emily Alden Foster: a lovely and poignant story of a quirky pen-pal club between friends, and how friendships shift and change

zines-6^^ Parcel Ghost's Guide to Post (and other zines), by Marissa Falco: a series of fun and educational zines for children, starring "Parcel Ghost," a long-dead spirit who was once a postman

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA^^ Postal Adventures (vols. 1 & 2), by Marian Krick of Quietly Written: advice and creative ideas for getting started writing to pen pals

And that's just a start. There's more out there, folks. Zines specifically about snail-mail, made by these ladies, and others as well. I'm curious: who buys and reads these zines, other than me? I mean seriously? I want to meet them! Hello out there, fellow snail-mail-oddities! Thanks for making and writing and reading!

It's in the mail

mail-art Are you waiting on mail from me? It will arrive soon, I promise! My to-write snail-mail list is loaded up as high as this little train full of stamps. In fact as of today I owe more than 40 people a letter, and that list grows every day.

I don't like to rush these things because when I write to you, dear stranger, I want to think about you. I want to tell you stories, little snippets from my life. I want to imagine your life: what it might be like, what your home might look like. I want to make a gift for you that is a bit special. And I want to paint up your mail with your address to make it interesting for you - and your postman - and to hopefully make you feel special. Because you ARE special. Your mail is coming, I promise. I haven't forgotten you.

Yours truly and most sincerely, Naomi xo

19 cheap or free ways to practice kindness, randomly and intentionally

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I've made a new thing. Do you remember the zine I made recently on snail-mail? I've been drawing and pasting again but this time, the zine is about kindness. Specifically about random acts of kindness, but also intentional acts of kindness.

I agree it's important to cultivate an attitude to life that leaves us open to performing random acts of kindness. To being open to opportunities when they present themselves, to do something good or nice or kind for others. But I also think it's equally important to be intentional about kindness. To deliberately plan - strategise even - to make the world a happier place, and spread kindness.

So this little zine is just a fun little book of ideas and inspiration for me, and maybe you would enjoy it too?

I'm going to make 10 copies to send to blog-readers. They are all hand measured and cut and pasted together, which makes them satisfyingly substantial to hold and read, but means that every copy takes me several hours to make. One of these days I'll get to a print shop that can correctly align front and back photocopying for me, and then I'll be able to make many more copies of both zines, and send them to you if you'd like them.

Naomi xo