Shapes, Lines and Dots: Cartooning, Creativity and Wellbeing for Kids
On October 7th 2016 it finally happened. I held the first copy of my very first book!
I’ve had a variety of careers but a constant has been the freelance work that I have done in cartooning and illustration.
Five years ago, after an unexpected and traumatic change of life circumstances, I found myself back at Uni studying a Masters in Counselling and on the path to opening my private counselling practice in Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs.
Around the same time I opened my practice, a friend suggested that I try my hand at running cartoon workshops in schools. These quickly became very popular and I found myself travelling all over Victoria feeling slightly guilty that I was getting paid to have fun!
I see lots of students during the course of a year - in 2016 I will see just over 10 000 young people! I always hope that the students and teachers will have a good time, but what I didn’t anticipate was the repeated use of a particular word to describe my cartoon workshop experience.
Repeatedly teachers have used the word “therapeutic”.
Suddenly I found my counselling world and my cartooning world on a wonderful collision course. Cartooning started to feature more deliberately in my counselling rooms, with very good outcomes. Counselling techniques (such as mindfulness and emotional awareness) started to feature in my cartoon workshops. I put together a course on “Cartooning and Wellbeing” for adults as part of a conference in Sydney and was booked out.
Then I started to get asked, “Where can we buy your book?”
In July of 2016 I started putting together what was to become Shapes, Lines and Dots: Cartooning, Creativity and Wellbeing for Kids. I used my school visits as a test run for the drawing exercises in the book and included all the favourites. I included mindfulness activities suitable for Primary aged kids and weaved them into the chapters. I pestered Tanya McCartney and Nicky Johnston about all things book publishing. I spoke to as many authors that would listen to me about the various aspects of writing a non-fiction book for kids. Against all better judgement, I decided to self-publish through my counselling practice.
While I can draw, I haven’t got an eye for design. I put out the call on Facebook for a designer and challenge member Cara King was the right person for the job. When it comes to patience, Cara is second only to my wife! Cara’s experience, knowledge, suggestions and design skills turned my idea into a reality, and I’m thrilled with the results.
I joined the challenge about three years ago and it has been instrumental in broadening my own artistic experience and has improved my skills more than anything else has. Without the constant encouragement of the 52-week community, and some experienced and helpful individuals, this project would not have happened. Thank you to all of you!
Shapes, Lines and Dots: Cartooning, Creativity and Wellbeing for Kids can be used by schools as a fundraiser for their wellbeing program.
Purchase your copy HERE
Volumes two and three are in the pipeline and will be due for release in time for book week next year. Assuming Cara has fully recovered from this one…