Today, I’m thrilled to welcome picture book author and illustrator, Peter Carnavas to Be A Fun Mum. Peter’s books are very special because they touch the heart; they touch my heart! The emotive stories are filled with hope and are told through elegant illustrations and simple, yet profound words.
I love Peter’s work so I
begged asked if he would draw me an illustration to capture Be A Fun Mum. Look! Isn’t it wonderful?! It makes me want to cry, it’s so wonderful! Thank you so much Peter.
Peter is sharing thoughts on being Dad, Husband, Illustrator, Author, Teacher and Performer. Peter, you have more hats than I do!
Guest post by Peter Carnavas
Picture Books, Parenting and the Case of the Missing Masking Tape
Daytime is a sort of sleepy chaos for me. Nothing happens too quickly but I am constantly moving between roles. One moment I’m a writer, minutes later I’m Dad. Some days I’m a teacher, others I turn performer, presenting workshops to halls full of kids. The night, however, is never chaotic. With dinner cleaned up, children in bed, I shuffle into The Drawing Room and switch on the lamp. This is when I paint, the part of my storytelling that requires the most care, the most concentration. Bit by bit, the little people on the page come to life, colour fills their skies, their silent animal friends cling to their shoulders. And as the world on the page takes shape, I realise, in this room, I’m in my own little world. I am surrounded by the things that have been with me all along – the pile of instruments in the corner, the Bob Dylan records, the David Malouf novels. Now and then, as I wait for paint to dry, I pay attention to some of these things – I strum a guitar or hunt for a particular paragraph – and, without getting too grand about it, I feel that these things play their own part in the stories I create.
I wrote my first published story, Jessica’s Box, before I had children. By the time it had been accepted, completed and launched, I had two daughters. It was a rather intense time for me. I watched my second girl, Elizabeth, enter the world, attended the funeral of my beautiful Greek grandfather and had my first book released, all within 24 hours. If anything, recalling those few days of 2008 reminds me of the two things that shape my life: picture books and my family. It’s fortunate to have two passions that bring so much joy but even better is the way in which they complement each other. When I’m not working on picture books, I’m reading them to my girls. It’s my parent default setting. Feeling tired? Let’s lie down and read a book. Throwing a tantrum? Let’s sit on the trampoline and read a book. Cabin fever? Let’s go for a ride…to the library. I’ve been employing this technique from the moment my eldest, Sophie, was born. It rarely fails and, more importantly, it brings us together. We are closest when huddled together on the couch, poring over a new library book, taking in the smell and feel of the thing. It’s my favourite time.
There are, of course, moments when these worlds collide. There was the time when Elizabeth added her own touches to a nearly-finished illustration (I wasn’t entirely happy with it anyway). The masking tape is forever going missing from my desk, only to be discovered later, wrapped around a doll’s leg as a bandage. Then there are days when the worlds don’t collide but merge beautifully. Hiding in The Drawing Room, trying to steal a few hours during the day to sketch a new illustration, I will be interrupted as Sophie opens the door (she can reach the handle now) and asks me what I’m doing. I always tell her and she’ll often stay and watch, even fetching the bathroom stool to sit beside me. She knows not to touch anything (although that masking tape must be very tempting) and seems to soak it all in, for she and Elizabeth have both produced their own versions of my stories. This is what I love about these two passions of mine, picture books and family: the girls not only understand what I do in The Drawing Room but can enjoy it, as it is part of their world, too.
Sophie and Elizabeth visited me several times as I wrote this today. Sophie had to show me her favourite shirt and Elizabeth needed to tell me she had scratched her foot. Perhaps the most important visitor to the room was my wife, Bron. It was Bron who told me I should study picture books and try to get one published. It was Bron who encouraged me to take up writing full time. And it was Bron who shed a different light on this piece with just a few words: “The night is never chaotic? What about last night?” Oh yeah. Last night. The night when both girls refused to go to bed peacefully, ended up crashing out in our bed, leaving us cramped on a single mattress in the lounge room.
Daytime is a sleepy chaos for me but last night was just sleepless.
Just in time for Christmas
Love these: just in time for Christmas, New Frontier Publishing have released four of Peter’s books in card-size form, complete with envelope for easy postage. They are ideal for postal gifts and stocking fillers. Titles include:
- Sarah’s Heavy Heart — Love
- Last Tree in the City — Environment
- Jessica’s Box — Self-worth
- The Important Things — Family
Each book: RRP $9.95
Little Treasure Pack (pack of 4): RRP $29.95
**Giveaway now ended. Winners have been emailed**
I’m giving away four (4) Little Treasures packs on the blog today. To enter, just leave a comment below.
Giveaway open from 24 October to 1 November 2011
Winners will be drawn at random and notified by email
If winners to not reply to email within 48 hours, the prize will be re-drawn.
Peter’s Blog Tour
Peter Carnavas’ blog tour and is starting right here. You’ll catch him at these other fabulous blogs too:
Peter Carnavas Blog — heaps to explore here