Leanne Barrett

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

CBCA 13th National Conference

Each year there are a wide range of conferences and events that authors and illustrators have to choose from and 2019 is a bumper year of them. This year some of the big ones on Australian East Coast have included; SCBWI Sydney, Creative Kids Tales Writers' Festival Gymea NSW, KidLitVic Melbourne, CYA Brisbane (6-7 July) and CBCA Canberra.

It is sometimes a difficult decision to pick which ones to attend. Frankly, if the hip pocket was really deep, I would attend every single event on the calendar. However, as the CBCA one was going to be held in Canberra and just a 2 minute walk from my apartment in the city, it was a easy decision to attend.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Affirmation: Walk Mindfully. What do you notice today?

Today I selected my affirmation card #29: Walk mindfully. What do you notice today?

As an artist I know that it is important to partake in activities that can create inspiration. One of the things I like to do is to take a walk in a mindful manner. This kind of walk is not when I walk for exercise. Exercise walking is when I focus on strengthening my body. Mindful walking for me is a totally different activity.

When I walk mindfully I'm doing several things:

  • I am strengthening my mind.
  • I am letting my muse inspire my creativity.
  • I appreciate the beauty of the environment. 
  • I look at colour, shape, form, shadows and composition within nature.
  • I am building my own collection of reference photos.
  • I am experiencing joy and peacefulness.

By the end of a mindful walk my creative spirit is energised. 







Another post a bit like this one is Noticing the little things in life.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Daily Writing

Part of being a creative, is making sure that you give yourself the best chance for inspiration to flow in your life. To do this it is important to have a range of strategies in place. Some of the strategies can include:

  • Daily Writing.
  • Networking with other creatives.
  • Practising a daily challenge.
  • Doing things that you love.
  • Playing.
  • Making a mess.

I began my daily writing practise when I joined Jen Storer's Scribbles online creative writing course. I made a pledge on 27 November 2017 that I would write 3 pages every day. Jen says that it's important to write and write and write. Make a mess and just let your thoughts flow.


Another person that believes that daily writing is important is Julia Cameron, author of the book The Artist's Way. This book is a 12 week course in discovering and recovering your creative self. Julia talks about morning pages as a place where you write '...three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness...' Just write anything that comes into your head, it doesn't need to make sense, you are just clearing your mind to allow your creativity to flow. (P.S. Sometimes I only write two A4 pages a day.)

So how have I gone? 

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Autumn Visits to The National Gallery of Australia

John Everett Millais, Spring (Apple blossoms), 1859
Autumn is my favourite time of the year. The morning air begins with a real freshness and the days are warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the changing colours of our many deciduous trees in Canberra. It's a season of change, and as April rushes towards May we suddenly realise that the year is skipping along and the NGA summer block buster is about to close.

This year we were delighted by the exhibition Love & Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate, closing 28 April 2019. While I have always loved this era of art, especially the wallpaper of Morris and Co,  Kate Forsyth's story Beauty in Thorns made me fall in love with this art era even more.   

When Kate's book Beauty in Thorns was launched she came to the National Library of Australia and spoke about the Artists their Stunners and Love. In this talk Kate took us into the world of some of the Pre-Raphaelite artists and their lovers. She showed us images of some of their artworks including John Everett Millais, Ophelia, 1851-2. So I knew that the NGA Exhibition Love & Desire was a must on my list of things to see this year. 

While looking at some of the artworks I made sure that I spent some time looking at the details within them. How the artists painted lace, shadows, skin and the decorative details plus how they painted birds.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Creative Kids Tales Writers' Festival 2019

Georgie Opening the Festival
Invest was the theme and this year's CKT Writers' Festival was a great investment!

Georgie Donaghey organised another whopper festival, it included:
I didn't partake in any assessments on the day, instead I wanted to invest my time in listening to the presenters and socialising/connecting. This blog will look at the top tips that I will invest into my craft. 

Monday, 8 April 2019

Poetry, Pictures and Polishing with SCBWI ACT & Surrounds

I love to spend time with my creative friends catching up and learning from each other, this workshop provided both.

  • Had lunch with a few illustrators: Suzy Houghton, Amie Sabdin and Irene Tan
  • Chatted with friends I hadn't seen for awhile
  • Became reacquainted with Lisa Kalma
  • Learnt some great tips from the presenters
  • Had fun and lots of it
The day started on a low note as we said thank you one our favourite bookstore people, James Redden aka Jimmy. I first met James in early 2015 when I organised Harry Hartog to provide books to sell at a CBCA ACT Branch event. This turned into a wonderful relationship between James and CBCA ACT Branch and their members for many many years. James was a great supporter of our local authors, both published using mainstream publishing and self-published books. There are so many wonderful memories in H.H store with James as we celebrated many book birthdays and window launches. This support then later naturally extended to supporting SCBWI ACT and Surrounds. We will have a fondness in our heart for James, our champion and smiling friend. You are indeed, James the Great! And one day we hope that we can support you in your next endeavour, what ever that may be. 


The Workshops were presented by;
A full report of Poetry, Pictures and Polishing by Cate Whittle is available on the SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand Blog. My blog will highlight my 'ah ha' moments.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Day Six and Seven: Portfolio Project with Nina Rycroft

Day Six and Seven of Nina Rycroft's online course, Portfolio Project. 

Day Six, Session One, was with Wen Sylvestre looking at How to Find Your Own Art Voice & Style. This is a idea that many aspiring children's illustrators struggle with, how do you find you own style? 

Wen walked us through how she worked on finding her own style, where you are no longer copying someone else's style. You need to:
1. Look into yourself, and
2. Explore and capture your environment.

She asked us to answer many questions but the most central question was Who Am I? 
To find out more about this process see here.  

I took on the challenge to not just answer the questions in words but to push myself to draw the answers. 

What do you do in your spare time?