Project Portfolio Speakers

Nina Rycroft

Nina Rycroft is a children’s picture book illustrator and online teacher with her first picture book, Little Platypus (Nette Hilton) receiving a Children’s Book Council Australia Notable Book Award in 2000. Since then, she has illustrated more than a dozen picture books that have been published worldwide and in several languages, and is currently working on a picture book for Scholastic NZ due to be released in 2020.

Nina teaches a series of online character design and illustration techniques classes on Skillshare, as well as an in-depth 8-week Picture Book Illustration e-Course.

As founder and host of Project Portfolio, Nina is delighted to bring together creatives from her online communities to share their knowledge, expertise and insights to inspire others to do what they love.

Karen Abend

Karen Abend is an artist living on the island of Sicily. She loves to draw, paint, collage, design and illustrate. One of her greatest joys is immersing herself in the creative process and channelling that energy in service of a collaborative project. Currently that looks like designing greeting cards, illustrating a book, and organising and hosting the online workshop, Sketchbook Revival – an exploration of daily creativity in community.

Since the Sketchbook Revival online workshop, Karen has been cultivating her passion for daily creativity and is thrilled to be able to share this passion with a vibrant online community of fellow creatives. Through the Sketchbook Revival, Karen discovered how deeply rewarding it is to be able to offer support to others in developing their own creative practices.

When she’s not creating, Karen is most likely to be having an adventure with her family, keeping up with her yoga practice, hunkering down with a good book, or cuddling with her dogs.

Penelope Pratley

Penelope Pratley is an emerging illustrator, writer and educator living in NSW, Australia, with her first picture book ‘The Art Garden’, written by Penny Harrison, published in 2018. Using watercolour, ink, pencil and mixed media, Penelope always had a BIG dream to write and illustrate quality books to inspire children to read. With an aim to grow hearts, Penelope is currently illustrating two picture books due to be published in 2019 and 2020.

Susanne Gervay

Susanne Gervay is writer and Regional Advisor, Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Australia East and NZ, SCBWI

Writer, Ambassador Room to Read, Books in Homes, Patron of Patron Monkey Baa Theatre, Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award by International Literacy Association, Nominee Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Marjorie Crosby-Fairall has illustrated several children’s books and her magazine work includes The School Magazine and Australian Geographic. Her books appear on the Premier’s Reading Challenge lists and have been shortlisted and won awards, including the CBCA Eve Pownall Award for her first picture book.

Her picture books include Brothers from a Different Mother (Penguin Random House), One Christmas Eve (Black Dog Books, an imprint of Walker), and The Croc and the Platypus (Walker Books). Her collaboration with Susanne Gervay, Boy in the Big Blue Glasses, will be out in July 2019. Marjorie is an assistant regional advisor for SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand.

Kartina Avery

Katrina Avery is an illustrator and surface pattern designer with a legal and commercial background based in sunny Brisbane, Australia. Katrina enjoys illustrating everyday moments as a way of capturing memories like ‘snapshots in time’. Favouring traditional watercolour, she also loves creating and incorporating patterns. At the end of 2018, Katrina kick-started IllustrationBiz – a community for illustrators and creatives sharing learnings about the business side of illustration.

Zoë Collins

Zoë Collins is an illustrator and graphic designer who has a penchant for books of all descriptions. Working with key clients, Zoë’s strengths lie in quirky and witty illustration, branding, and communication strategy — with an emphasis on delivering originality and a strong visual presence. Zoë has a Bachelor of Arts, and a Diploma in Visual Communication. She has taught typography, design and illustration at various tertiary institutions and has been a professional mentor for aspiring graphic designers. Zoë has a blog called ‘Hoodlum Friends’ which she writes and illustrates as frequently as she can.

Yvonne Mes

Yvonne Mes is a children’s author and illustrator from Brisbane. Her hands are always covered in ink or paint, but she does try to keep her keyboard clean when she writes!

Her picture book, ‘Meet Sidney Nolan’, (illustrated by Sandra Eterovic) was published in 2015 with Penguin Random House Australia and her picture book ‘Oliver’s Grumbles’ (illustrated by Giuseppe Poli) was re-released with Yellow Brick Books in 2017. Her first picture book as an illustrator will be published later this year with Yellow Brick Books. Several of her short stories are published in The School Magazine and her story ‘A Starry Christmas’ was animated and displayed on Brisbane City Hall for two weeks over Christmas in 2017.

Yvonne is most in her element when writing, illustrating and making up and acting out stories with children during school visits and other workshops. Yvonne coordinates Write Links, Brisbane’s children’s writers and illustrators group. Yvonne is represented by Mayfair Literary Agency.

Michelle Worthington

Michelle Worthington is a full-time writer based in Brisbane. She credits her three sons for giving her an endless source of inspiration for her writing, as well as her wrinkles.

Her picture book, Yellow Dress Day, was featured on ABC Kids Play School, which was a highlight in her career, as like most Aussie kids, she grew up watching the programme.

As Founder of Share Your Story Australia, she loves coaching aspiring authors and illustrators achieve their dreams of publication.
Share Your Story website

Nic Squirrel

Nic Squirrell is an artist and illustrator based in a small village in the south east of England. After driving her parents crazy by painting on every available surface, she grew up and took the long way round to doing what she loves best. With a head full of ideas, imaginary places and quirky creatures waiting to get out, if anything stays still long enough, Nic will draw on it.

Aurore McLeod

Aurore McLeod is a French illustrator living in Tasmania, Australia, with her 8-year-old daughter and husband. Her illustrative world is made of magic and nature, with quirky animals, imaginary creatures, and more recently, little witches. Aurore mostly works in watercolour and uses ink and coloured pencil to highlight and add details. She sells her work as originals or prints through private commission, wholesale orders and her Etsy shop.

Ben Whittacker-Cook

Ben Whittacker-Cook has been a journalist and writer for more than 20 years. He has written for hundreds of magazines, newspapers and websites around the world; including the BBC, Channel Four and The Daily Telegraph in the UK. He writes everything from third-party “ghost” articles for large multinational corporates, to quirky commentary pieces for newsstand titles.

He has written several manuscripts which have been used as the inspiration for Nina Rycroft’s online illustration courses, and he is currently looking for a children’s book publisher willing to embrace his thoughtful and dark storytelling. He is from London and currently lives in Auckland – splitting his time between the two hemispheres.
Ben’s Website

Amy Calautti

Amy Calautti is an illustrator, living with her family in Perth, Australia. With an early love of drawing and art, Amy studied fashion and textile design at Perth TAFE. After a 15 year gap, and following children, Amy rediscovered her love of drawing, illustrating her first picture book, ‘When the Moon is a Smile’ by Teena Raffa-Mulligan. Amy is currently working on two publishing contracts, both to be released in 2020.
Amy’s Website

Wen Sylvestre

Wen Sylvestre is an illustrator from a country town surrounded by cows and sheep in The Netherlands. Drawing was her childhood passion however she also grew up with a love for geology, history, art and for exploring ethnic cultures. Classical music was very prominent in her early years. She learned how to play five different baroque recorders, from soprano to bass. Wen works in both traditional and digital media and loves exploring different art supplies, having re-discovered her passion for drawing and painting through her exploration of embroidery, textile art, bookbinding and mixed media. Wen has recently immersed herself in the world of illustration and is currently working on her portfolio.

Katrina Koltes

Katrina Koltes originally of German nationality, but born in South East Asia, comes from a childhood of travelling, discovering and exploring new places. She loves to create beautiful worlds of magic and mystery, and bring hope and beauty through her art. Katrina now lives in Italy with her two small boys and Italian husband.

Inspired by her love for nature and of telling stories through her art, Katrina is now a full-time artist, (online and in-person) teacher and mother, painting daily with acrylic, watercolors and pastel. It is her wish to inspire others to find their own creative voice through art.

Raquel Torres

Raquel Torres Director at La Toma Design and an online teacher with Skillshare, Raquel was lucky enough to study art at a London university in the late 90s. After 15 years of working in various corporate jobs, Raquel finally decided to follow her true calling. After travelling for a year, she decided to study fashion and textiles as a mature age student and since 2017, Raquel has been forging a new career in textile and surface pattern design.

Romica Jones

Romica Jones is a freelance children’s book illustrator, designer, and online teacher based in Manchester, England. Her aim is to create illustrations and stories for children that move and delight, and to inspire and support creative people by sharing her journey in the creative industries through her YouTube channel and online classes.
Romica’s Website

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